Common Problems with Expired Green Cards

One of the most important things showing if you are a permanent US resident is the green card. While your status as a US citizen may not expire, the documents that confirm your citizenship do (like a passport). It happens the same with permanent resident cards. Green cards are usually valid for ten years after which you will need to renew it.

Most people may carry expired green cards today unknowingly. That is because they are not used regularly and can escape the eyes of the law. However, it is a requirement to carry it at all times by the US government. In this article, you will find insight into the possible risks and legal consequences of an expired green card. Also, you will also find information on how to renew your green card.

It can be very easy for you to carry forward your renewal of the green card for one reason or another, but it takes time, sometimes a lot of time. However, the trouble in which you can get into for carrying an expired can get far more time cosuming.

The green card renewal process can go for four to five months hence you need to start the journey four to six months before its expiration date. When going for a green card replacement, obtain the appropriate legal document, the Form I-90, and fill it where applicable. Below is a list of real life scenarios where an expired green card can be a pain in the neck.

1. Application or Renewal of A Driver’s License

In most of the states, proof that you’re a legal resident is often required to renew your driver's license. Therefore without it, you won’t be able to carry out the renewal of your driver’s license. Another problem is the 4-5 months taken by the renewal process. The wait will significantly affect or hinder your driving privileges within the states for four to five months.

The various states have different requirements regarding issuing of the driving licenses. Therefore, if you are suffering from this problem then contact your state’s division of motor vehicles to find out if there is any other document you may avail to approve your permanent residence. The chances are that it may fail since, in almost all the jurisdictions, renewal of the driver’s license can only take place with the green card. A passport with the I-551 can suffice in some areas.

Therefore avoid such entanglements by checking your driver’s license and the green card expiry dates today.

2. Traveling and Re-entry into the US with an overdue green card

This is also one of the tricky situations associated with an expired green card. It begins right from the airlines where passengers with expired green cards will not be allowed aboard the plane. Exceptions are usually made by some airlines if you have a notice of action or the Form I-797 to verify that you have filed the Form I-90 for renewal. If this is your case, make sure to bring with you a validated passport.

During re-entry to the US, the Customs and Border Protection will request for your green card as proof of permanent residence or a citizen. The expired card shows a lack of necessary documentation which may result in an entry denial. It even gets much worse with a re-entry fee of $584 besides a long delay. There are only two ways through which you can get out of this trouble.

In case your green card expired while in the United States use your passport if it has an I-551 stamp. This passport will act as temporary proof of permanent residence, and it usually lasts a year. To get the I-551 stamp on your passport, make sure to make and appointment to visit your local USCIS office (use Infopass apointment services). We recomend you to file an I-90 form imminently. You will have to wait for two to three weeks to receive a notice of action or approval of your application by the USCIS.

• The second case is when your card expires when you are outside the States. When that happens, prepare the application for a travel document or Form I-131 then take it personally to the US consular office in your vicinity. Here you will be provided with a boarding foil which technically is a permission for re-entry valid if you had been away for a year or less. Once you enter the US, file the I-90 form for renewal of your green card as soon as you can.

3. Property Acquisition

As a permanent resident, you may need or want to acquire property in the form of a home mortgage or real estate. It is most likely that you will apply for a mortgage loan where one of the relevant documents for the transaction is a green card. In any case, you will be needed to attach a photocopy of your green card to the documentation requirements. Althought the requirements for a loan will vary depending on the lender, It won’t auger well for you if the green card has expired no matter what.

Remeber that applying for renewal will take the usual 4-5 months meaning you will be delayed for quite some time causing unnecessary inconveniences. Therefore if you are looking into purchasing a piece of property, check your green card now and if it is due less six months, apply for renewal immediately. You can read here more about USCIS Processing Times.

4. Seeking employment with an expired card

Before you can get employment within the states, you need to prove to the employer that you are permitted to work within the state. The i-9 form (Employment eligibility verification) is one of the proofs required by your potential employer.

On the other hand, the green card is a List A document requirement for the authority employment fields. You have an obligation to complete the I-9 form before you can start the job or the first day of your new employment. If the green card you availed is expired, no employer will consider your case.

A passport with a temporary I-551 stamp can once again come to your rescue as a List A document. It is, however, valid for a year hence you need to check if it hasn’t expired as well. The problem associated with expired cards and employment regarding the time frame for renewal. Most employers will not be willing to wait for five months as you renew your green card.

It is, therefore, good to be always on the safer side than having to file numerous complex documents which will cause you invaluable delays. Don’t let negligence come between you and your dream job. Expired green cards can cause you serious issues with the Us Immigration and Citizen Application offices.

Finally, remember that you can apply for citizenship if you have been a green card holder for more than 5 years ( 3 in some cases). With a US passport you won't have to renew your Green Card. If you meet the requirements, you also may consider to file form N-400 and become and US Citizen.

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