Determined & Skilled Immigration Defense

Expiring or Lost I-551 Green Card for Immigrants with Crimes

Renew or Replace Your Green Card with Our San Jose Attorney

The U.S. Green Card, officially referred to as the "I-551 Permanent Resident Card" is an official document issued by the US government serving as evidence of your legal permanent residency in the U.S. It is called a "Green Card" because the original document issued was green. It was originally called the "Alien Registration Receipt Card."

To improve document security and keep tabs on immigrants who have been engaged in criminal activity, the U.S. immigrant service in 1989 began issuing green cards with a 10-year expiration date. As your expiration date approaches, the law requires that you apply to renew your green card on a USCIS Form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. If you lose your green card, the law also requires you to file an I-90 to replace your I-551 card.

What Is Your I-551 Number?

Your green card number, or I-551 card number, is a 13-digit number that is printed on your permanent resident card. It consists of both letters and numbers that refer to your specific case. This number is different from your USCIS and your alien registration number.

The I-551 number has several other names so it is best to familiarize yourself with them all. This number may also be called:

  • I-551 receipt number
  • Case number
  • Green card number
  • Permanent resident number
  • Permanent resident case number

What Happens if You Don't Renew Your Green Card?

It is important to keep your green card up-to-date and valid. Without it being valid, it can be difficult to travel, be eligible to work in the U.S, and prove your residency, which can make you vulnerable to subject of removal. It is best to plan at least six months ahead before your green card expires and to avoid any issues.

How to Renew or Replace Your I-551 Permanent Resident Card

Applying to renew or replace your green card is normally a straightforward process. However, if you have been convicted of a crime, what should have been an easy application can be extremely dangerous for your permanent resident status and might lead to deportation from the U.S.

To renew or replace a green card, applicants are required to submit to biometrics (fingerprinting) and a criminal background check. If the criminal background check comes back with convictions or arrests, USCIS will request that you turn in certified conviction records. Once the immigration service obtains the records, whether through the immigrant or on its own, it then decides whether you are deportable and should be placed in front of an immigration judge for removal proceedings.

This is a huge shock to many immigrants. Non-citizens who thought they had paid their dues for their crimes, who believed that they were safe from deportation after living in the U.S. for decades, and traveled many times out of the U.S. without being hassled by immigration, cannot believe that they could now be put in ICE detention and deported.

To avoid any surprises, it is critical that you speak with a knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorney at our firm to go over your green card renewal options. For many non-citizens, we can find real solutions to avoid deportation and even put you on the road to U.S. citizenship For assistance with your application, contact an immigration defense attorney in San Jose.

Assistance with Expiring or Lost Green Cards in San Jose

Daniel Shanfield, Esq. Immigration Defense assists clients in the San Jose area with expiring Green Cards and other immigration defense issues. We can help you with the renewal of your card. Our firm is always ready to assist you if you encounter any problem when you attempt to reenter the country with expired documentation.

Reach out to a San Jose attorney at our firm for assistance in renewing your I-551 Green Card.

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