USA and the UK
What Happens When a Green Card Expires?
Green Cards are Permanent Resident Cards that serve as proof of an individual’s right to reside in the US. Once they have been assigned, they last for a total of 10 years. Conditional Green Cards last just 2 years.
All Green Cards obtained after the 1980s will have an expiration date on them, so card holders are encouraged to apply for a new Green Card around 6 months before the date that is shown on their current card.
However, there are many instances of a Green Card expiring without the card holder’s knowledge. Though the individual will still be able to remain in the US, they lose certain privileges that are afforded to individuals with valid Green Cards.
Anyone with an expired conditional Green Card will face deportation, as they are no longer accepted as residents of the US when they do not possess a Green Card.
- What Happens When a Green Card Expires?
- Can I Apply For Citizenship With an Expired Green Card?
- How to Apply For US Citizenship With an Expired Green Card
- Can I Apply For US Citizenship With a Conditional Green Card?
- What If Green Card Expired While Waiting For Citizenship?
- Can I Apply For Citizenship While Waiting For My Green Card Renewal?
- What Happens if a Green Card is Lost Or Stolen?
- What is the US Naturalization Process?
- Reasons to Renew a Green Card
- How to Renew a Green Card
- How can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Apply For Citizenship With an Expired Green Card?
It is preferable for US citizenship applicants to hold a valid Green Card, so we recommend that applicants apply for renewal before pursuing naturalization. Either way, renewal will be demanded before citizenship is offered, so it is often much more efficient for an applicant to enter the citizenship process with a valid Green Card.
The Green Card serves as evidence for various aspects of the US citizenship application. For example, it is proof that an individual has the right to reside in the US, hold a US driver’s license, re-enter the US after traveling, and work in the US. Without a Green Card, additional evidence would be required, which can add time to the citizenship application process.
It is possible to apply for US citizenship with an expired Green Card. Applicants who choose to do this should meet with an immigration lawyer to ensure they understand the process of becoming a US citizen without a valid Green Card. Contact IAS on +1 844 290 6312 to discover what your rights are.
How to Apply For US Citizenship With an Expired Green Card
Individuals with an expired Green Card can apply for US citizenship on the USCIS website by submitting the Form N-400 Application for Naturalization. As the Green Card cannot be provided as proof of the immigrant’s rights, they must find other evidence, such as proof of current marital status and history of residence in the US (including previous addresses).
Alternatively, it is possible to apply for Green Card renewal, and subsequently apply for citizenship. Applicants who choose to do this must include a Notice of Action in their citizenship application, which will be sent out after the Green Card renewal is requested.
Can I Apply For US Citizenship With a Conditional Green Card?
Conditional permanent residents are eligible to apply for naturalization after living in the US for five years. The conditional Green Card can be presented as proof of US residence.
However, most conditional Green Cards expire after 2 years, and cannot be renewed. This means individuals with this card must leave the US when the residency period is over, and they cannot apply for naturalization.
What If Green Card Expired While Waiting For Citizenship?
Applicants whose Green Card expires during the citizenship process must apply for renewal in the standard way — by submitting the online form I-90.
It is possible to avoid this obstacle by submitting a renewal application before applying for naturalization.
Can I Apply For Citizenship While Waiting For My Green Card Renewal?
If the applicant is mindful of the expiry date on their Green Card, they can plan ahead and renew the Green Card before they pursue the naturalization process. The USCIS will take this into consideration when assessing the application, so there is more chance of approval for applicants who are proactive about their Green Card renewal.
What Happens if a Green Card is Lost Or Stolen?
If a Green Card is lost or stolen, the same renewal process must be pursued. However, additional documentation is often required, due to the different circumstances.
In the event that the Green Card holder still has access to their card, they must provide this when submitting the application.
Alternatively, applicants can attach government-issued forms of identity, such as their passport, driver’s license, or military ID. They must also provide a photo, a signature, their name and birthdate.
What is the US Naturalization Process?
Naturalization is when an immigrant becomes a US citizen. In order to do this, they must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have ‘good moral character’
- Register for military service (if applicable)
- Have proof of permanent residency lasting 5 years or longer
- Possess English language proficiency
- Demonstrate a good knowledge and understanding of US history and government
- Swear an oath to the United States
The naturalization process starts when an individual submits the N-400 form on the USCIS website, or by mail. They are then invited to attend a biometrics appointment at their local USCIS office.
A naturalization interview will be arranged after this, which consists of a civics test and an English language test.
There is an Oath of Allegiance ceremony. Upon completion of this ceremony, the applicant is classed as an official US citizen, and they no longer need their Green Card to live and work in the country.
Reasons to Renew a Green Card
Though people can get by in the US with an expired Green Card, they may have to compromise their quality of life. It is much harder to find employment without a valid Green Card. Additionally, an employee’s job security can be threatened even when they are not looking for a new job, as their employer is responsible for checking that their staff are eligible to work in the US.
This could leave people unemployed for long stretches of time, which comes with the risk of getting into debt, experiencing poverty and missing out on job opportunities that could have developed the individual’s career.
Traveling abroad is also much more risky with an expired Green Card, as it is likely that the individual will not be permitted to re-enter the US. This can lead to families being separated or jobs being lost.
Some people with expired Green Cards lose their driving privileges until their card is renewed. This could affect their ability to commute to work, drop their children off at school and visit family in different towns.
The US citizenship process can be much more complicated when the applicant is not able to present a valid Green Card to USCIS.
How to Renew a Green Card
Expired Green Cards must be renewed on the USCIS site via Form I-90. The application involves uploading relevant evidence including a copy of the applicant’s current Green Card.
It is also possible to renew Green Cards by mail. The Form I-90, including photocopies of required documents, can be sent to P.O. Box 10751. Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1075. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The cost of renewing a Green Card in the US is $540. This price is made up of an $85 biometrics appointment and a $455 filing fee.
It can take 1-12 months to renew a Green Card, which is why it is recommended to start the process at least 6 months before the expiry date. However, if an applicant is in urgent need of a Green Card, they can make a request for expedited renewal processing.
Please reach out to an IAS lawyer on +1 844 290 6312 for more information on how to access an expedited Green Card renewal. We can help you to obtain a new Green Card as quickly as possible.
The process of applying for US citizenship is not easy. There is plenty of scope for error, which could lead to a rejected application. Fortunately, our immigration lawyers are familiar with all of the potential reasons for rejection.
If they believe your US citizenship and/or Green Card renewal application will be rejected due to ineligibility, they will work with you to find another way to stay in the US legally.
Eligible candidates will receive support in the US naturalization application process. Rather than spending hours attempting to figure out the application, you can trust our lawyers to offer expert advice on how to tackle each section.
Last modified on May 19th, 2023 at 8:37 am
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It is recommended to carry your Green Card with you at all times, as there is a chance that you will be asked to present it to authorities. However, many people do not carry their Green Card with them, and it is unlikely that they will ever be disciplined for this.
It is much safer to hold a valid Green Card as someone who is working in the US. Various risks, including unemployment, can arise from not renewing a Green Card.
That being said, there is no official rule stating individuals with expired Green Cards cannot be in employment in the US.
It is not recommended to travel with an expired Green Card while waiting for citizenship. If immigration control do not allow you back into the US, you would not be able to continue to pursue the naturalization process.
Green Cards with no expiration date are usually valid, so you can pursue the naturalization process without needing to provide replacement documents confirming your identity.
That being said, these cards can pose problems when the old photo does not accurately depict the card holder, so we recommend renewing your Green Card every 10 years nonetheless.
Whether you pursue citizenship by naturalization, marriage, military or parents, you will still need to present a Green Card, or alternative evidence of permanent residency in the US.
US citizens who were born into citizenship (to married American parents) do not need to get a Green Card, but they are the only exception.