Generally, in order for a non-U.S. citizen to live and work in the United States, he or she must apply for and receive a Permanent Resident Card, otherwise known as a Green Card. When someone issued a Green Card, it means they are authorized by the U.S. government to live and work in the United States.
Having a Green Card means the immigrant is in the U.S. legally, and can stay for years without threat of deportation as long as they do not commit any deportable offenses, such as identity theft, domestic violence, sexual assault, or drug-related crimes.
Suppose you apply for and receive your Green Card. Once you become a permanent resident, there are certain steps that you need to follow. For starters, you should know that Green Cards don’t last forever. If you receive a Green Card, it is only valid for 10 years.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends beginning the renewal process about 6 months before the card expires. You can do this by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
Note: If you have a two-year Green card, you do NOT fill out Form I-90.
Do You Have a Two-Year Green Card?
If you have a two-year Green Card, it cannot be renewed. Instead, the conditions on your Green Card will have to be removed, otherwise, your permanent resident status will be lost on the date the Green Card expires. If you are a conditional permanent resident and you want to continue your status, you’ll have to do the following:
- If you are a family-based conditional resident, you must file a Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, and this form must be filed within the 90-day period before your card expires.
- If you are an investor or entrepreneur-based conditional resident, then you will file the Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. This form must be filed within the 90-day period before your Green Card expires.
Benefits of Having a Green Card
There are major benefits to having a Green Card; it allows you to show U.S. employers that you are eligible to work, and it allows you to obtain a Texas driver’s license. If you want to take a trip abroad, your Green Card will enable you to be re-admitted to the United States upon your return unless your trip is longer than one year. If you travel abroad for more than one year, you’ll need what’s called a reentry permit to get back into the U.S.
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