It may be that time again. Time to renew the green card you’ve had for nearly ten years. The process can be complicated but FileRight is here to break down how you should prepare.

We’ve spoken with more than a few immigrants who didn’t realize their green cards were expiring. For these folks, renewing their card was much more urgent because of the problems caused by an expired card.

The USCIS recommends you start the green card renewal process when you still have six months of validity left on the card.

When preparing for green card renewal, there are a few things you must consider. The first is obviously the filing fee. As of August 2018, the filing fee for filing Form I-90 Application to Renew or Replace Permanent Resident Card was $455, plus most immigrants will pay an $85 biometric service fee.

Green card holders who are eligible may also wish to consider applying for naturalization. The cycle of green card renewals could end up costing you more money in the long run.

Once you have the fee secured, the next step is to make sure you are eligible to renew your green card.

Immigrants with conditional permanent residency cannot fill out Form I-90, they must complete Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

Finding out if you meet the basic eligibility requirements to renew your green card is as easy as answering a couple questions on FileRight.com. The eligibility quiz will let you know if you can prepare your application to renew or replace your card using FileRight.

Documents needed to renew or replace a green card

When renewing or replacing your green card, one of the most important documents you must have is your current green card. It’s important to have a copy of your card on hand, if you don’t you may consider making a copy of it, front and back. You may also consider taking pictures of the front and back of your card.

The USCIS, in most cases, will accept a photocopy of your green card but may ask for the original if there’s an error on the card.

If your green card was lost, stolen, or destroyed you have a couple different options. You can send the USCIS a copy of the front and back of your card, or you can send in another government-issued form of identification. That government ID needs to contain your name, date of birth, photograph, and signature. For example, a passport, driver’s license, or military identification.

If your card has an error due to a mistake by the Department of Homeland Security or the USCIS you must send the ORIGINAL green card with the error on it. You must also include documents that show the correct information. According to the USCIS, this could be a court order reflecting your name, your marriage certificate, divorce decree, birth certificate, adoption decree, passport, or other court documents.

If your card has an error that was NOT caused by the USCIS, you will have to submit the same information. The only difference is if the government caused the error you will not be required to pay the filing fee.

The USCIS accepts copies of most documents unless they specifically say they need the original document.

If you have changed your name since receiving your current green card you’ll have to prove your name has changed. To do that, you must submit a copy of the legal documents issued to you by the state indicating that you have legally changed your name, such as a court order reflecting the change of name, marriage certificate, divorce decree or other court documents.

FileRight is here to help take the guesswork out of what documents you need when renewing your green card. FileRight’s step-by-step software can help you navigate through the most complicated portions of the green card renewal process and feel confident in your decisions as to what documents to send to the USCIS along with your application.

Getting started is as easy as completing an eligibility quiz on FileRight.com.