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Maintaining Permanent Residency: Green Card Renewal or Removal of Conditions
What is a green card?
Lawful permanent residence is signified by a US green card. For various purposes (such as buying a house, accepting a job offer, etc), they serve as proof of a person’s permanent resident status. Being a green card holder is synonymous with being a permanent resident of the US.
How can I immigrate and get a green card?
Obtaining a green card (and lawful permanent residence) could be through different means. A foreign national may be able to get a green card through marriage to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. An advanced degree professional of a different nationality may become a permanent resident through the national interest waiver. There several are other ways.
However, while there are many options, immigrating and becoming a permanent resident can be difficult. Denial is not uncommon. As such, when you do get a green card, make sure to follow the immigration process and file any paperwork related to it.
Do I need to renew my green card?
The green card process does not end when the actual card is mailed to those who qualify as lawful permanent residents. Issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a permanent residence card generally comes with a validity of 10 years. Following immigration laws, you should renew an expired card. It is important to note that failure to do so will not cost you your lawful permanent resident status. However, you may not be able to make use of some of its benefits (primarily because you cannot prove your immigration status). An experienced immigration lawyer can explain examples of these circumstances.
The USCIS will only accept renewal applications six months before the card’s expiration date. The process involves filing immigration forms (specifically, Form I-90), paying a filing fee and biometrics fee, and other procedural steps so the relevant USCIS office can process the petition form you submitted. Keep in mind that USCIS processing times may vary. Some renewals could take more than six months.
What if I am a conditional permanent resident?
The residency of conditional green card holders must be renewed after two years. This involves petitioning the immigration court to remove the conditions on your green card.
Instead of renewing, conditional permanent residents must process their application for a normal (non-conditional) permanent resident card. As in above, this should be done within the six months prior to the expiration of your conditional green card (or 18 months after arriving at your port of entry).
For example, an individual who decided to get married and acquired permanent residence based on that must file a Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence (Form I-751). An individual on an investor visa, meanwhile, must file a Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions (Form I-829). The forms differ for each type of case. If your petition is accepted, you become a lawful permanent resident of the US and would have to renew your green card after ten years, as above.
For any questions on your permanent resident card or on immigrant visas, consular processing, adjustment of status, or green card application, we will be glad to help. Contact us at Diener Law to consult with an expert immigration attorney.