How Long Is a Green Card Valid?

By Mary Jane Freeman
Green cards, your status, a legal permanent resident, the United States

leekris/iStock/Getty Images

Your green card identifies you as a legal permanent resident of the United States. It is evidence of your right to live and work in the country. Most green cards are valid for 10 years before you need to renew them. However, if yours was issued on the basis of your marriage to a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, and the marriage is less than two years old, your card is only valid for two years. To keep your permanent resident status, you must renew your green card before it expires, if possible.

Renewing the 10-Year Card

To renew your green card, file Form I-90, the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The form is available online at the USCIS website -- and you can submit it by mail or online. Although USCIS recommends renewing your card within six months of its expiration date, you can renew your card even if it has already expired. On the I-90 form, provide your personal information, check the box that states, "My existing card will expire in six months or has already expired," and include a copy of your residency card with the filing fee.

Renewing the Two-Year Card

To renew a two-year green card based on marriage, you and your spouse must jointly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, with USCIS no later than 90 days after its expiration date. If you're no longer married or were abused by your spouse, you can file Form I-751 alone. You must include a copy of your green card with documents showing you married your spouse in good faith, such as the birth certificates of children born to the marriage. Submit the completed application and supporting materials with the filing fee to USCIS by mail.

About the Author

Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article