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Can You Apply for Naturalization with an Expired Green Card?

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A green card, known as a Permanent Resident Card, serves as evidence of your legal permanent resident status in the US. It allows you to work and live in the country indefinitely. The naturalization application is important for individuals seeking to become U.S. citizens.

However, the process takes time and requires more paperwork and effort. And you’re worried about the status of your green card. So, you ask yourself, "Can I apply for naturalization with an expired green card?

In this article, we will explore:

  • USCIS policy update for naturalization applicants
  • Steps to renewing an expired green card
  • Why seek assistance from an immigration attorney


Green Card and USCIS Policy Explained

Typically, green cards, also known as permanent resident cards, are issued with a ten-year validity span. It is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and serves as proof of an individual's lawful permanent resident status.

After ten years, your green card expires. Then, you'll need to renew it to maintain your permanent resident status. But recently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its policy manual to provide relief for applicants.

As of December 12, 2022, USCIS extends the validity of green cards for lawful permanent residents who have applied for naturalization. This means that even if your green card has expired, you may still be eligible to apply for naturalization. Your naturalization application doesn’t need you to submit a separate application for the renewal.

The extension is granted to applicants who have properly filed Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, on or after December 12, 2022. In order to reflect the 24-month green card extension, USCIS will amend the language on Form N-400 receipt notices.

During this extension period, the receipt notice and the expired green card can serve as evidence of your continued status.

Can You Apply for Naturalization if Your Green Card is Expired?

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Let's address the main question at hand: “Can I apply for naturalization with an expired green card?” The answer is yes. But, take note of some important considerations.

While applying for citizenship with an expired green card does not automatically disqualify you, it can complicate the process. This may raise questions about your commitment to maintaining your permanent resident status.

Moreover, USCIS may exercise discretion and waive the green card renewal requirement if the expiration occurs within a certain timeframe. Plus, the applicant can provide a valid reason for not renewing it earlier. This discretion is typically exercised on a case-by-case basis.

Remember, it's advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to understand the specific requirements.

Risks of Expired Green Card

While it is possible to apply for naturalization while a green card has expired, there are potential risks and considerations to keep in mind.

One of the main concerns is the impact on employment and identification. Some employers may require a valid green card as proof of work authorization. The expired card may create complications in this regard.

In some cases, emergency travel documents may be necessary if you need to travel internationally while your green card is expired. An immigration attorney firm like Hacking Immigration Law, LLC can assist you in obtaining these documents. Plus, they ensure that your travel plans align with the requirements of USCIS.

Additionally, it's important to consult the USCIS website for guidance on applying for naturalization with an expired green card. They provide detailed instructions and information on the process.

Remember to remain proactive throughout the process. Stay informed about more updates or changes in USCIS policies and requirements.


Steps to Renewing an Expired Green Card

To proceed with your naturalization application, it is strongly recommended that you renew your expired green card first. This will demonstrate your true commitment to your legal status in the United States.

To renew your green card, you'll need to follow a specific process. Here are the general steps involved:

1. Fill up Form I-90

Complete and submit Form I-90 or the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. This form can be filed through mail or online, depending on your preference.

Make sure to provide accurate and up-to-date information. Take note that any errors or discrepancies may delay the renewal process.

2. Compile supporting documents

Gather the necessary supporting paperwork to accompany your Form I-90. These may include:

  • Photocopy of front and back of current green card
  • Evidence of your residence in the United States
  • Documentation of any absences beyond one year
  • Passport-style color photo

Ensure you comply with all the requirements requested by USCIS. You can check this document checklist they provided.

3. Prepare your biometrics appointment

Once your Form I-90 is processed, you will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment. They will schedule biometric appointments at a local Application Support Center (ASC).

At this appointment, the USCIS will collect your fingerprints, photograph, and signature for identification purposes.

USCIS provided more details on rescheduling your appointment below.

Screenshot from
USCIS Website

4. Wait for approval

After your biometrics appointment, you will need to wait for the USCIS to process your renewal application. This can take several months. That’s why it's important to submit your renewal application well in advance of your green card's expiration date.

5. Receive your new green card

Once your renewal application is approved, you'll receive a new green card in the mail. Make sure to review the card for any errors or discrepancies. You can also contact the USCIS if you notice any issues.

Generally, having a valid green card is a requirement for naturalization. It establishes the individual's lawful permanent residency. This also serves as proof that they have met the initial eligibility criteria for becoming a U.S. citizen. That’s why the expiration of a green card should be seen, and renewing it must be considered.

Why Seek Assistance from an Immigration Attorney

Navigating the immigration system, especially when it comes to naturalization, can be complex. If you wish to apply for naturalization, it’s best to consult with an experienced immigration law firm like Hacking Immigration Law, LLC.

Our team of experts will:

  • explain the options available to you
  • guide you through the renewal process
  • assess your eligibility for naturalization
  • provide personalized advice based on your situation

Moreover, our expertise and guidance can increase your chances of a successful naturalization application.

To learn more about the process and get answers to frequently asked questions, visit our Immigration news.

Final Thoughts

While having a valid green card is typically required to apply for naturalization, USCIS's recent policy update provides relief for applicants. The automatic green card extension allows eligible individuals to proceed with their naturalization application. However, renewing it, the same with a conditional green card, is still advisable to avoid any potential complications.

Getting citizenship is a significant lifetime accomplishment. For this reason, you want to ensure that everything proceeds as smoothly as possible.

An immigration attorney can help you know your next steps if you apply for citizenship. If you're in the same situation where your green card has expired or been lost, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

Our team of skilled attorneys is happy to answer any questions you have during the process. We can help evaluate your situation and guide you through your citizenship application process

With our assistance, you can navigate potential obstacles and increase your chances of a successful naturalization.


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