US Immigration News

What Kind of Challenges Does an Expired Green Card Create?

4.5 minute read
"It is easy to forget to renew your Green Card from time to time since you don’t use it every day or keep it on you all the time. However, US law requires you to carry your Green Card at all times but that rarely happens."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jul 8, 2021
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It is easy to forget to renew your Green Card from time to time since you don’t use it every day or keep it on you all the time. However, US law requires you to carry your Green Card at all times but that rarely happens. 

It is natural to avoid renewing your card since the process is lengthy and takes too much time. It is also expensive to renew your card. Currently, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) charges $450 to renew your Green Card. However, an expired Green Card will cost you a lot more than money.

No other document can replace the “Green Card”, your official US Permanent Resident Card. That is why you need to have it. Losing your Green Card does not mean you lose your status as a permanent resident. 

What Challenges Arise From an Expired Green Card?

An expired Green Card can cause the following challenges: 

Reentering the US: 

If you have been traveling outside the US and wish to return, then it can be a lot of hassle without a valid Green Card. You require proof of permanent residency before boarding a plane or a ship and at the Port of Entry. An expired Green Card is not considered proof of permanent residence. Therefore, you can expect a delay and an expensive re-entry fee. It is up to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials to determine whether you will be allowed to enter the US or not.

Obtaining a Professional License: 

If you are self-employed, then you will be required to obtain state-mandated licenses to practice your profession. It is necessary to have a valid Green Card to obtain such licenses. You could require a license if you are in real estate, insurance agent, broker, healthcare, law and other professions. You can not practice your profession without a license therefore it is vital to have a valid Green Card. 

Difficult to Get a Job: 

While hiring an immigrant, US-based employers are required to submit Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for each new foreign employee. This is to verify your authorization to work in the US. A valid Green Card satisfies the authorization requirements. According to the I-9 instructions, a new employee must complete and sign the form on the first day of employment. Therefore, an employer will be unable to hire you without a valid Green Card. You can get a temporary I-551 stamp on your foreign passport, but even that is only valid for 1 year. However, the process to obtain the stamp is very lengthy and your new employer might not be ready to wait. It is best to apply for the renewal of your Green Card.

Renewing a Driver’s License: 

As an immigrant, you require proof of residency and proof of legal presence to renew your driver’s license in most US states. A Green Card is used as proof for both. Therefore, you must renew your Green Card to renew your driver’s license. Based on your state’s guidelines, you may be allowed to use the receipt letter or I-551 stamp.

Buying a House: 

You can get mortgages to buy a house the same as a US citizen if you have a valid Green Card. However, the mortgage lenders will not accept an expired Green Card. Therefore, it is best to apply on time to renew your Green Card if you plan to buy a house.

What Is the Penalty for an Expired Green Card?

There are no penalties or fines for an expired Green Card. However, you must pay a certain fee to renew your Green Card. Not renewing your Green Card will result in trouble while traveling, getting a new job, renewing your driver's license or other activities that require you to present proof of your permanent residency. 

How to Renew a Green Card?

It takes up to 10-12 months to renew a Green Card. It is recommended to apply at least 6 months before your expiration date.

To renew your Green Card, you must file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

Will You Be Deported If Your Green Card Expires?

An expired Green Card does not affect your status as a permanent resident. Therefore, you are not deportable just because your Green Card expired. However, an expired Green Card can get you into a lot of legal complications. This is why it is recommended for Green Card holders to apply for US citizenship if they meet the eligibility requirements for the naturalization process. This saves you from worrying about renewing your Green Card again and paying the expensive fee every time.

What Are Green Cards With No Expiration Dates?

The USCIS has discussed implementing a rule that will require permanent residents to replace their Green Card that will have no expiration date. However, it has not been implemented. Your Green Card is valid for a maximum period of 10 years.

What Are Conditional Green Cards?

Conditional Green Cards are issued to spouses of US citizens or permanent residents. They are valid only for 2 years and renewing them requires you to submit Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. This form must be filed within 90 days before your Green Card’s expiration date. If you gained permanent residency through financial investment in the US, then you are required to use Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. 

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