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Renewal of Legal Permanent Residency ID Cards
Notice: The USCIS indicates that alien's should apply to replace their current card if the card is a prior version of the alien registration card (Form AR-3, Form AR-103, Form I-151). To find the FORM NUMBER ON THE CARD look on the backside (see sample PDF), cards should read I-551 if not you must apply for a replacement card. These versions are no longer valid to prove immigration status for any purpose and you may be unable to re-enter the US if traveling on one of the older cards. Those holding the older cards should should submit an Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card (Form I-90) to receive the current version (Form I-551). Although currently there is no evidence that Permanent Residents are being required to undergo the special security checks you should be aware that such checks are at the discretion of the US Customs and Border Protection. If you had any criminal convictions or meet other USCBP criteria, there is a risk of losing your permanent residence. Lengthy absences from the U.S. (over one year) might also put you at the risk of having the USCIS determine that your permanent residence was abandoned. If in doubt whether to renew, it is suggested that you consult with an immigration attorney.
Background: The USCIS has been issuing Green Cards (Form I-551, Alien Registration Receipt Card) that expire every 10 years. You may apply for a replacement card up to 6 months in advance of the expiration date.
If you have a previous version of the alien registration card (e.g. USCIS Form AR-3, Form AR-103, or Form I-151, these are no longer valid proof of your status) and must replace it with the current permanent resident card (Form I-551). The older versions have no expiration date on them, these cards may now be invalid if they are one of those indicated above.
It is important to note that when your alien registration card expires, you will not lose your status. However, renewal is necessary to maintain evidence of status and avoid problems when seeking employment, benefits or re-entry into the United States after travel abroad. You should also be aware that by renewing your card, the USCIS will pay attention to whether you have maintained your permanent residency during the previous 10 years.
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Last Updated: July 19, 2013