Applying for legal permanent residency can be a long and complicated process. Now that you have received your approval notice, you undoubtedly are looking forward to holding your green card in your hands. You even may want to frame it and hang it on your wall. You should not do that, however.
Your green card is the clearest proof of your legal permanent residency, so you may need it when you travel, apply for jobs or exercise other rights. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you must keep it with you at all times. You should do a couple of other things with the card, too.
Closely inspect the card
When your new card arrives, you should take a very close look at it. During your visual inspection, be sure your name, birthdate, alien registration number and other details are correct. If there is an error on your card, you likely need to file a form to request a corrected replacement.
Record the expiration date
If you are a conditional resident, your green card is apt to expire in two years. Before that happens, you must file a petition to remove the conditions on your residence. Because you do not want to forget to file the form, you should record the expiration date and set a reminder to let you know when to take action.
On the other hand, your green card might not expire for up to 10 years, even though your permanent residency does not expire. Like with a two-year card, you should file for a new card shortly before your current one expires. Therefore, you should either memorize your card’s expiration date or come up with a way to remind yourself to apply for a new one.
Ultimately, by safeguarding your card and taking it out only when necessary, you can avoid having to apply for a replacement card prematurely.