So I googled for the US official site to do it online. After filtering out the other sites that had sprung up offering to help you fill out the form online for a fee, I opened up an account with the official one and pulled up the form.
First annoying thing, the site would log you out after 20 minutes. Then when you logged back in it would send you a temporary secondary password to allow you get back in to your form. Fortunately you could at least save your progress on the form. The form itself was probably a ten minute job to fill out if you knew all the right answers. Unfortunately I found some cryptic ones and spent several hours googling just a few questions to get the answers right first time.
Without going into detail I finally realized the form was generic, catering for people who were here applying for their card the first time. as well as renewing it after ten years. This made all the difference and the few questions I procrastinated over answering were a lot easier to put in the correct response.
After doing that I uploaded a scan of my Drivers License and paid the $450.00 fee for the processing and demographics that would need to be done again (fingerprinting and new photo)
About a week later I got a receipt for my payment and a week after that I got an appointment two weeks hence, up in central Houston.
I had the address, a Garmin Sat Nav device and a friend who knew Houston well to drive me up there. Well, you would think it would be clearly signposted at the side of the road or plastered on a big building. Nope, we passed where it should have been twice before finally asking at a bank. Oh, they said it 's in a row of shops set back a little from the road. A row of shops? Sure enough it was next to a furniture store. Walked in, the place was empty of people waiting, most suprised. a happy smiling face (unstressed) said, hi, can I help you, laughed and joked with us and got me to fill out a further brief form, even helped me with it, the seating for 90 people remained empty.
So, within a few minutes I was handed over to a much more sombre assistant who got hold of my hands and proceeded to fingerprint them multipule times on his scanner. Then he took a photo and put a sticker on my existing card which said it was extended for 9 months. When will I get my new one I asked. Within 9 months he said. Well, the whole thing was over, in and out in seven minutes. Courteous enough staff, fast and efficent
However, during the time I was being done, the lady from the desk was doing another guy opposite me. He said, why are you so quiet. She said oh, we are having a deliberate lull period. We go back to normal starting next week where we will be processing between 300-350 people a day!
I'm glad I got in when I did!