The U.S. grants green cards to non-US citizens who become legal residents of the country. Permanent resident status granted to foreign nationals will not expire; they can remain in the U.S. as legal residents forever. But they need to abide by the country’s immigration laws and maintain their legal status here.
One of the important things the legal residents need to do to maintain their status is to renew their green cards every ten years. Unlike permanent resident status, green cards granted to the non-US citizens are not valid for a life time. These cards are issued with a validity period of ten years and must be renewed.
The date of expiration of the card can be found on the front side of the card. Permanent residents need to file applications for renewal around six months prior to the date of expiration printed on the card. The form that must be filed for green card renewal is Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. The Texas Service Center and the Vermont Service Center process I-90 applications. These service centers take around 3.5 months to process these applications.
USCIS permits legal residents to file green card renewal applications online. Paper forms can also be filed. Once they file their forms, they will be allotted application receipt numbers. They can use those numbers to check the status of their applications online at My Case Status on USCIS’ website.
Applications for green card renewal must be filed 180 days ahead of the date of expiration printed on the card. Applications filed too early will be rejected. Expired cards can also be renewed; people whose cards expire will not fall out of status.
This renewal process is important to all the legal residents. That is because the U.S. immigration laws require legal residents to hold valid cards at all times. They may not be able to obtain immigration benefits and travel abroad, if their cards have expired. Legal residents will be penalized or removed from the country if they willfully let their cards to expire.
Note: Conditional residents cannot renew their conditional green cards that are valid only for a two year period.