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When to replace your green card

Whether your immigration status is permanent or conditional, you rely on your green card to show that you belong in America. Your green card is probably one of your most valuable possessions, both because it protects your life in the U.S. and because it usually isn’t easy to obtain.

However, this green card probably won’t last your entire lifetime, even if you are a permanent resident. In fact, there are several reasons why you would need to ask the government for a new card other than expiration.

The first reason to replace a green card is if you are changing your status. For example, you may have traveled often to visit family across the U.S. border, but now you are ready to move in as a resident. You will need to apply for a different green card as part of your immigration process.

Another reason to request a new card is to update your information. Perhaps you changed your legal name or there was a mistake on the original copy. You will have to replace your card so that all of your personal and legal information is correct.

In addition, you might need a replacement if your card is lost or destroyed. Without your physical card intact, you could be charged for a misdemeanor, according to USCIS. This is why you should file for a new card immediately after realizing that it’s missing.

To request a new green card, you will have to complete the Form I-90 either online or through paper. USCIS will review your application to decide whether to grant you a replacement. An immigration attorney can help you prepare your form as well as ask USCIS to reconsider a denial. If USCIS accepts your application, your new green card will have a fresh expiration date.

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