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Renewing my nine year old green card having lived in Ireland

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"I have a green card that I received nine years ago, and there is an expiration date coming next year. I have been living on and off in Ireland for the past four years – mostly in Ireland.  How will I renew the green card considering that much of my work and life is in Ireland? I definitely want to keep the green card.  Is there a way to do this? What is the process for renewal, and would I be successful?”

If most of your life is centered in Ireland you don’t need a green card.  You don’t say what your travel pattern is, but if you are using the green card as a short-term entry document this will eventually be discovered and your status as a permanent resident will be rescinded.

The physical green card that permanent residents receive is issued with a 10-year expiration date.  That doesn’t mean that the holder’s legal status expires; rather, it’s the card itself.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service diligently works to improve the security features of green cards, which is a main reason why they need to be replaced with current versions every 10 years.

Those whose green cards are due to expire within six months must apply for a new card using USCIS Form I-90.  The form can be filed electronically and the fee is $450.

This includes a fee for biometrics.  All renewal applicants will be notified of an appointment at a local USCIS service center to submit this information. That’s a factor you’ll have to take into consideration – being here for the appointment. 

The I-90 form is fairly basic.  You ask if you would be successful in renewing your card, and the likelihood is that you would. 

However, as mentioned before, those with permanent resident status are expected to make the U.S. their primary residence. Those who do not run the risk of losing status.

Here’s what the USCIS website has to say on the matter:

“Permanent residents are free to travel outside the United States, and temporary or brief travel usually does not affect your permanent resident status.

“If it is determined, however, that you did not intend to make the United States your permanent home, you will be found to have abandoned your permanent resident status.  A general guide used is whether you have been absent from the United States for more than a year. Abandonment may be found to occur in trips of less than a year where it is believed you did not intend to make the United States your permanent residence. 

“While brief trips abroad generally are not problematic, the officer may consider criteria such as whether your intention was to visit abroad only temporarily, whether you maintained U.S. family and community ties, maintained U.S employment, filed U.S. income taxes as a resident, or otherwise established your intention to return to the United States as your permanent home.

“Other factors that may be considered include whether you maintained a U.S. mailing address, kept U.S. bank accounts and a valid U.S. driver’s license, own property or run a business in the United States, or any other evidence that supports the temporary nature of your absence.”

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