Filing For Citizenship, and Green Cards Without Expiration Date
I’m a legal permanent resident with one of the old green cards with no expiration date. I’ve been here since 1988. I’m now 28 years old and after all this procrastination I am going to file for naturalization. I was told I still need to renew my green card in the meantime but that is costly. Naturalization is $700. I will need to travel within the next year and I want to know can I just file for a I-131 travel document so that I can return to the US or do I really need to go ahead and get my permanent residence card renewed while I wait for my naturalization application is being processed? Thanks in advance!
As of the date of the writing of this answer, there has not been a final published rule requiring the replacement of all green cards without expiration dates. However, with all of the stepped-up security measures that have been put into place by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at all of the ports of entry, if you plan on traveling outside of the United States, it would be wise to have unexpired, valid documentation that clearly demonstrates your admissibility to the United States. This means traveling with an unexpired passport and up-to-date green card, and any other documentation that may prove you are admissible to the United States. Though your green card on its face is not ‘expired,’ if you travel with it, the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) will most likely advise you to apply for a new green card. They may cut a portion of the card to discourage you from using it anymore.
The procedure for Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, includes a fingerprint background check and an updated photograph, both of which enable the government to increase its efficiency and effectiveness in protecting the United State¿s security. A re-entry permit, which is obtained by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, is not a substitute for a green card. Generally, the re-entry permit is applied for and issued to an individual for the purpose re-admission to the United States after a long absence so as to lessen the likelihood that you will be found to have abandoned your permanent resident status. The re-entry permit is presented along with the green card at the port of entry. The application and biometrics fee for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is $675.00 total.
Your naturalization interview should be scheduled approximately one year from the date you filed the application. The application and biometrics fee for the I-90 is $370.00 total. Assuming there are no issues concerning your eligibility for renewing your green card, you should receive the replacement card in approximately three months. If you have further questions relating to traveling outside the United States, applying for a replacement green card, or applying for citizenship, it would be wise for you to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys