The green card is a permanent resident card that allows a person to live and work permanently in the United States as a U.S. citizen. Green card holders take several benefits that U.S. citizen enjoys, such as employment opportunities, running an office, education assistance, social security, and citizenship for kids. Some residence cards have no expiration, while most are valid for only 10 years or, in some cases, 2 years. A person needs to keep the card up to date. People are necessary to meet specific requirements for U.S. citizenship. USCIS issues a green card to a person who is allowed to live in the U.S.
Expiration of Green card
The new edition of the green card expires after every 10 years that needs to be renewed. The residents are suggested to apply for green card renewal 6 months before its expiry to avoid any upcoming problems. A renewal procedure for a green card may take a few months. An expired green card hinders accepting employment, renewing a driver’s license, traveling, reentering the United States, etc. Some airlines do not allow a person to board a flight back in the country with an expired resident card. He is required to provide evidence of a legal residence card to reenter the U.S.
Conditional Green card expiration
Another exception exists for conditional residents who obtained their green cards through investment or marriage to a U.S. citizen. The expiration date of their green card is two years. These residents can’t let the card expire, and instead of renewing their card, they have to remove the condition of residence.
Green card extension
A person may take the green card extension, especially when his green card expires and he is forced to travel for any reason. After correctly filling out the green card extension form, a person may get an extension for approximately 10-12 months from the actual expiration date. The person should start the renewal process before one year of green card expiration.
Problems with the expired Green card
Following are the major problems encountered by residents whose green card is about to expire:
- Seeking employment: The person cannot get a new job without a valid green card. According to the I-9 instructions, a newly hired employee must complete and sign the I-9 form on the very first day of employment, which means if a card has expired, he cannot start his job.
- Keeping the job: In most occupations, keeping a job is impossible with an expired green card. Occupations like real estate, law, health industry, insurance agents, and various brokers require a professional license which is only granted with a valid green card.
- Getting a driver’s license: A person cannot get his driver’s license without a green card as proof of residency. He can not even renew his driving license. Keeping in mind that the green card takes around 10 to 12 months to renew, a person might lose the driving privileges for this long. Although, he might be able to use the receipt letter or I-551 stamp.
- Acquiring property: For purchasing a house in the United States, a person can get the same mortgages as other citizens. For this purpose, he has to provide a photocopy of his green card to the potential lender. So, anyone interested in acquiring a property must possess a valid green card to avoid unnecessary delays.
- Traveling outside the United States: Traveling outside the U.S. with an expired resident card is the biggest issue. A person can face several problems, such as not being allowed to board a plane, delay in entry by Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officer, demand for a heavy reentry fee, or, in worst cases, refuse it completely. The permission to reenter the U.S. depends entirely on the CBP officer.
What to do if the Green card expires?
The renewal of the green card is very important. It has been done at the right time and by following the right procedures. A person requires the following specific steps to renew his expired green card, such as
- Completing the resident card renewing application: A person can submit a green card renewal application (Form 1-90) by himself or online to USCIS.
- Submitting essential documents: Normally, a person only requires giving evidence of his expired or nearly expired green card.
- Paying the fees: The average amount for renewal of a permanent card is about $540, including the biometric fee, which is around $85.
- Submitting the renewal application: Once the applicant successfully submits the renewal application, the designated authority will verify the documents and issue the green card with a validity of 10 years (if all requirements are fulfilled correctly).
After submitting the renewal application, a person can be approved, accepted, and denied. In case of denial, the following options are available for legal actions, such as:
- Submit a motion: For this, a person requires to submit the motion to the USCIS and request them to reevaluate their decision.
- Go to court: A person requires legal assistance depending upon the severity of the case.