US immigration is quite complicated. An immigration law firm could be handling cases on visas, permanent residency, consular processing, adjustment of status, citizenship, travel documents, or authorization papers in a week. With the extent of immigration law, the list goes on. Among the most common questions received by immigration lawyers, however, are on getting a green card and the over-all green card process.

Applying for a green card is not easy. Any immigrant qualifying to get a green card must fill-out several immigration forms and submit supporting documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office, which is the government agency in charge of processing the green card application of a foreign national. The hassle is worth it, though, given the permanent resident status a green card holder can enjoy.

Green Card RenewalKeep in mind that an alien will have to renew his permanent residence card ten years after it was issued. Read on to know what happens if you apply for a green card renewal:

The usual processing time for a green card renewal is around 12 to 13 months after filing the required paperwork. The process of renewing your green card (signifying your immigration status) is spread across this quite lengthy period.

Six months before the expiration of your green card, file a Form I-90 with the USCIS office. This is the first part of this immigration process. You are to indicate personal information such as your name, address, and A-Number and answer some administrative questions. Here, an immigration attorney can help. The said form may be submitted either through mail or online. Note that there are fees to be settled: a $455 filing fee and an $85 biometrics appointment fee. A receipt with a tracking number will be sent to the green card holder filing in one to three weeks.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office will then send a notice indicating the schedule of your biometrics appointment. This will likely be four to eight weeks after submitting your application. Bring your notice of appointment and a valid passport or identification card to the field office of the FBI and have your biometric data (fingerprint and photo ID) taken. After which, all you have to do is to wait. An experienced immigration attorney can assist you in case any Request for Evidence arise.

Processing times may vary but most green card renewals take 12 to 13 months. This means that even if you fill out USCIS forms and renew your permanent resident card exactly six months before it was set to expire, there will be a period of five to seven months when you do not have a valid green card with you. During this period, try not to switch jobs, travel abroad, travel to your home country, or leave the US in general. Proving residency and reentry might be challenging. While you are still a permanent resident of the US, it would be difficult to prove your lawful permanent resident status with an expired green card. You may want to look into the premium processing service being offered, if necessary.

For questions on how to immigrate and apply for a green card, the green card renewal process, or other immigration services, give us a call. Your card application and renewal can be much less stressful with a law firm specializing in green cards and immigration laws. Contact us at Diener Law and consult with a reliable immigration lawyer.