How to Extend Your Green Card?

How to Extend Your Green Card?

If you are a permanent resident of the United States your status does not actually expire. You remain a green card holder indefinitely. However, your residence rights can be taken away from you if you live outside the U.S for too long or if you have been involved in a crime.  On the other hand, you have to understand your physical green card itself does expire after every ten years. It is important for you to extend or renew your green card within six months of its expiration. But if the expiration date has already passed, you will need to apply for one as soon as possible.

Applying to Extend a Green Card.

If your green card has expired or will expire in a couple of months, you can begin the extension process by:

  •  Applying for a paper Form I-90 and submitting it by mail.
  •  Submitting the Form I-90 application online through the USCIS website.

You need to keep in mind that you have to pay a fee for the application. The amount also includes a fee to cover for essential biometrics including photographing, fingerprinting and electronically capturing your signature. However, you will be called in for a biometrics appointment by the USCIS only after you have submitted your extension application.

Extending your Green Card from outside the United States.

Many people find it difficult to file for an extension while they’re abroad. But it’s not that different from the usual process. If your card is about to expire, you have to file for a renewal but only after you’ve returned to the United States or before your departure. In case you were not able to renew it in time, you will need to visit the nearest USCIS office or U.S. consulate while you are abroad for further instructions on what needs to be done.

Finding Out the Status of your Application.

Checking the status of your application is quite simple. It is as simple as logging onto USCIS’s website and selecting ‘My Case Status’.  However, it is important for you to understand that an e-filled receipt number is not necessarily available through this option for at least 72 hours after submitting your renewal form.

In case you are unable to get a status update, you should contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center. But before contacting the department it would be wise to have specific information from your application handy with you to learn more about its status.

What if your Application is denied?

There’s nothing as alarming as finding out that your application has been denied. Instead of panicking, you need to stay rational at all times. There can be various reasons why your application may have been denied. The details and reasons are highlighted within the letter sent from the USCIS. Even though you cannot appeal a negative decision, you can still submit a motion to reconsider. In other words you are simply asking the USCIS to reconsider and reexamine their decision which at times yield favorable results, if handled correctly.

However, you should keep in mind that such a motion will need to state new facts in order for your case to be reopened.  It also needs to include appropriate documents as evidence to help your case. The motion will have to establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence in the file.

Keeping these factors in mind, you will find it easier to extend your green card. But if you are having any difficulties whatsoever, it would be wise to seek legal advice. Not only will it save you a lot of time but money as well.

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