My Green Card Expired, What Do I Need to Know?
June 20th, 2023
Your permanent resident card — commonly referred to as a “green card” — is the document that shows you are permitted to legally live and work in the United States. Critically, an expired green card can have costly implications for your life and livelihood. Your ability to present verifiable proof of your permanent resident status is crucial when it comes to employment, traveling outside the U.S., securing a mortgage, obtaining a driver’s license, and even applying for naturalization. If your green card expired, or will be expiring soon, the following explains what you need to know.
Do Green Cards Expire?
The expiration date of a green card can be found on the front side of the card that displays your personal information. Significantly, if there is no expiration date on your documentation, you have a very old version of the green card that is no longer valid. In such cases, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends you apply to renew the card to avoid any potential issues that could arise.
It’s important to understand that there are two different types of green cards —the green card that is only valid for two years and the one that is valid for 10 years. The type of green card you have will dictate when you need to renew it, if you need to submit additional documentation along with your application, or most important of all, if your legal status is terminated upon expiration.
What Happens When a Two-Year Green Card Expires?
For those who have been granted conditional permanent resident status, a green card is only valid for two years. If you are a conditional resident, you cannot renew your green card. In these cases, you must file a Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence within 90 days prior to the expiration of the green card. There are different bases to apply for the removal of the conditions as specified on Form I-751 Part 3: Basis For Petition. To have the conditional permanent resident status removed, you would typically file a petition jointly with your spouse and provide evidence that you married in good faith. However, in some cases, you may be able to request a waiver if you are unable to file a joint petition due to divorce, your spouse’s passing, domestic abuse, or extreme hardship.
If your petition is approved, you will receive a permanent green card. On the other hand, if the petition is denied, you will be considered “out of status” and become removable from the U.S.
What Problems Can You Face if Your 10-Year Green Card Expired?
An expired green card does not change your lawful status as a permanent resident, if you simply fail to renew it. However, if your green card expired, it’s vital to have it renewed to avoid facing serious consequences — both professionally, financially, and in your everyday life. Not having a valid green card can make various aspects of your life much more complicated, including the following:
- Finding employment
- Traveling abroad
- Reentering the United States
- Purchasing a home
- Obtaining a professional license
When it comes to employment, an employer is required to have each new employee complete a Form I-9 – Employment Eligibility Verification. This is used to verify whether you can legally work in the U.S. and must be made available for inspection upon request by an authorized government officer. An employer cannot accept an expired green card. If your career requires a professional license, it’s imperative that you do not let your green card expire so that you will be able to renew it at the required intervals.
Unexpired proof of permanent residency is required to reenter the U.S. if you have traveled abroad. If you applied for a renewal timely, you will receive a receipt that will extend the validity of your green card. Generally, you may be able to travel overseas by presenting your receipt, the expired green card and your original valid passport (your nationality).
As a general rule, a valid green card is also required to obtain a mortgage. Lenders require that you provide proof of permanent residency when you obtain a mortgage or refinance a home loan. Additionally, to be eligible for a standard driver’s license in some states, you will need to present valid and verifiable immigration documentation and will not be able to obtain one with an expired green card. But in other jurisdictions, you are able to apply and obtain a driver’s license regardless of your immigration status. As of July 1, 2023, all eligible Massachusetts residents will be able to apply for a standard driver’s license, regardless of immigration status.
Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney
If you are facing a green card issue, it’s important to have an experienced attorney by your side who can guide you through the U.S. immigration system. Located in Needham, Massachusetts, Krispin Law assists individuals and their families nationwide and internationally with a wide variety of immigration issues, including green card renewals. To learn more about how our law firm can help you and your family with your immigration needs, we invite you to contact Krispin Law to schedule a consultation by calling (617) 421-9090. We offer both in-person and virtual consultations for your convenience.
Categories: Immigration Law