Applying for your green card can be a bit nerve-wracking, but then the process is over. You're a legal resident, and you no longer need to worry about your status... for 10 years, anyways. If your green card is about to expire, then you need to go through the renewal process, which can bring with it all sorts of new questions and apprehensions. Here is a look at some common and important questions that may come up as you navigate this challenge.
How early do you need to renew your green card?
Since applications can take a bit of time to process, you should really seek to apply for green card renewal about 6 months before your card expires. The form you will need to submit is called an I-90. This form can now be submitted online, but many people still choose to fill it out and send it to the U.S. immigration via mail, since this creates a paper trail. If you do go this route, make sure you have the form delivered via certified mail so that you know when the immigration office has received it.
Does everyone need to renew their green card?
If you are looking at your green card and feeling confused because you do not see an expiration date, that is likely because your green card does not expire. This was more common in the past than it is now. Most green card classes have been issued with expiration dates over the past decade or two. Still, if you're one of the lucky few whose card was issued without an expiration date, you do not need to renew it. You should still contact the immigration office for a new picture if yours looks really outdated or unlike you.
What if you're a conditional permanent resident?
If you are not a permanent resident, but a conditional permanent resident through marriage or some other circumstance, than renewing your green card might be a bit harder, especially if your conditions have changed since you last renewed your card. (This can be a problem, for example, if you recently divorced.) In such cases, you should consider contacting an immigration attorney. They can guide you through the process of renewal and make sure you fill out the right paperwork, since there are many different forms for different scenarios.
Applying for green card renewal can be stressful, but the right lawyer can handle the hard parts for you. To learn more, contact an immigration law firm near you.