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How do I renew my green card?

The majority of people living in South Carolina with permanent residency status are likely aware of the need to ensure the continuing validity of their Form I-551 cards, commonly known as "green cards." Unconditional green cards retain their legal validity for 10 years, and residents who plan to remain within the United States are advised to begin the renewal process within six months of a card's expiration date or as quickly as possible following its expiration.

The renewal process for unconditional permanent residents starts with filing Form I-90, the "Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card," in either written or electronic form. A conditional resident with an expiring two-year card must use Form I-751, the "Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence."

Depending on the circumstances, complications may arise for an individual seeking to extend a permanent residency, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office might deny his or her application. In these cases, a direct appeal is not allowed, but the petitioner has the right to file a motion to reopen or reconsider his or her case at the office where the original filing was made and rejected.

The above information regarding renewal of green cards does not constitute legal advice and cannot replace a lawyer's counsel as tailored to a client's unique situation. For someone filing an initial application, a lawyer can examine the available facts beforehand to optimize the chance of a favorable ruling. When a renewal application is denied, an important element of any motion for reconsideration is an effective argument that the agency's initial decision failed to correctly apply immigration policies and laws. In such cases, a lawyer's perspective and experience could make an indispensable difference.

Source: USCIS.gov, "I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence," March 7, 2014

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Renew a Green Card", September 22, 2014

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