What happens if your green card expires?
If you have a 10-year green card, you will not lose your status as a permanent resident just because your card expires. This does not mean that renewing your green card is optional. It is very important that you renew your green card on time. At a minimum, your green card is your proof of your lawful immigration status. If you allow it to expire, you may find that you have trouble getting a job, a driver’s license or other public benefits. In addition, if you travel outside of the United States with an expired green card, you may not be allowed to reenter the United States with it.
If you are a conditional permanent resident with a 2-year green card, your permanent resident status will end if you do not file you I-751 on time. This means that you could face deportation proceedings in immigration court. I can guarantee you that submitting the I-751 on time to renew your green card is much less expensive and stressful than having to go to immigration court in order to save your green card.
How do you lose your permanent resident status?
The three common ways in which you can lose your lawful permanent resident status are:
1) Abandonment of status. Abandonment is treated as a question of intent. The general rule is that you will be considered to have abandoned your permanent resident status if you are absent from the United States for more than one year. Absences of between six months and one year generally create a rebuttable presumption that you have abandoned your permanent resident status. It is often much easier to resolve abandonment issues if you address them before you have been outside the United States for an extended period of time. You should consult with an immigration attorney if you plan to stay outside the United States for an extended period of time. You should also consult with an immigration lawyer if your circumstances change during a trip abroad and you find yourself in a situation where you will be outside of the United States for an extended period of time. Any delay in addressing these issues could lead to the loss of your permanent status.
2) Removal or deportation. You can lose your green card if you are faced with removal or deportation proceedings in immigration court. You are subject to removal proceedings as long as you are a lawful permanent resident. Once you become a U.S. citizen you are no longer subject to removal proceedings. Because removal proceedings can lead to the loss of your permanent resident status, you should consult with an immigration attorney as soon as you learn that you must appear in immigration court.
3) Rescission of adjustment. Rescission of adjustment only applies to people who obtained their lawful permanent resident status through the adjustment of status process. Through this process, you may lose your permanent resident status if you were not eligible for permanent resident status at the time you obtained your green card. Rescission can only take place within five years of your adjustment of status. If you receive a rescission notice from the government you should immediately contact an immigration attorney. You will only have a short amount of time to respond to a rescission notice.
Renewing Your Green Card
If you are in the United States and your 10-year Green Card has expired or will expire within the next 6 months, you may renew your green card by filing a green card renewal application on Form I-90. You may also be eligible to file your Form I-90 online.
If you are outside of the United States when your Green Card expires and you have not applied for the renewal card prior to your departure, you should contact the nearest U.S. Consulate, USCIS office, or U.S. port of entry before attempting to file Form I-90 for a renewal card.