renewing a green card
July 17, 2017 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Hello Fellow Mefites -- I'm looking for advice re. renewing a green card. I have a U.S. Permanent Resident Card that's Category E16 -- "Priority worker -- alien with extraordinary ability." It expires 09/08/18. My partner's card will expire 1/23/19, as she came to the U.S. a few months later.

We are Canadians currently living in Madison, Wisconsin.

Should we hire a lawyer to renew our cards or is it easy enough to renew ourselves? Anyone have any personal experience with this? We hired a lawyer to obtain our Permanent Resident Cards. He was very helpful. We could go that route again. We're just trying to save money if possible as we don't have a lot.

Also -- Any advice about when we should start pursuing the renewal? Right away?

Thank you all for your time, consideration and advice.
posted by DougieGee to Law & Government (5 answers total)
This used to be quite easy. But in today's atmosphere, I would lawyer up. Tell the lawyer you need to economize, and that you will draft your complete application but you want one meeting with them to review it before you file. Do the same with any further rounds of paperwork and have a lawyer present if an interview is involved.
posted by beagle at 7:37 AM on July 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

Yep. Get a lawyer.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:34 AM on July 17, 2017

Do you or your spouse have a large, permanent employer? If they have many foreign employees, they probably have a preferred company for handling these, and will probably handle it at their cost. When I used to do occasional work for IBM in Canada, this was the route we took. This did not eliminate all the trouble — I still had to show up in person with all my papers at a certain spot on a certain day — but it did eliminate most of the expense and worry. If you do not have corporate access to such a resource, you may still be able to find one yourself, but be careful. You are asking for modest help and should expect to pay modest fees.

Also, I think that a year in advance is probably too long. In my case I was told to apply three months in advance; in your case I would at least wait until six months, even if you expect to have to do all of the work yourself.
posted by ubiquity at 8:36 AM on July 17, 2017

Do you have conditional residency or permanent residency? If it's conditional, you may want a lawyer. If you already have full permanent residency, that seems like overkill--USCIS is generally not re-evaluating an LPR's qualifications when they renew their physical green card. Their status exists separate from that piece of plastic. However, removing conditions on conditional residency does require a fresh look at qualifications. (Expertise: work in an an immigration field--am not DHS, though).
posted by whitewall at 9:30 AM on July 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I did my own Permanent Residency paperwork, and for a renewal, I wouldn't blink at doing it myself. As long as there aren't any conditions attached, a renewal should be straightforward.

Have you given any thought to applying for citizenship? I decided that I'd rather do that than renew my green card (and there were a bunch of other reasons, of course), did it all myself, and it was no worse in terms of paperwork than my green card. For a September 2018 expiration, you have plenty of time to complete the citizenship process if you start this year.

The reason I bring this up is, it seems like a matter of time before current citizenship policies are changed.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:25 PM on July 17, 2017

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