How To Complete Form I-90 to Renew a Green Card

Tips on completing the paperwork to renew your green card, as well as information on potential problems to avoid.

Form I-90, issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is the one to use when you need to renew or replace your U.S. permanent resident card (green card). Although it is a fairly simple form, the fact that it is used by people in various different immigration categories -- for example, permanent residents renewing a green card, conditional residents who have lost their green card, and so on -- can cause some confusion.

This article will attempt to clarify how different categories of applicants should fill out this form.

Part 1: Information About You

This section is reasonably self-explanatory. If you're filing because the name on your originally issued green card was wrong, or has since changed, be extra careful to put your current, accurate name in Question 1; this is the name that will appear on your new green card. In Question 3, you'll put the old or mistaken name that appears on your current green card.

Question 12, "Class of Admission," refers to the category of green card you received. It is listed under "Category" on current green cards. Some common classes of admission include "IR1" for the spouse of a U.S. citizen; "DV1" for diversity visa lottery immigrants; "E11" for priority workers with extraordinary ability; "IR2" for the child of a U.S. citizen; "RE" (plus a number) for various types of refugees; and so on.

Question 13, "Date of Admission," refers to the date upon which you were approved for U.S. permanent residence or entered the U.S. on an immigrant visa. It too is shown on your green card; look for "Resident Since." 

Part 2: Application Type

In Part 2, Question 1, you will need to identify your current status. "Permanent resident" means you're a regular green card holder. "Permanent resident in commuter status" means you live across the U.S. border, but have been given a special green card allowing you to pass back and forth regularly.

"Conditional permanent resident" means that you got your green card either as an investor or as the spouse of a U.S. citizen whom you married within the two years before becoming a U.S. resident, and so your status (and green card) will expire in another two years. IMPORTANT NOTE: Form I-90 is NOT the correct one to use in order to convert from conditional to permanent resident. For this, you will need Form I-751 if you are a marriage-based applicant (as discussed in Filing a Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence) or Form I-829 if you are an investment-based applicant (as discussed in Filing Form I-829 to Remove Conditions on EB-5 Status). The only reasons conditional residents should be using Form I-90 are those listed in Question 2 Section B, relating to the card being lost, destroyed, in need of updated information, and the like.

For Question 2, you will need to check a box listing the reason for filing the I-90. Your answer to this question will determine what evidence you will need to provide. USCIS's Instructions for I-90 contain clear explanations of every category.

Part 3: Processing Information

This part is also largely self-explanatory. Question 6, regarding removal from the U.S., refers to deportation proceedings in immigration court. If you answer yes to this or to Question 7 regarding abandonment of your U.S. residence, see an attorney before continuing with this application.

Part 4: Accommodations for Individuals With Disabilities or Impairments

This section is added to most USCIS applications, so that people who need, for example, a sign-language interpreter at an interview can ask for one. However, USCIS rarely requires interviews in green card renewal or replacement cases, unless you have a criminal conviction on your record and may be deportable. You will, however, be called in for fingerprints, so if you have a disability or impairment that makes that difficult, and there is an accommodation that can be arranged to make it easier for you, be sure to list it here.

Part 5: Signature

Don't forget to sign and date your application, or USCIS will send it back to you for another try.

Requirements of Evidence

The form alone is not sufficient to apply for a renewed or replaced green card. You will need to provide supporting evidence as well, as described in the USCIS instructions.

Filing Fees

Most applicants will need to pay a filing fee for Form I-90 (unless you never received your card or the replacement is to correct a USCIS error, or are filing because you are turning 14 and need to register but your card will not expire before you turn 16). Most will also need to pay a biometrics or fingerprinting fee, depending on your reason for applying. If those reasons were that you never received your card, or , you do not have to pay the biometrics fee.

The fees were $455 for the application and $85 for biometrics as of 2017, but check the USCIS website for the latest. 

Form I-90 may be filed and paid for electronically on the Internet or may be mailed to the USCIS Phoenix, Arizona facility. The address is on the website. Even if you file electronically, you will need to send any supporting documents by mail.

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