A valid and unexpired green card ensures that a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) is legally able to work and reside in the United States during the duration of their status.
But what happens when the green card becomes expired? Is it necessary for the green card to be renewed? We’ll thoroughly discuss the important and relevant matters pertaining to an expired green card and the green card renewal process below.
It may be a common perception among many people that once a green card is issued, there exists no need for its renewal. That is because, in the 70’s and 80’s, the U.S. government issued green cards that did not have an expiration date listed on them. However, today, the modern green cards issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lists an expiration date and require a mandatory renewal before the green card approaches the date of expiration.
- What is a Green Card?
A Green Card legally permits overseas citizens to become Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States. Additionally, these residents have the freedom to legally reside and work anywhere in the country. Addedly, three to five years after becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident, those with green cards may become eligible to apply for Naturalization, and if approved, will become citizens of the United States.
- Types of Green Card
A Green Card is received through one of several categories depending upon the nature of the immigrant’s migration interest. The major types of Green Cards are as follows:
- Green Card for Employment-Based Immigration
- Green Card for Family-Based Immigration
- Green Card for Investors and Entrepreneurs
- Green Card for Victims of Abuse (VAWA)
- Valid Green Card
A green card is an important legal document that verifies a permanent resident’s ability to lawfully work and reside in the U.S. Furthermore, U.S. immigration laws also advise that Lawful Permanent Residents always have a valid and unexpired green card with them.
More specifically, Section 264(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) also provides that:
“Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection. “
- Expired Green Card?
While many people are still under the impression that green cards are not expirable, thus, believing its validity to be for a lifetime– a modern-day green card expires after ten years. As such, it becomes mandatory for Lawful Permanent Residents to apply for a renewal of their 10-year green card to prevent potential immigration consequences.
However, the USCIS does not consider holding an expired green card to be a serious or criminal offense. Failure of permanent residents to carry a valid and unexpired green card may render them guilty of a misdemeanor, and further, may face a fine of up to $100 and/or jail time up to 30 days.
Addedly, Lawful Permanent Residents should be mindful when submitting their green card renewal application if they have criminal backgrounds or other severe violations of the law on their record, as they may wind up facing deportation and removal proceedings before an immigration judge, and/or could possibly be denied a renewal of their green card.
- Possible Issues you may encounter with an Expired Green Card
While in some cases, an expired green card may not lead to severe consequences, there are common hurdles that may be experienced.
For example, having an Expired Green Card may affect the following:
- Renewal of your Driver’s License
- Seeking U.S. Employment
- Acquiring Property
- Traveling outside of the U.S.
- Returning to the U.S. from international travel
It is always recommended to apply for a green card renewal at least six months prior to its expiry to avoid potential obstacles.
- Expired Green Card Renewal Process
Once your green card expiration date is approaching, you can apply for an expired green card renewal to have the green card’s expiration date extended. The same is true even if your green card has already expired and you are unaware of it. Keeping track of your green card validity is an important task, especially if you need to travel and your green card is soon to expire.
- Applying for Renewal of Green Card
Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S. can apply for the green card renewal if their:
- Green Card is expired or will expire in the coming six months
- You received approval for a green card, but you never received the card from USCIS
- The current Green Card has been damaged, stolen, or lost
- You have legally changed your name or other biographical details since last receiving your original Green Card
- You received your approved Green Card in the mail, but the listed information is incorrect
Additionally, other circumstances may arise which could possibly warrant applying for a Green Card Renewal, depending on the applicant and their specific matter.
- How Can Your Expired Green Card Be Renewed?
If you fall into one of the eligible categories for a green card renewal, then you may apply for the process by submitting your application to the USCIS:
There are two approaches through which you can file this application:
The steps involved in USCIS’s green card renewal process include the following:
- Step-1: Apply for Form I-90
You must fill out Form I-90, and any other applicable form(s), for the green card renewal application or to replace your current Permanent Resident Card.
- Step-2: Gathering Supporting Documents
After finishing your green card renewal application, you must gather all necessary supporting documentation. Generally speaking, a copy of your most recent green card, passport-sized photos, and USCIS filing fee(s) are to be included when renewing an expired, or soon-to-expire, green card.
- Step-3: Paying I-90 Renewal Fee
Next, you are required to pay the I-90 renewal fee. The current fee for a green card renewal application is $455; in addition to that, an $85 biometric services fee may also be charged depending on your case. Your green card renewal fee payment may be made by money order, personal check, or cashier’s check. You may also make your payment via credit card by completing the appropriate card authorization form as provided by the USCIS.
Note, however, that applicants who cannot pay the green card renewal application fees due to financial constraints or hardships may be eligible for a fee waiver.
- Step-4: Submitting the Application
After submitting your application, the USCIS will process your request. In some cases, it may take up to a year for USCIS to make a decision on your green card renewal application. If your application is approved, a green card with a ten-year validity period will be issued to you.
- Our Consultation
The green card renewal process seems relatively easy, but in some cases, a green card renewal application may become complex—criminal history, status violations, and even minor application mistakes or lack of supporting documents can result in a delay or denial of your application.
While it is not mandatory, it is always highly recommended to hire a knowledgeable Immigration Attorney to assist you with the preparation of your immigration application(s). A reputable Immigration Law Firm, such as the Law Office of Olivia C Cummings, will have an experienced attorney review your entire case to determine what process is best for you moving forward. A case review by an Immigration Attorney will help to weed out any possible issues that may arise in an attempt to eliminate the possibility of an application denial, or worse, an immigrant being placed into deportation and removal proceedings.
If you require assistance with scheduling, you may contact our office today via phone at (772)236-0148 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit our website at www.cummingslawpractice.com.
Attention: This article was written to provide general information, which should not be construed as legal advice. If you are seeking advice on a specific legal matter, you are encouraged to contact our law firm directly and schedule a consultation with our Immigration Attorney for a thorough review of your case.