In 2007, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) presented a proposal to eliminate hundreds of thousands of green cards issued years ago without expiration dates. Although the proposal was never implemented into law, the last seven years have seen a concerted push for immigration officers to strongly advise travelers to renew green cards without expiration dates.
USCIS believes that replacing all outstanding permanent resident cards without expiration dates is critical to national security. Although green cards issued between 1977 and 1989 which do not have expiration dates are still recognized by USCIS and are still valid, USCIS has stated that it is critical to remove them from circulation.
By requiring immigrants to reapply for new cards, the federal agency would be able to obtain the most up-to-date information as well as update photographs and obtain electronic fingerprints.
Why should you get a new card?
Not only will replacement of the card ensure that the cardholder’s fingerprints and photographs are updated, but the more modern green cards are more secure and more tamper-resistant. Newer cards also contain the most up-to-date technology, including the ability to be quickly scanned.
If you apply for a new card, will your current green card be valid?
The process for applying for a new green card (filing an I-90 and providing new biometric data) currently takes about six months. While waiting for your new card to be processed, your current green card will still be valid and does not have to be forfeited with the I-90 application.
What are the repercussions for not getting a new green card?
Although USCIS has not taken steps to limit the legality of green cards without expiration dates, they have made it abundantly clear that it is not advisable to retain them and holders of green cards without expiration dates should take necessary and expedient steps to renew them. “Rather than emphasizing possible punitive actions that can be taken, we would encourage cardholders to consider the benefits of complying,” stated USCIS.
It has also been noted that traveling internationally with a green card without an expiration date can cause travel delays, additional security screenings and extended wait times for the green card holder.
Would a permanent resident be able to choose to apply for naturalization instead of applying for a new card?