According to the most recent estimates from USCIS’ Processing Times website, it takes 4 – 9 months to issue a replacement green card, with an average processing time of 7 months. There’s no way to expedite your case, but you can improve the processing time by providing all of the necessary information, evidence, and filing fees when you file your application for a replacement card. If you send USCIS a well-prepared petition packet and eliminate the need for an RFE (Request for Evidence), you should get your replacement card in 4 – 6 months.
When to Replace Your Green Card
Lawful permanent residents who are 18 and older are required by law to carry proof of their immigration status at all times. As such, it’s important to have a valid, unexpired, and undamaged green card in case a government official asks to see proof of your immigration status. You will need to request a replacement green card if any of the following situations apply:
- You have a commuter green card and are now taking up actual residence in the United States
- You have an older green card (AR-3, AR-103, or I-151) and need to switch to the new version
- You need to change your standard green card to commuter status
- You never received your green card in the mail
- Your 10-year green card is going to expire in 6 months or less
- Your green card contains incorrect information (misspelled name, typo, incorrect birthdate, etc.)
- Your green card is expired
- Your green card is stolen, lost, mutilated, or destroyed
- Your green card was issued before you were 14, you have recently turned 14, and your card expires before your 16th birthday
- Your immigration status has been automatically converted to lawful permanent resident (i.e. special agriculture workers who are converting to permanent resident status)
- Your name or other biographic information on the card has been legally changed
How to Replace Your Green Card
Immigrants who need to replace or renew their green card must file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. The easiest (and fastest) way to file Form I-90 is to e-file online, but you can mail in a paper application if you prefer.
Depending on your reason for requesting a replacement green card, you may need to attach one or more documents as evidence of your claim. Following is a brief overview of the common reasons for requesting a replacement green card, and what documents USCIS requires based on these circumstances:
- Automatically converted to lawful permanent resident status – include evidence of your temporary residence status, and a copy of a government-issued photo ID with your name, birthdate, and signature
- Biographic information has changed – include a copy of your green card and legal documentation of the change (e.g. proof of legal name change)
- Expired or expiring green card – include a copy of your green card
- Incorrect card data – include your original green card (not a copy) and proof of your correct biographical information (i.e. if your name is misspelled, include a copy of your birth certificate or driver’s license)
- Never received your green card in the mail – include a government-issued photo ID with your name, birthdate, and signature; also, a copy of your latest Notice of Action (Form I-797) that proves your previous green card application/renewal was approved, or a copy of your passport with the I-551 stamp
- Recently turned 14 and your green card expires before you turn 16 – include a copy of your green card
- Removing commuter status – include a copy of your commuter green card, and evidence of your US residence (if the proof of residence is in your spouse’s or parent’s name, you’ll also need to include an original marriage certificate or birth certificate to validate the family relationship)
- Replacing an outdated green card – Include a copy of your green card or Alien Registration Card
- Stolen, lost, mutilated, or destroyed cards – include a copy of your green card, or a government-issued photo ID with your name, birthdate, and signature
- Switching to commuter status – include a copy of your green card, and evidence of your employment that’s dated in the last 6 months
There is a $455 filing fee to request a replacement or renewal green card, and there may be an $85 biometric services fee if fingerprinting is required. However, USCIS will waive the filing fee for permanent residents who never received their green card in the mail, and when USCIS mistakenly prints incorrect information on a green card. That said, in both of these circumstances the fault must be on USCIS’ part, not the permanent resident. If you moved and failed to provide USCIS with a new address, or if you provided incorrect information on your petition, USCIS will charge you the full filing fee.
How to Renew a Conditional Green Card
Form I-90 may only be used to replace a standard green card. If you have a conditional green card that expires in 90 days or less, you’ll need to request a replacement green card with Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. There is a significantly longer processing time for this petition (about 16 months), and there is a higher filing fee of $595.
How to Check the Status of Your Application
Once you file your petition, USCIS will send you a receipt with instructions on how to track your case. Using the receipt number, you can check the status of your case online. If you have any questions about your case, you can call or email the USCIS Contact Center. Be prepared to provide the Contact Center representative with your name, birthdate, receipt number, and Alien Registration Number.
What to do If Your Application is Denied
When USCIS denies an application for a replacement green card, the agency will issue a letter with an explanation. Unfortunately, you cannot appeal a negative decision. However, you may file a motion to reopen or reconsider your case with the USCIS office that issued the unfavorable decision.
Call our Immigration team at(480) 626-2388 to discuss your case today.
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