How to Renew an Expired Green Card
If you’re wondering how to renew an expired green card, you’re in the right place – but we do have to caution you that you should renew your green card before it expires. This guide to renewing your green card explains the entire process (and what happens if you’re too late).
How to Renew an Expired Green Card
The best course of action is to renew your green card before it expires. However, in some cases, it’s okay to renew it after it expires, as well. An expired green card doesn’t mean you lose your lawful permanent residence status (you’ll reman a lawful permanent resident for life unless you lose your status for some other reason, which we cover in the later section “What Mistakes Could Cost You Your Residency Status?”).
An expired green card simply means you need new dates that prove you’re legally able to live and work anywhere in the U.S., and that you’re allowed to re-enter the U.S. after you travel abroad.
Can You Be Deported Because of an Expired Green Card?
You won’t be deported if you have an expired green card. The U.S. government will still consider you a lawful permanent resident, even if your green card is expired. However, the way you file for renewal may be a little bit different if you’re outside the United States. We cover that in the later section, “How to Renew Your Expired Green Card From Outside the U.S.”
How Long Do I Have to Renew My Green Card After it Expires?
You can renew your green card any time after it expires, but you must do so before you leave the U.S. if you intend to maintain your lawful permanent residency here. You must also have a valid green card to work for a company in the United States, so if you’re changing jobs, you’ll need to renew before then.
Again, the best-case scenario is that you renew your green card at least 6 months before it expires. That way, you can avoid the inconveniences associated with having an expired green card.
What Happens if I Don’t Renew My Green Card?
The U.S. government will not issue a penalty against you or make you pay any fines if your green card is expired. You continue to be a lawful permanent resident of the United States – but if you intend to leave the U.S. or you want to get a new job, you’ll need a valid green card.
Green cards do not automatically renew. You must renew them yourself or through your attorney.
Related: What happens if you divorce after you receive a green card?
How to Renew Your Expired Green Card When You’re Physically Present in the United States
When you’re physically present in the United States and your green card expires, you may wish to work with an attorney for the renewal process. Like the original process – the one in which you initially applied for and received your lawful permanent resident status – the green card renewal process requires you to file specific paperwork. However, this time you need a Form I-90. You may also need additional evidence, such as a copy of your expired green card (or soon-to-be expired green card, depending on when you renew). You’ll have to sign your application and pay the appropriate fees (if required; some people qualify for a fee waiver).
How to Renew Your Expired Green Card From Outside the U.S.
If you’re outside the United States when your green card expires, you or your attorney will need to get in touch with the nearest U.S. consulate or go to the nearest U.S. port of entry. You must let them know that your green card is expired but you wish to return to the United States.
Pro Tip: If you’re leaving the U.S. when you know your green card is about to expire, you should renew it before you go. Doing so – or at least starting the process by filing the application – can save you a lot of time and trouble when you wish to return to the United States.
How to Renew Your Green Card Before it Expires
Whether or not your green card is expired, you’ll need to renew it by completing Form I-90. You’ll have to provide a copy of your soon-to-expire green card to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, with your application.
Related: DACA renewal in Texas
Replacing Your Green Card
Your green card is valid for 10 years, but if you lose it, you may need to replace it before renewal. You’ll fill out the same form (Form I-90).
You’re required to replace your green card if:
- It’s expired or will expire in the next six months
- It was lost, stolen, mutilated or destroyed
- You have been a commuter and are now taking up actual residence in the U.S.
- You have been a permanent resident who was residing in the U.S. but are now taking up commuter status
- Your status has automatically been converted to permanent resident
- You have an old version of an alien registration card that needs to be replaced with a current green card
- Your card has incorrect information on it
- You have changed any of the biographic information on the card since the last time you were issued a card (such as your name)
So, what if you’re a conditional permanent resident – do you ever need to replace your card? Yes, in some cases. If you’re a conditional permanent resident and something happens to your green card (like it’s been lost, stolen, mutilated or destroyed), or if it contains incorrect information, you need to replace it. Likewise, if you changed your name or other biographic information, you need to replace it.
Related: What is a bona fide marriage in U.S. immigration?
How Long Does it Take to Renew an Expired Green Card?
It may take up to 12 months for USCIS to process your renewal application. The wait times vary based on the number of applications USCIS has, staffing, and even location.
If you need to renew your green card sooner, you may be able to ask USCIS for an Alien Documentation, Identification & Telecommunications” stamp (commonly called an ADIT stamp) to prove that you’re a green card holder.
What Mistakes Could Cost You Your Residency Status?
Although it’s not that common, it is possible to lose your permanent residency status in the U.S. (Again, though, you won’t lose permanent residency status by having an expired green card.) You may lose your permanent residency status if you:
- Vote as a supposed U.S. citizen
- Don’t change your address with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services after you move
- Fail to actually establish a permanent residence here
- Abandon your permanent residence here
- Commit a certain type of crime or get caught with controlled substances
- Commit fraud
If you’re in danger of being deported – told to leave the country – you probably need to talk to a Dallas or Houston immigration attorney right away.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Renewing an Expired Green Card?
If you need to speak with a lawyer about how to renew an expired green card, we may be able to help you. Call our office today to set up your free consultation.
About Davis & Associates:
Davis & Associates is the immigration law firm of choice in Houston & North Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and surrounding areas. Their attorneys provide expert legal counsel for all aspects of immigration law, including deportation defense, writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, family-sponsored immigration, employment-sponsored immigration, investment immigration, employer compliance, temporary visas for work and college, permanent residence, naturalization, consular visa processing, waivers, and appeals. Attorney Garry L. Davis is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Dallas Contact Info:
Address: 17750 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75252
Houston Contact Info: Address: 6220 Westpark Dr, Suite 110, Houston, TX 77057
Phone: (832) 742-0066