Expired Green Card - Dominguez Law Firm

Expired Green Card

Can You Be Deported Because of an Expired Green Card?

The short answer to this question is “no, you cannot be deported because of an expired green card”. However, allowing your U.S. green card to expire can create a lot of headaches especially if you need to travel, get a new job or renew your driver’s license. Keep reading to learn more about the U.S. immigration green card and problems you may encounter if you don’t remember to renew it.

How Long Does a Green Card Last?

The expiration date of a U.S. permanent residency card can vary depending on the category through which you obtained your green card, for example through a family member, an employer, or the Cuban Adjustment Act. Some persons that obtained a green card through marriage to a U.S. Citizen may also receive a conditional green card which requires a removal of conditions.  However, in general permanent resident green card lasts for ten years. When your green card expires it can be natural to procrastinate renewing it; especially as the cost of renewing a green card is $540.

Although you cannot lose your permanent residence status due to your U.S. green card expiring, it will likely create a lot of problems for you. As renewing your green card can take 8-10 months, we recommend starting the green card renewal process at least six months before the expiration date listed on your card. You can use Form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card to renew an expired green card.

Why Should I Renew My Green Card?

If you do not renew your green card, it can make daily life very difficult as there’s not much else that can substitute for it.  For example, if you’re planning on traveling outside the U.S. and your green card is expired, this can turn into a major issue. Many airlines won’t board a passenger with a green card that has expired. United States law also requires airlines to check proof of permanent residence before boarding. If you try and re-enter the U.S. from abroad, the Customers & Border Protection (CBP) officer requires valid proof of permanent resident status. In the worst-case scenario, you may be denied re-entry; the best-case scenario is a long delay and an expensive re-entry fee.

If your green card is going to expire soon and you’re inside the United States, but you need to travel abroad, there is a solution. You can use a foreign passport with a temporary I-551 stamp. This stamp is temporary proof (typically good for one year) that you are a permanent resident of the U.S. To get the stamp you will need to contact the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to schedule an appointment. You should also file Form I-90 immediately to renew your expired green card as you will need to provide proof the application is pending to obtain the stamp.

If your green card gets lost, stolen, damaged or expires while abroad you will need to prepare Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation), and submit it in person at the nearest U.S. consular office to request a boarding foil. This process usually takes between 7-14 days. Once you return to the U.S., you will still need to renew your expired green card using Form I-90.

If your green card is expiring soon and you have questions about the U.S. immigration system, we strongly recommend contacting an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. The knowledgeable team of lawyers at Dominguez Law Firm, PLLC can assist you no matter where you are in your immigration journey. Contact them today for a free consultation!