Permanent Residence Green Card, DV Lottery & Permanent Residence FAQ

  1. Do Green cards have an expiration date?

    Only the card expires, not the status. All Green cards issued from 1989 until present, expire 10 years after the date they are issued and must be renewed. However, those issued before 1989 do not have to be renewed.

    What are the benefits of a Green Card?

    There are several benefits to possessing a Green Card in the U.S. Benefits include:
    • Freedom to leave and return to the U.S. without risking being denied re-entry by an immigration official. You should make sure you re enter the country legally by entering the border checkout and show your Green Card to the officials.
    • You will have the right to receive Government sponsored financial aid for education
    • Green Card holders pay less for tuition, it is the same as “in state” or “resident” tuition and is considerably less than foreigners pay.
    • You will not need an employer sponsorship and can work any where in the U.S.
    • You will be allowed to work for your self and own a business
    • Future immigration laws will not affect you
    • Ability to work in government jobs
    • You will have all rights as other citizens except for the right to vote
    • You do not need to apply for citizenship unless you want too. You can live permanently in the U.S. as long as you maintain your Green Card status
    • Ability to obtain a home mortgage loan at a reduced rate than non Green Card holders
    • Ability to make campaign contributions where as non foreign nationals can’t
    • May be eligible for tax benefits
    • You can legally own property, fire arms and automobiles just as any citizen can
    • Ability to become a naturalized citizen

    How does a Green card help one become a naturalized citizen?

    Green Card holders can qualify to become a naturalized citizen after having permanent residence status for at least 5 continuous years of physical presence in the United States. Spouse of American citizens who possess a Green card can qualify after only 3 years. (There can not be an absence for more than one continuous year) Remaining in the country to become a naturalized citizen is called “preserving residence for the purpose of naturalization”.

    How does one renew a Green Card?

    All Green Cards issued after 1989 must be renewed every 10 years. The expiration date is clearly indicated on the front of the card. To renew, send in application Form 1-90, Application to Replace a Permanent Resident Card at least 6 months before the expiration date. A filing fee of $110 will be charged.

    What if the Green Card has expired? Is there a penalty?

    No penalty is charged. Simply apply for a new one immediately.

    Can a Green Card be given back or surrendered?

    It is rare that anyone would want to give back their Green Card, however it does sometimes happen. To surrender you Green Card and abandon your Legal Permanent Resident status, file form I-407 to a consular officer. Your LPR will be stamped and signed by the documenting officer and returned to you. Keep a copy with your passport to document your prior U.S. immigration status.
    Immigration Law:
    Lawful Permanent Residence, Green Card

    Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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