If you have been a lawful permanent resident in the United States for any length of time, you probably realize that the tone of debate over immigration changes with each presidential election. Despite going through the complicated process to obtain your green card, you may still have moments of concern for the security of your status in the U.S.
Of course, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from losing your lawful permanent residency, such as paying your taxes and avoiding criminal behavior. Additionally, you will want to pay attention to the expiration date on your green card and be sure to begin the renewal process before it expires.
How long have you been here?
Your residency in this country may be second-nature to you now. In all probability, you go about your daily routine, perhaps going to work, caring for your family and enjoying the freedoms of living in the beautiful state of Kentucky. You carry your green card in your wallet with your driver's license and bank card, and never give it a thought.
However, if you have been in the country with permanent resident status for nearly ten years, your green card may be due to expire. If your card will expire within the next six months, now is the time to apply to have your status renewed.
How will you apply?
The renewal of your green card is not difficult, but like most immigration procedures, mistakes in the application process can result in lengthy delays or even denials of your petition. It is important to follow instructions carefully and not be afraid to ask for assistance from a professional who has experience in immigration law.
You have two choices when it is time to renew your green card. You may apply online on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website, or you may obtain a paper copy of the application to complete and mail. The application is long, about seven pages, and if you do not complete it in its entirety and submit the required documentation with it, USCIS will deny your request for green card renewal.
What happens next?
Once you have submitted your form and all the appropriate documentation, you wait. There are several ways to check on the status of your application, such as registering on the USCIS website or calling their toll-free number. Have your receipt number, alien registration number and personal information handy to access your information.
In case you receive a letter from USCIS informing you that they have denied your application, you will want to seek legal advice about how to proceed. Such decisions cannot be appealed, but there are steps you can take to obtain a reconsideration of your case, depending on the reasons for the rejection.