Permanent Resident Cards, known as green cards, that were issued after 1988 must be renewed every ten years in order to remain valid. Failure to renew a green card does not result in loss of status or deportation. However, it can cause complications and unnecessary problems concerning employment and international travel. When applying for citizenship, you must prove your legal status as a permanent resident which is done most commonly through the presentation of a green card. You can submit your expired green card as proof of your residency, however, there is no absolute guarantee that your application will be approved.
Download and complete Form N-400 Application for Naturalization. The PDF application can be found at the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, under the "Forms" section. Complete the document in full writing N/A rather than leaving sections blank. Write your Alien Registration Number, green card number, on the top right corner of each page in the application. It does not matter that your card is expired since your number does not change with renewal.
Gather the supporting documents. All applicants must send along with Form N-400 two identical passport-style color photographs and a legible photocopy of the back and front of your green card. Photocopy your expired card or send a photocopy of your I-90 receipt if you applied for a new card within the past year. Green cards take between ten and twelve months to process, therefore an I-90 receipt works as a stand-in green card. Additional documents may be required based on your individual circumstance, refer to the document checklist in the Resources section below for full details.
Pay the application fee. The application form and documents mus be accompanied by the full application fee of $675, as of November, 2010, in the form of check or money order made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Send the application packet to the appropriate USCIS filing center. If you live in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Territory of Guam, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, send your application to:
P.O. Box 21251
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Residents of all other states send your application to:
P.O. Box 660060
Dallas, TX 75266
Wait for approval. The USCIS will notify you in writing of whether your application was approved or denied. If you are requested to obtain a new green card, submit Form I-90 to the USCIS and present your I-90 receipt at your citizenship interview. If your application is approved with additional requests, you will be informed as to where and when to attend a citizenship interview, English and civics exam and swearing ceremony.
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