New Immigration Change: Renewing Permanent Resident Cards without an Expiration Date

November 8, 2007

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a new rule that will require approximately 750,000 lawful permanent residents carrying ‘green cards’ without expiration dates to apply for a new Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551). The proposal allows for a 120-day filing period for applications. The change allows USCIS to issue more secure permanent resident cards, update cardholder information, conduct background checks, and electronically store applicants’ fingerprint and photographic information.

Why is this proposed replacement of Forms I-551 without an expiration date necessary?

Permanent Resident Cards (Forms I-551) are issued to permanent residents to serve as evidence of immigration status, registration, identity, and employment authorization; they also serve as entry documents upon return from trips outside of the United States. A card that is too old, with out-of-date photographs, cannot effectively serve these purposes. The new rule will enable USCIS to update cardholder information, conduct background checks, and electronically store applicants’ biometric information. It is important to remember that the cards impacted by this initiative are now between 17 and 30 years old. The new card will be a modern version with greater security, be more tamper-resistant, and will have an expiration date requiring that the card be periodically renewed.

Why announce this proposed replacement of Forms I-551 without an expiration date now?

Replacement of the outstanding permanent resident cards without expiration dates is critical to the national security mission of USCIS. Replacement of the cards will ensure that cardholders’ fingerprints and photographs are updated so as to provide better evidence of the identity of the cardholders, more modern and secure cards are placed into circulation, and the replacement cards will be more tamper-resistant.

How would I apply?

It requires permanent residents with Permanent Resident Cards without expiration dates and who have not already applied for new cards with an expiration date to apply by filing Form I-90, along with the filing and biometric fees. Currently, the total cost is $370 (a filing fee of $290 for the I-90 and an $80 biometric fee for photographs and fingerprints). You may also apply online at www.uscis.gov for more information about e-filing.