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Does a Lawful Permanent Resident Card Expire?
Expiry of Green Cards
Short answer: yes. Green cards do expire. Modern permanent resident cards expire after about ten years. You can fill out Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, to replace or renew them. You can begin filing your renewal application within six months of your cards’ expiration.
An expired permanent resident card creates many problems for the green card holder. Unfortunately, the expiry seems to slip the minds of many people, and their expired green cards bring them trouble with their employment or re-entry into the US.
Be sure to remember when your green card is about to expire. You must replace some of the older versions of green cards with the newer ones. Check that the corners of your card say “I-551.” The first versions of Form I-551 do not have printed expiration dates, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) still deems them valid. Conditional green cards have a much shorter validity period and should take note of this.
If you have any questions about renewing or replacing your green card, you can reach out to us! Our experienced North Carolina & California Immigration lawyer can help you with all your immigration concerns. Call us now to schedule a consultation.
Why Renew Your Green Card?
Obtaining a Professional License
In some occupations, keeping a job with an expired green card may be impossible. Before giving you a professional license, most states need you to have a valid green card. Professional licenses are required for numerous occupations, such as law, healthcare, insurance, and real estate, among countless others. Without a professional license, you cannot practice. Be sure to prevent the expiration of your card.
Your employers have to submit a Form I-9 for each of their new hires. This form is for verifying your identity and your permission to work inside the United States. Lawful permanent residents usually have to present a green card as required documentation. You’ll have to sign the I-9 on the first day of your employment, so it can be troublesome if your permanent resident card has expired.
If you cannot provide a valid green card, you can use a foreign passport with an I-551 stamp as a valid document. If you don’t have this stamp already, you’d have to book an appointment at a local USCIS office. However, this can be time-consuming. Often, you’ll have to wait for weeks for your USCIS appointment, and your employer may not be willing to wait that long for you.
You Can’t Renew a Driver’s License with an Expired Card
Before getting a driver’s license, you’ll have to prove legal presence and proof that you reside in the country. Your green card is proof that you are a lawful permanent resident. It takes months to complete your green card renewal, meaning it will be months before you can legally get behind the wheel of your car.
You can ask the DMV what you need to prove your legal presence. There may be other documents that will be enough to renew your driver’s license and regain your driving privileges.
Buying a House
One of the benefits of being a permanent resident is that you enjoy the same home mortgages available to US citizens. If you’re applying for a loan, you have to show your lawful permanent resident status (LPR) and your Social Security Number.
Each lender will have different requirements, but you can reasonably expect them to require a valid green card. Renewing a green card can take ten to twelve months. If you’re thinking about buying a home, check the expiration of your green card first. Our experienced Orange County immigration lawyers can help you through the green card application process. Call us now for more information!
Reenter the US with No Problems
It can be risky to travel to a foreign country when your green card is about to expire. You may not be able to board a plane back to your home country in the first place if the airlines see that your permanent resident card has expired.
Moreover, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) needs you to provide proof of your immigration status as a lawful permanent resident before they can let you reenter the United States. This can cause a long delay and needlessly expensive fees. At worst, it may even bar you from reentering.
The CBP officer’s discretion is the basis for your reentry into the US and seeing your family again. Don’t take that risk; renew your green card ASAP.
If Your Green Card Expires Outside the US
If this happens to you, don’t panic. Hundreds of travelers fail to show a valid green card due to loss, theft, or damage every year. If the airline doesn’t let you board with an expired LPR card, you’ll need to head to the nearest US consulate or embassy and fill out Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation). This process takes around seven to fourteen days. Don’t forget to renew your green card once you’re back in the United States.
If Your Green Card Expires Inside the US
If your green card has expired and you need to travel overseas, there is a quick way to quickly obtain proof of permanent resident status. Begin by filing Form I-90, Green Card Renewal Application, as soon as possible. If your green card expires during the last year or is about to expire, USCIS can extend your green card’s validity period with a receipt letter.
This letter, technically known as Form I-797C Notice of Action, is sent within the first few weeks of the I-90 processing time frame. Combine the letter with the expired green card. They are legitimate proof of your permanent residency for another year while USCIS processes your new green card.
If you need help with the renewal process and USCIS forms, don’t hesitate to ask our knowledgeable North Carolina & California immigration attorneys for help.
Deportation and Expired Green Cards
The expiration of your green card does not change your permanent residence. While it can make your life more difficult, an expired green card does not make you deportable or removable. The immigration officials will deport you for certain offenses, but not because you forgot the expiration date of your permanent resident card.
If you do not want to deal with the hassles of renewing a green card, consider becoming a US citizen. If you complete the naturalization process, you can travel all you want with a US passport. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about all the renewal processes, re-entry permits, and all other associated forms!
If you need to weigh the pros and cons of US citizenship, talk to our skilled North Carolina & California immigration attorneys. Call our law office now for more information. You can even consult about other immigration law concerns like the abandonment of your permanent residence, removal proceedings, or the path to a United States citizenship.
Talk to an Immigration Lawyer Today!
Don’t wait for an expired green card to get you in trouble. Take steps today to renew your green card application, so you, your sons, and your daughters can continue to enjoy the benefits of permanent residency.
Our immigration attorneys at Diener Law have extensive experience dealing with immigration issues and processes such as consular processing, adjustment of status, and advance parole. The services of a knowledgeable immigration attorney are invaluable if you don’t want to double the wait from the notorious processing times due to a rejected application.
What are you waiting for? Call our North Carolina & California immigration law firm today to schedule a consultation!