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United States Green Card Expiration FAQs and Answers Including Application Information and Forms
In general a resident status, also known as a Green Card or Legal Permanent Residence, is only valid and granted for people that live permanently or intend to live in the U.S. Some exceptions apply for people temporary living abroad because they or their immediate relatives work with the United States armed forces abroad, or are civilian employees of the U.S. Government stationed out of the country due to official orders. In those type of cases, the spouse or child of the government or armed forces employee must not have relinquished residence, and be preceding or accompanying the member or employee, or be following to join the member or employee in the USA within a few months of his return to the country. Also people that have a valid reentry permit are allowed to live outside of the United States temporarely for up to 2 years, with the intention to go back to live in the U.S. before the expiration of the re-entry permit.
As a green card holder you may travel abroad multiple times and re-enter, as long as you do not intend to stay outside the U.S. for 1 year or more, however leaving the U.S. for more than 6 months may already cause suspicious of your intent to abandon your residency. Your travel out of the U.S. must be temporary and you must be able to prove that you didn’t intent to abandon your Legal Permanent Residence.
If a green card holder stay outside of the U.S. for 1 year or more or if an immigration officer finds out that the green card holder is living out of the U.S. permanently (except for the exceptions cited before) then he will probably ask the green card holder to give up his U.S. green card and legal residency, and he may be found inadmissible and denied reentry into the U.S. If a non citizen resident needs to be out of the country for a long period of time it is recomended to apply for a re-entry permit, before leaving the U.S., to avoid risquing loosing your immigration status. Not being able to prove your temporary stay abroad may result in loosing your green card. To learn more about how to show proof of your temporary stay abroad order this guide now.
The Green Card or Permanent Resident Card, also called USCIS Form I-551, is evidence of your registration in accordance with U.S. immigration laws, and serves as proof of your immigration status as a U.S. lawful permanent resident with the right to live and work permanently in the United States. It is important to understand the difference between the card itself, and the status as a permanent resident. Even if you have a valid card you might be considered out of status, for example in the case that you abandoned your residence in the United States and moved away to another country abroad; also the opposite may happen, having an expired green card but still having a valid status as a legal resident of the U.S.
When your Green card is expiring your status is not expiring, just the proof of your status is what is expiring. You should renew your card to be able to prove that you are a legal resident with the right to live and work in the U.S., and to be in compliance with U.S. immigration regulations, but keep in mind that you are just renewing the card, not your status as a legal resident. Not having a valid Green Card may affect your ability to travel in or out of the U.S. If your green card was issued valid for ten years, and your green card is either expired or will expire within the next six months, then you may file an application to renew your permanent resident card with the USCIS. If a green card doesn’t have any expiration date, then it is probably a very old version and it may no longer be valid, therefore it is recommended to renew it. If you became a permanent resident before you turned 14 years old, you are required to replace your green card once you become 14 years old.
If you are a Conditional Resident, and your conditional green card is expiring, then do not use the regular USCIS form to renew your Green Card. Instead you must file a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence to receive a permanent Green Card (Joint Petition to Remove Conditional Basis of Alien’s Permanent Resident Status). If your green card was obtained through marriage then you and your husband are required to file jointly to remove the conditions on your green card, to receive a permanent resident card. If your green card was obtained through investment then use a petition to remove conditions on your green card to be sent a new Permanent Resident Card valid for 10 years. To find out links to acces the instructions and forms to remove the conditions on your card by ordering this set of Answers to Frequently Asked Questions and application information.
Some Green Card Holders may be able to e-File online to renew their expired Green Card, others may have to file a paper form to renew a Green Card. Read the instructions when ordering this guide to find out if you are elegible for eFiling or you have to file by mail.
Download this Guide to learn more about the application process to renew an expired Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) and to have acces to many Answers to Frequently Asked Questions including application information, how to eFile, instructions, and forms to renew your expired Green Card.