Are you a lawful permanent resident in the United States who wants to transition to US citizenship? Maybe you meet the eligibility criteria to apply for US citizenship. But what to do if your Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) has expired? Maybe you have heard that you can not apply for citizenship before renewing your Green Card but the cost of doing both is too much!
Cost is a major barrier for many immigrants in the US who want to apply for US citizenship. Currently, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) charges a fee of $540 to renew a Green Card and $725 to apply for naturalization. Doing both will cost you $1265 in filing fees only!
However, what most people don’t know is that you do not need to renew your Green Card to apply for US citizenship.
How to Apply for US Citizenship with an Expired Green Card
Your Green Card expiring does not mean the loss of your status as a permanent resident. A Green Card is just physical proof of your permanent residence status.
Therefore, it is possible to apply for US citizenship with an expired Green Card since your permanent residence is still valid. Hundreds of applicants file the N-400, Application for Naturalization, every day with an expiring or expired Green Card.
What to Do If Your Green Card Is Lost or Stolen?
The USCIS takes stronger objection to applicants applying for naturalization with a lost or stolen Green Card. The naturalization process requires you to submit the Green Card at the Oath Ceremony to receive the Certificate of Naturalization. Having your Green Card lost, stolen or damaged can mean trouble.
The USCIS, therefore, recommends such applicants to replace their Green Card by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. However, filing Form N-400 with a lost, stolen or damaged Green Card does not mean your application will be denied.
If you apply to replace your Green Card, then you will be required to wait for 10 to 12 months while your application is processed. However, you will receive a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, within 2 months of filing to replace your Green Card. This Notice of Action is a receipt letter that can be used to file for naturalization.