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What Happens if Your Green Card Expires?

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

If your Green Card (also known as your Permanent Resident Card) is soon to expire or has already passed the date of expiration listed on your card, you may be wondering what that means for your permanent resident status.

The first thing to note is that your status as a permanent resident does not expire when your green card expires. Only an Immigration Judge can revoke someone’s permanent resident status; a permanent resident may also voluntarily revoke their permanent resident status.

Your green card is only proof of your resident status; it is not the basis of your status. However, a valid green card is important because you need valid proof of status to travel, obtain lawful work, and avoid other issues. Permanent residents are also required by law to have in their possession a valid green card.

Some permanent residents have conditions placed on their status. Conditional Permanent Residents are permanent residents who have been granted a 2-year Green Card and are subject to filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Conditional Permanent Residents have all the rights and privileges of being a permanent resident, but must file Form I-751 within the 90-day period prior to the expiration date on their 2-year Green Card.

When USCIS receives the petition to remove conditions from permanent residency, a Receipt Notice will be issued that states the applicant’s permanent resident status has been extended. Once the I-751 is approved, the conditions on residence are removed and a 10-year Green Card is issued.

If a Conditional Permanent Resident fails to submit Form I-751 within the 90-day period before the Green Card's expiration date, the law states their conditional resident status is no longer valid and they may be subject to removal from the United States. However, an exception for late filing may be made if the length of the delay was reasonable and the failure to file before the expiration date was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the applicant’s control. In such cases, the applicant must provide a written explanation of the circumstances that caused the late filing and request that USCIS excuse and accept the late filing. Conditional residents may not renew their green card.

Still, by law, a Conditional Permanent Resident remains a permanent resident until an Immigration Judge revokes their permanent resident status, but in such case, is subject to deportation. Without a valid (unexpired) Green Card or I-751 Receipt Notice, however, a (conditional) permanent resident has no evidence of their valid status and so it is advisable to file the form I-751 or form I-90 to replace your 10-year Green Card in a timely manner.

Lawful Permanent Residents generally have two options when their 10-year Green Card is nearing expiration:

1. Renew the Green Card using Form I-90

2. Apply for U.S. citizenship through Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

You must meet certain eligibility requirements to apply for Naturalization, and there will be a background check requirement with whichever option you choose. Before filing for either, you should consult with an Immigration Attorney to avoid the possibility of being placed in deportation proceedings. In some instances it is advisable to file both the I-90 and N-400 if qualified.

At the Law Office of S.A. Peterkin, our qualified Immigration Attorney will assess your case and provide you with the best options for you to obtain the immigration benefit you are seeking. Call us at 321-325-1125, text us at 321-204-7718, or use our online contact form to begin scheduling your Case Evaluation with Attorney Peterkin.

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