Interviewer: You mentioned the green card exists even though status doesn’t expire. The person does have to renew the card every ten years. Am I correct on that?
Jeanne Morales: Correct.
Interviewer: When it expires, how long do they have to renew it?
Jeanne Morales: They’re supposed to renew it before it expires. They can submit the paperwork 90 days before it expires.
Interviewer: How long does the renewal process take?
Jeanne Morales: With most things that we submit to the government, there’s no firm timeline. There’s a huge demand for these types of things, depending on which service center. The government splits the work between different centers in the United States. They all have different processing times. The only thing that does have a deadline is a work permit. Those have to be processed in 90 days. Other than that, the processing can take 90 days to nine months. It depends on what’s going on with the backlog. If there’s anything wrong with your situation, if since the last time you renewed your green card, you’ve gotten a criminal record or something like that, will cause a delay for sure. Sometimes the delay is just a backlog.
Interviewer: Does a person have to submit to any sort of tests, like medical tests?
Jeanne Morales: To get the initial green card you, as part of the process, you’ll have to get an immigrant physical. There are two main goals in requiring the immigrant physical. 1) Is to make sure you have all necessary inoculations and you are not currently contagious with something like tuberculosis or things like that. You only have to do complete the physical once, when you first get your green card. 2) As part of the initial process, the person sponsoring you has to file some paperwork showing that the household has sufficient income to insure that you won’t become a public charge. There are documents about income and tax returns that your sponsor must file in order to prove to the government that you’re not going to enter the United States, then immediately go on welfare.