Before applying for a green card replacement, individuals must understand their eligibility based on their current residency status.
Conditional Permanent Residents
Conditional Permanent Residents are individuals granted temporary residence under certain conditions, typically related to marriage or business ventures. They are eligible to replace their green card if it’s lost, stolen, or damaged. However, it’s crucial that they apply to remove the conditions on their permanent residence before the card expires using Form I-751 (for marriage-based green cards) or Form I-829 (for entrepreneur-based green cards).
Permanent Residents with Expired or Expiring Green Cards
Permanent Residents whose green cards have expired or will expire within the next six months may apply for a replacement. They must file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. It’s important to note that the expiration of the green card does not mean expiration of permanent resident status; however, it is still necessary to carry a valid green card at all times as proof of status in the United States.
Application Process Overview
When replacing a green card, an applicant must submit Form I-90 and the required supporting documents to the appropriate address as specified by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, is the primary document required for replacing a Green Card. Applicants must complete the form with accurate and current information. Upon completion, applicants should mail the form along with the applicable fee to the USCIS address provided for their state or residence. The address can be found on the official USCIS website. If filing electronically, applicants can submit their form online through the USCIS e-filing system.
Applicants must include supporting documents with their Form I-90. These documents typically consist of:
- A copy of the applicant’s Green Card (front and back) or other government-issued identification that includes their name, photograph, and signature.
- Evidence of any name changes, if applicable, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or other legal documents.
Applicants should follow the USCIS instructions carefully to determine specific supporting documents required for their individual circumstances. Documents should be copies unless the instructions specify that original documents are needed. Original documents submitted when not required may remain a part of the permanent record and will not automatically be returned to the applicant.
Submission Address Details
When submitting a Green Card replacement application, applicants must send their Form I-90 to the correct USCIS address. This ensures timely processing and reduces the risk of delays.
For applicants within the United States, the submission addresses vary based on the mailing service used:
- U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
USCIS P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036
- FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
USCIS Attention: I-90
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Phoenix, AZ 85034
International applicants must use the following address:
- USCIS International Filing:
USCIS P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036
It’s important for applicants from outside the United States to check if they are eligible to file from abroad and understand the specific instructions that apply to international filings.
Application Fees and Payment
When applying to replace a Permanent Resident Card, also known as a Green Card, applicants are required to pay a fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Specific exemptions apply, and payment can be made through various methods.
The fee for filing Form I-90, the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, is subject to change and should be verified with the latest USCIS fee schedule. As of the last update, the standard fee includes a filing fee and a biometric service fee for applicants aged 14 years and older.
Certain categories of applicants may be exempt from paying the full fee or any fee at all. These categories typically include, but are not limited to:
- Individuals with conditional residency that are requesting the removal of conditions.
- Applicants who never received their initial Green Card due to an error or fault on the part of USCIS.
USCIS accepts various forms of payment for the I-90 application fee:
- Personal check
- Money order
- Cashier’s check
- Credit card (using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions)
Payment must include the applicant’s name and A-Number, and be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Applicants should ensure they utilize the most current payment methods and correct amount, as these are subject to change by USCIS policy updates.
Once an individual submits a Form I-90 for green card replacement, they will encounter a structured process that includes receiving a notification, scheduling a biometrics appointment, and awaiting a decision within a specified timeline.
Upon submission of the Form I-90, applicants should expect to receive a Receipt Notice from USCIS. This document confirms that the application has been received and provides a unique tracking number. Applicants can use this number to check the status of their case online through the USCIS Check Case Status tool.
Typically, around 5 to 8 weeks after filing, applicants will be mailed a notice for their Biometrics Appointment. This appointment is for capturing fingerprints, photos, and a signature. It is crucial that applicants attend this appointment at the designated USCIS Application Support Center.
Case Adjudication Timeline
As for the Case Adjudication Timeline, it varies based on the USCIS office handling the case. Applicants can get a general idea of the processing times by checking the USCIS Processing Times page, where they’ll need to select Form I-90 and the relevant office processing their case. This timeline is an estimate and can change due to various factors.
Troubleshooting and Inquiries
When a Green Card replacement application faces issues such as lost documents, USCIS errors, or status checks, there are specific steps applicants can take to resolve these problems.
Lost or Non-Delivered Documents
If an applicant’s documents have been lost or were not delivered, they should contact the USCIS Contact Center. Applicants can call directly to report the issue or inquire about the undelivered documents. It’s imperative to have the application receipt number at hand when making the call to facilitate the troubleshooting process.
Correction Requests for USCIS Errors
In the case of errors on a Green Card made by USCIS, applicants should submit a correction request. This should be accompanied by the incorrect card, any supporting documentation, and a detailed explanation of the error. They must also include the correct information as it should appear on the Green Card.
Checking Application Status
Applicants can check the status of their Green Card replacement application through the USCIS online case status tool. They will need the receipt number to track the progress of their application. Keeping a close watch on the application’s status ensures timely action if there are any issues or additional steps required.
When submitting a green card replacement application, an applicant must consider the legal nuances that can affect the process. Of particular importance are the potential impacts of criminal records and the benefits of seeking immigration legal assistance.
Impact of Criminal Records
An individual’s criminal history can significantly influence the success of their Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts thorough background checks, and certain offenses may lead to more than just application denial—they can trigger deportation proceedings. Seeking legal counsel to navigate these complexities is highly recommended.
Immigration Legal Assistance
Legal assistance can prove indispensable for understanding and complying with immigration laws, especially when replacing a Green Card. Immigration attorneys can guide applicants through the appropriate filing of Form I-90, ensuring all legal criteria are met and can also offer representation if an applicant’s criminal record may impact the outcome of the application process.
Renewal Versus Replacement
When a lawful permanent resident’s Green Card becomes outdated or damaged, they must decide whether to renew or replace it, depending on their specific circumstances.
Reasons for Replacement
- Lost, Stolen, or Destroyed: If a Green Card is lost, stolen, or destroyed, the cardholder must request a replacement.
- Incorrect Information: Should the card contain incorrect information due to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) error, a replacement is required to correct the details.
- Change of Personal Information: Changes such as a legal name change necessitate the issuance of a new card.
- Outdated Version: Holders of older versions of Green Cards without expiration dates must replace them with the current version.
- Conditional Resident: Conditional residents with a two-year Green Card must replace it upon adjusting their status.
Reasons for Renewal
- Expiry: Permanent Resident Cards typically have a ten-year validity period after which they require renewal.
- Turning 14 Years Old: Residents are required to renew their Green Card when they turn 14, as long as the card will expire before their 16th birthday. If the card will expire after they turn 16, then they must replace the card instead.