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Renewing Your Green Card in the United States

One of the most talked-about identification documents in the world is the “green card” issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The significance of green cards in the American experience have inspired a Hollywood film, even though they were not actually green from 1946 to 2010. The USCIS eventually decided to return to that color.

What is important to know about green cards is that they indicate legal immigration status. They come in two designations: conditional and permanent, but neither one is actually perpetual. Both conditional and permanent green cards have expiration dates. The former is valid for two years while the latter is issued for 10 years.

Ideally, green cards should not have to be renewed. The USCIS would prefer to see conditional green cards be adjusted to permanent status. Likewise, they would like to see permanent residents qualify for naturalization and citizenship within 10 years. Nonetheless, various life situations may require green card renewals.

Conditional green cards are usually granted to immigrants who marry American citizens with marriages less than two years. After two years, the couple must petition to remove the conditions, which may be granted as long as the marriage has continued in good faith and all conditions have been satisfied. If for any reason this is not the case, the immigrant may qualify for a waiver if separation or divorce proceedings are pending, but this is something that should be handled by an immigration lawyer San Diego residents trust.

In the case of I-551 permanent green cards, it may take the USCIS four months to issue a new one. For this reason, immigrants should start the renewal process about six months prior to the expiration date. If the immigrant received a green card before the age of 14, he or she must replace it as soon as they turn 14.

The I-90 Green Card Renewal Application Form can be filed to request a replacement card in case the original was lost. In most cases, the renewal process is straightforward. However, if the card expires while the immigrant is outside of the U.S., he or she should contact an immigration attorney so that arrangements can be made to reenter the country and obtain a new green card.

Learn more about renewing a green card, obtaining a fiancé visa, or other immigration services like family law by calling (858) 874-0711 and requesting a free consultation with the experienced immigration lawyers at KS Visa Law.

June 2017
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