As a permanent resident of the United States, a green card is a beneficial and legally required document. Many people who obtain green cards may think that once they have the document they are set for extended periods. However, green cards do expire, and overstaying can bring serious consequences when they do.
The green card renewal process can take a few months to complete, but it is highly worth being on top of the expiration date. This article will delve into green card renewal and what happens if you have an expired green card.
What Is a Green Card?
A green card allows individuals to reside in the United States and earn a living legally. A green card gives immigrants the chance to receive many of the benefits a citizen of the country does; however, green card holders are ultimately not considered citizens. This card offers proof that permanent resident status has been obtained.
Generally, there are several ways in which an individual can become a green card holder. These various ways include:
- Consular processing: This process is one of the few ways to obtain a green card. However, consular processing is only available for those applying for green cards outside the United States. All the paperwork, fees, and interviews will be completed in a consular office in the individual’s respective country.
- Adjustment of status: Similar to the process above, adjustment of status can be completed for those already living in the United States. The green card application can be completed while in the U.S. and doesn’t require you to leave the country and re-enter.
- Filing as a spouse to a U.S. citizen: In most cases, marrying a country citizen will allow you to apply for a green card. However, this marriage must be legitimate, and the green card process will require money, time, and countless pieces of evidence to grant you a green card.
- Studying in the United States: For students that are attending universities, student visas are an option. If you graduate and wish to stay in the country and work, you can carry out the process and apply for a green card. This process is tricky and lengthy, but if completed, it will bring about many benefits.
Obtaining a green card as an immigrant isn’t a walk in the park. Some countless forms and documents must be completed and submitted in order to carry out the process. However, before beginning the application process, one must check eligibility.
Some of the ways you can determine eligibility can be thorough:
- Family ties
- Special immigrant visas
- Refugee status
What Happens When My Green Card Expires?
If you find yourself asking the question, do green cards expire, the answer is simple. Yes, green cards can expire. But when do green cards expire? Typically, your green card will last for a total of 10 years before needing to be renewed.
If your green card expires and you don’t realize it, you can get an expired green card extension. This is a good extension to get, especially if your green card expires and you need to travel. You can simply get a green card expiration date extension and file for green card renewal.
You should begin the green renewal process a year before your green card expires. This way, you will be able to ensure a speedy renewal with the least amount of legal repercussions or issues.
Significant Problems You Can Face With an Expired Green Card
Although there are no penalties or fines associated with expired green cards, there are problems that one can face. When you have an expired green card, you will encounter issues with:
- Renewing a driver’s license: In various states, you must show proof of residency to obtain a driver’s license. You won’t be able to drive legally without a valid green card.
- Traveling outside the country and re-entering the county: This is the biggest problem many will face with an expired green card. In many cases, you will not be able to board a flight back into the U.S.; if you do, you could be denied re-entry at the border.
- Acquiring property: If you wish to purchase a home or obtain property, you will be denied due to the inability to show permanent residence.
- Seeking employment: You will also face issues with legally working in the U.S. because an I-9 form is required by all employers when hiring new employees. Ultimately, showing legal residence without a valid green card can be an issue. The only way apart from green card renewal could be by acquiring an I-155 stamp showing that you have an additional year of the validity of your green card.
How to Renew an Expired Green Card
If you have an expired green card, you may be wondering what to do. The green card renewal process is incredibly straightforward. You can follow the steps below:
- Complete the green card renewal application: This application can be completed online or in person and mailed to USCIS. The form needed for this application is Form I-90.
- Submitting supporting documents: generally, you will need only to provide proof of your expired, or soon-to-expire, green card.
- Paying the necessary fees: The typical cost to renew your green card totals around $540. This includes the biometrics fee, which on its own costs $85.
- Submitting the application and waiting for an updated green card: After submitting your renewal application, you will receive a new green card with another ten-year validity period.
What Next After Submitting a Request to Renew My Green Card?
Upon submitting your request, you will either be approved or denied. If your green card renewal is approved, you will receive your updated green card shortly after filing. As stated above, your updated green card will last another ten years before needing to be renewed.
If your green card renewal was denied, there are a few options available. When receiving your denial, you will also receive a letter explaining why it was dismissed. From here, you can take legal action. Two ways in which you can do so include:
- Submitting a motion: In this instance, you can submit a motion to USCIS, asking them to reconsider their decision. You will need to add any new information that can change the outcome of the case.
- Going to court: Depending on the complexity of your case, you may need to seek legal assistance. Your lawyer will then be able to assist you with your case.
The appeal process can take around 45 days. USCIS will either grant your request and approve your green card or turn your case over to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). If this is the outcome, a further review can take up to six months.
What Is a Green Card Extension?
A green card extension is obtained by filing Form I-797 and can extend your green card up to 12 months from its original expiration date. This form is known as a green card extension form. However, it’s important to note that a green card extension is only a sticker that is obtained to extend the expiration date for a short amount of time.
If you wish to renew your green card, you must follow the above process.
FAQs on Expired Green Card
Learn more about green card expirations, renewals, deportation, and what you can do to help your case with answers to these frequently asked questions.
1. My Green Card Expired, and I Need to Travel—What Can I Do?
The question of whether or not you can travel with an expired green card is a common one. If your green card has expired, you can, in fact, travel. However, you will face difficulty re-entering the United States.
Traveling with an expired green card is considered to be risky. Some airlines won’t allow you to board a flight back into the country with an expired green card. In order to re-enter, you will need to provide proof of lawful permanent residence, which won’t include your expired green card.
In many cases, this will elongate your re-entry and require you to pay high fines. However, it’s also a possibility that customs won’t let you re-enter the country with an expired green card. On the other hand, if you are wondering if you can travel with an expired green card and extension letter, the answer is yes.
You can obtain a 24-month extension for your green card. Therefore, if this is presented while traveling in and out of the United States, you won’t struggle to re-enter the country.
2. Am I Able to Work With an Expired Green Card?
If you are wondering if you can still work with an expired green card, it’s a tricky answer. You will have trouble finding work and applying for jobs with an expired green card simply because your green card is necessary for legally working in the U.S.
When you obtain a job, your employer will need to file an I-9 form. This form is used to verify the employee’s identity and ability to work legally in the United States. However, in some cases, you are able to use your foreign passport to get a job, but only if you have a valid I-551 stamp.
This stamp can be obtained from USCIS, but appointments for this stamp can take weeks. Additionally, after getting this stamp, it is only valid for a year. It’s recommended that you renew your green card before the expiration date of the stamp.
3. What Happens if My Green Card Expired a Few Years Ago?
If your green card expires, you will simply need to renew it as soon as possible. Luckily, USCIS doesn’t impose high fines or penalties. For instance, If your green card expired five years ago, you are still able to renew it. This must be done before leaving the country because, as previously mentioned above, problems can arise upon re-entry.
4. Can You Be Deported Because of an Expired Green Card?
No, you will not be deported due to an expired green card. Technically, because your permanent residence status isn’t linked directly to your green card, you won’t be deported if your green card expires. The only way to lose your residence status in the United States is if you leave and abandon your permanent residence.
5. My Green Card Doesn’t Have an Expiration Date—What Does This Mean?
Green cards don’t always contain an expiration date. However, in all cases, your green card will last for a total of 10 years. If you have been granted a conditional green card, this will last for only two years.
Don’t Wait Any Longer. Get Your Green Card Renewed Today!
Renewing a green card is easy. But we understand that sometimes, the unexpected can happen, leaving you with questions. Luckily, ImmigrationDirect is here to help with anything you may need. Don’t let the fear of the process keep you from renewing your green card on time.
Contact us today if you have any further questions or wish to utilize our modern immigration software. No matter the situation, we will do our best to assist you and make the green card renewal process as seamless as it can be.