Having a valid permanent resident card (green card) is a convenient way to prove your authorization to live and work in the U.S. legally. For example, all an employer really needs to see from you to know that you’ve got permission to work is your green card.
However, having a green card is important not just because it helps you prove your status, but carrying one is also a requirement.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that:
“Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him… Any alien who fails to comply with [these provisions] shall be guilty of a misdemeanor…”
Form I-90 is used to replace or renew your green card.
Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card is the green card renewal form. Whether your green card is expiring, you’ve lost it, or damaged it, filing this application will help you get a renewed green card.
There are three main steps to filing your I-90:
- You must complete your application by answering all the questions fully and accurately. If a question doesn’t apply to you, you may write N/A.
- Along with the application, you will have to submit copies of some supporting evidence, such as a copy of your previous green card or copies of any documents that prove changes to personal information such as a name change.
- Once you’ve completed the application and gathered your supporting documents, you must prepare the Form I-90 Filing Fee and file your application.
There are two ways to file:
- Filing Form I-90 Online
To file Form I-90 online, you must have a USCIS online account. You can also use our online form preparation service to prepare your Green Card Renewal application.
- Filing Form I-90 by mail
The address you send it to differs depending on whether you are sending it through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) or using FedEx, UPS, or DHL.
The Form I-90 filing fee is required from most applicants. There are only a few exceptions:
- If you received a green card with wrong information due to a USCIS error, there is no form fee or biometrics fee.
- If a green card was issued to you but was lost in the mail, there is no form fee or biometrics fee.
- If you have reached your 14th birthday, and your green card expires after your 16th birthday, no form fee but there is a biometrics fee.
Unless one of these situations applies to you, you will be required to pay the I-90 form filing fee of $455 and the biometrics fee of $85.
The biometrics appointment is part of the Form I-90 filing process. During the appointment, an immigration officer will capture your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. When you sign, you are confirming that all the information on your application is complete and correct.
It’s important to know your green card expiration date. This date represents the validity of the card, but not the validity of your status. In other words, if your green card expires, this doesn’t mean that you have to reapply for legal permanent status.
However, as mentioned above, you are required by U.S. immigration laws to have a green card that is not expired with you at all times. If your green card is expired or will expire in six months, it’s highly important to renew it.