Renew Your Green Card Or Apply For Citizenship?

May 25, 2011 § 4 Comments

According to US immigration laws, if your Permanent Resident Card (otherwise called the Green Card) has less than six months of remaining validity, you should get it renewed before filing the citizenship form (Form N-400). Remember that you will be required to submit a photocopy of your replacement Green Card when you apply for American citizenship.

You can initiate the renewal process by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card with the USCIS. Whereas if your green card will not expire for at least another six months and you meet all the requirements needed to apply for citizenship, then you may directly apply for citizenship instead of renewing your green card.

Lost green card :

If you lost your Green Card, then you have to apply for a replacement card by Filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (even though the card is not expired). However, in this case, you need not wait to receive the new card before filing for naturalization but have to wait until you receive the I-797 Receipt Notice for Form I-90 before you file the application for citizenship.

Once you submit the I-90 application package to the USCIS with the supporting documents (if any) and the filing fee, you will receive an Application Receipt Notice with a receipt number and other information related to the interview and fingerprinting. Once you receive the Receipt Notice for having filed Form I-90, you can go ahead and file your Form N-400 Application. You should include a copy of the Receipt Notice with the US citizenship application..

Renew your green card before travel :

Re-entry into the United States from abroad:

Always ensure that you apply for your new green card before you travel and have with you on any trip, the temporary documentation you received for having filed for a replacement. If you try to reenter the United States with an expired Green Card, you may experience unnecessary delay during the inspection process at the port-of-entry. So it is always recommended to travel after you file the I-90 application to get a replacement of your green card.

Obtaining employment:

As employers do not accept an expired Green Card to verify employment authorization for new recruits, you may use alternate documents listed on the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) such as a social security card and driver’s license, or provide “temporary” evidence of status, such as an I-551 stamp, or even the receipt notice for your Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

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