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Green cards: Who is eligible?

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Photo Credit: Andrea Izzotti

A green card is a document that permits a non-citizen to live permanently in the United States. Long-term immigrants in the United States begin their residency with a green card. The green card allows them to live and work (legally) anywhere in the country for three or five years before being eligible for citizenship.

The U.S. government issues over a million green cards each year. The majority of the visas are issued to family members of U.S. nationals and existing green card holders. Employees from other countries finding jobs in the US come in second.

Green card eligibility conditions

Non-citizens who wish to work and live in the United States need green cards. However, since the verification process can be lengthy, make sure you are qualified before applying for a green card. Those who are eligible to apply include:

  • Permanent residents with a ten-year green card, which has either expired or will expire within the next six months.
  • Permanent residents whose former identification card was misplaced, confiscated, mutilated, or damaged
  • Permanent residents who received their green cards before turning 14 years old and have now turned 14 years old
  • Permanent residents who have legitimately changed their name or other biographical details since receiving their last green card
  • Permanent residents that have moved to the United States and are now commuting
  • Permanent residents with erroneous information on their green cards
  • Foreign nationals whose status has been converted to permanent resident status automatically (including special agricultural workers)
  • Permanent residents who have an older version of their green card (for example, USCIS Form AR-3, Form AR-103, or Form I-151) can replace it with the new permanent resident card

Permanent green card application renewal

Permanent resident status, also known as “getting your green card,” does not last indefinitely. It, like a driver’s license, must be renewed regularly. The standard schedule for extension is every ten years. There are several steps involved in the permanent resident card application renewal process.

Begin the renewal process six months before your green card expires

It is not easy to estimate how long the renewal process will take. Now and again, the process stalls and takes months and months. It doesn’t happen too much, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

To file online, create a USCIS account

After account creation, electronically submit proof and pay fees. You will receive case status alerts and the entire case history for your case.

Fill out the USCIS I-90 form

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website has this form. You can still file it on paper if you like. The USCIS demands that it be filled out. This form must be completed before processing can begin.

Send in the renewal fee

The fee is currently $540.00 and is subject to adjustment. It requires an $85 charge for biometrics, including fingerprinting, photographing, and remotely recording the signature.

Attend the biometrics appointment

Bring your appointment letter and some photo identification with you. Fingerprinting and a snapshot with your green card are part of the biometrics consultation. It’s nothing to be concerned with if you have a clean felony record.

Wait for the USCIS to give you a receipt notice

If you filed electronically, this would be in the form of an email. If you filed by mail, it would be in the form of a letter. Keep a copy of this for your records as evidence that you started the procedure.

Move freely in the country of liberty

For decades, interest in American culture has aided its dissemination across the world. The United States is one of the most desirable destinations for immigration from all over the world. A green card is the most sought-after visa for those who wish to make their dream of living in the United States a reality. Those who obtain a green card can enjoy all of the advantages that a United States residency has to offer.


Story by Mark Scott. With a law degree under his belt and years of experience, Scott set off to make the law more accessible to all. He decided to help people lost in the maze of legal terminology to find their way. Mark writes clear and concise pieces and gives simple advice that is easy to follow. On account of positive feedback from readers, he decided to dedicate more of his time to this goal and became a legal columnist. In his writings, Mark covers a wide array of topics, like how to seek legal counsel, or how to deal with different procedures. Furthermore, he directs his readers toward other trustworthy resources for more in-depth information.

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