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Here’s the Entire Process of Renewing Your Green Card

— March 28, 2022

After the medical examination, you will get a notice telling you when your card will arrive.

The process of renewing your Green Card is relatively straightforward. It is, in essence, just like getting a new Green Card. The only significant difference is there won’t be any tests involved. In the following, we will guide you through the main steps, from filing an application to receiving the Card.

Step 1: Apply for Green Card Renewal

If you meet all the requirements and want to stay in the United States permanently, it is essential to apply before your current Green Card expires (or within two years of its expiration date). This will help ensure you do not have any gaps in employment or other problems with your life here. 

Note: If your current Green Card expires in less than two years, you must apply for Green Card renewal within the first 90 days of the card’s expiration date.

Step 2: Apply for Permanent Residency (Green Card) Pending Approval

If you haven’t been approved yet to get a Green Card through family or employment, you will need to make an application for permanent residency (also called a “Green Card”) by filing Form I-485 together with the fees. Prepare to pay a $190 application fee. You will also need to file a separate application (Form I-765) to request an EAD card while you wait. 

Note: If you have already been approved for a Green Card but haven’t received it yet, you can skip this step.

Step 3: Take Biometrics

If your fingerprints were taken when you first applied for a Green Card, this step is optional. However, if your fingerprints aren’t still on file with DHS, you will need to complete this step as well. 

This can be done at most large city or county offices. If you are using a PO box or have them taken at a different location, you must make sure that the service provider has access to your fingerprints.

Step 4: Take Medical Exam

Once your application is approved, you will receive notice that they will send your Permanent Residency Card to the closest DHS office for it to be processed (most likely by mail). After 4-6 weeks (or longer if there are any delays), you will need to make an appointment for the medical exam. 

After the medical exam, you can have your photo taken. You will need to bring your DS-160 confirmation page as well as proof of your identity (such as a driver’s license) with you to this appointment.

Step 5: Wait for Card To Arrive

After the medical examination, you will get a notice telling you when your card will arrive. It can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to come, but it will be mailed directly to your home address. Once you receive it, make sure that it has a picture and that all information on the card is correct.

Green card and letter; image by Jude Matsalla, via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0, no changes.
Green card and letter; image by Jude Matsalla, via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0, no changes.

If not, contact the local USCIS office immediately. They will re-examine your application and remove any errors or omissions. Print out a copy of the card and keep it in a safe place since you will need to make sure that it is valid when you enter the U.S.


If you have children out of the country, an excellent way to expedite the Green Card renewal process (in addition to the steps mentioned above) is by filing an I-600 with USCIS. This will allow USCIS to re-adjudicate your application without having to wait for evidence that your child has been admitted. 

To do this, you will need to include a letter explaining that you want the I-600 to be processed as soon as possible because your child is outside the United States, including a copy of your child’s visa application. 

The only downside to doing this is that if you are approved for a Green Card before your child has been admitted, the approval won’t be final until accepted.

The Bottom Line

There is a lot of work to be done before your card is processed. However, once it has been approved, you will have a permanent Green Card. You can now travel into the U.S. and receive employment in any job.

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