What happens if my Green Card expires?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.
Today’s question comes from [Tee 00:00:00:12]. It’s in our Immigrant Home Facebook group. We’ve been seeing a lot of engagement in there, so you might think about joining. You can always ask us a question. If we think it has general applicability, if it’s going to be instructive for all of our viewers, we might just make a video about it.
This one comes from Tee. Tee posted just a few days ago, “Am I still a lawful permanent resident, because I will be sending back the card when filing for my I-90?” So the I-90 is the replacement Green Card. Tee says that, “USCIS issued me a 10-year card, instead of the two-year one. I’m worried that I will not have the physical card for a few months. Sighs.”
All right, Tee, so this raises a bigger issue. One thing to think about, and this is what I tell people all the time. I was telling people yesterday, which is why I wanted to shoot this video. A Green Card is not like a driver’s license. If you have a driver’s license and your driver’s license expires, then you can’t drive anymore. It’s illegal for you to drive. But when you’re a lawful permanent resident, you’re a lawful permanent resident. The fact that your card may have expired, or that you may have sent it back temporarily to USCIS, you’re still a lawful permanent resident.
So Tee does not need to worry about not having status. Now, whether there’s proof of that status, that’s a whole other thing. In our experience, when we send in the I-90 for placement, if USCIS has made an error on the Green Card, we don’t send the Green Card back right away. What we do is we send a copy of the Green Card. We explain the error, and then they start working on getting the replacement Green Card. Then towards the end, they’ll send us a request for evidence for the actual Green Card. In our experience, if everything goes correctly, you should get that new Green Card relatively quickly. I don’t think it’ll take two months, Tee. I wouldn’t send the Green Card with the original submission. They’ll ask you for it later. That way you have proof of it as long as possible.
I’d also go ahead and make a high-quality color copies, both sides of your Green Card, so that you have it. It is an unfortunate mistake. We’ve been seeing more and more of these 10-year versus two-year Green Card mistakes. If it’s their mistake, then they’re supposed to pay for it. You don’t have to pay anything. But it is still a hassle and you still have to wait. It’s frustrating not to have a Green Card that was prepared correctly, especially when you yourself did everything correctly.
Tee, don’t worry about losing your status. That goes too for people whose Green Cards expire. You should absolutely file for a Green Card renewal as soon as you can, on the very first day. But if they take longer than the allotted time, or if you file after your Green Card has expired, you’re still a lawful permanent resident, until an immigration judge takes your status away. And that would be through deportation. They won’t be doing that just because your Green Card expired. It’s always a good idea to have a valid Green Card. Obviously, if you’re going to travel, it’s essential that you have a valid Green Card.
But if you have any questions about this, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to join us on our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. And if you liked this video, we ask that you please do two things. Number one, share it out on social fora so that you can help spread the word. Number two, subscribe to our YouTube channel, so that you get updates whenever we make videos like this one.
Thanks a lot. Have a great day.