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Should I renew my Green Card or apply for citizenship?

Pat Malone • November 20, 2020

Should I renew my Green Card or apply for citizenship?

This article has information about the costs, timelines, and more to help you decide whether to renew your Green Card or apply for citizenship. But you will have to weigh the pros and cons yourself. To learn more about the benefits of citizenship, click here.

How long does my Green Card last?

Your Green Card expires every ten years.* You need to replace your Green Card if:
• it is expiring
• it is damaged or missing
• it has wrong or has outdated information or
• there are certain other changes in your situation.
For more information, go to the USCIS website.

When your Green Card expires, it does not mean your status expires. You can be a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) forever if you follow the rules:
• Obey the law: some crimes can get you deported.
• Don't leave the U.S. for too long. If you spend too much time outside the U.S., the USCIS may claim you have abandoned your LPR status. For more information on abandonment, go to https://cliniclegal.org/resources/absences-are-too-long-and-how-cure-them.
• Don't file as a "nonimmigrant" on your U.S. tax forms.

* If you are a Conditional Resident (usually based on marriage), your green card expires in two years. For more information, go to the USCIS website.

How much does it cost to replace a Green Card?

For most people, it costs $540 to replace the Green Card. This is $455 for the Form I-90, and $85 for the "biometrics" (fingerprints). The fees may change. To check your fees, use the fee calculator on the USCIS website. For more information about filing the Form I-90, go to: https://www.uscis.gov/i-90.

How long does it take to replace my Green Card?

Now it takes about 7.5 to 10.5 months to get a replacement Green Card. This may change, and you can check for the latest information at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

To find out what is happening to your Green Card replacement, and when it will arrive, you can track it on the USCIS website.

How much does it cost to apply for citizenship?

For most people, it costs $725 to apply for citizenship. The $725 fee includes:
• $640 for the application, and
• $85 for fingerprinting (biometrics).
Exception: If you are 75 or older, you only pay $640. Some people with low income qualify for a fee waiver and can pay $0 or $405. To learn more about the fees and fee waiver, click here.
How long does it take to get citizenship?

It depends on where you live. The citizenship process can take 6 months to 2 years, or longer.To see how long the process takes in your area, check USCIS Processing Times. Under “Form,” scroll down and click "N-400." Under “Field Office,” pick the office near you.

If I get U.S. citizenship, do I lose my home country citizenship?

It depends on your home country's laws. Your home country may still consider you a citizen even after you take the U.S. oath. To find the rules in your home country, check with your embassy.

To get started on your citizenship application, click here. Good luck!

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