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What is a Green Card? The green card is a document identifying an alien as a lawful permanent resident in the United States.

What is the purpose of the Green Card?

The “green card” is the proof of a person’s status as a legal permanent resident. It is the Alien Registration Certificate.

Other than a Green Card, are there other documents that prove a person’s lawful permanent resident status?

Other proofs of legal permanent resident status are: a foreign passport with a Permanent Resident stamp (I-551), a foreign passport with a Lawful Temporary Resident stamp or sticker (I-688), or a temporary evidence of permanent resident status (I-94).

Where can I apply for a Green Card?

You can apply for a Green Card at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is an agency under the Department of Homeland Security. They accept applications or petitions for issuance of a green card, renewal of green cards and replacement of lost or damaged green cards.

How long is a Green Card valid for?

A Green Card is valid for ten years.

What should I do when my Green Card is about to expire?

If your Green Card is set to expire in six months, you may file an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90). This can be done through e-filing or through filing a paper form.  It is best not to wait until the card has expired before applying for a renewal.

What if I am outside the US at the time that my Green Card is about to expire?

If you are traveling outside the United States and your Green Card is about to expire but you are going to return to the US within one year from your departure, you can file for a renewal of your Green Card as soon as you return to the US.

If your Green Card is about to expire and you are outside the US but you have not filed for a renewal of your Green Card before you left the US, you must go to the nearest US Embassy or Consulate, USCIS Office or US port of entry.

Can my application for renewal of my Green Card be denied?

Yes, it may be denied. When this happens, the USCIS will inform you through a letter, giving you the reasons why your application was denied.

What should I do if my application for renewal was not approved?

You may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider the denial. By filing this, you are asking the USCIS to review or reexamine the decision and your application.

What’s the difference between a motion to reopen and a motion for reconsideration?

By filing a motion to reopen, you are alleging that there are new facts or new documents that you can provide is your case is reopened. By filing a motion for reconsideration, you are asserting that the denial of your application for renewal was a mistake or it was based on an incorrect application of the law; or it was based on a incorrect appraisal of the documents presented when the application for renewal was made.