A green card is one of the most important document permanent residents of the United States have. However, most permanent residents only ever use their green cards in a limited number of situations, which is why it can be so easy for people to allow their green cards to expire and to forget to renew them. Green card renewal is extremely important since having an expired green card exposes permanent residents to a number of risks and inconveniences. Although an expired green card alone will not result in the revocation of one’s permanent residency status, failing to renew a green card could lead to any of the following three scenarios.
Losing out on a new home
Many borrowers require those applying for a mortgage to provide a copy of proof of citizenship or permanent residency. For permanent residents, that requirement usually means providing a copy of a non-expired green card. Failing to have a valid green card could mean losing out on an attractive mortgage. Furthermore, it can take months to renew a green card, meaning that a seller is unlikely to wait for a potential buyer’s green card renewal to come through. In most cases, the seller will simply move on and try to find another buyer.
Entering the United States
For permanent residents who are abroad, returning to the United States with an expired green card can be a nightmare. The border officer will need to see proof of permanent residency, which an expired green card no longer provides. In some cases, trying to reenter the U.S. with an expired green card will result in being refused reentry. In most cases, however, it will mean a very long delay and a substantial fee running into the hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, many airlines will refuse to board customers who are travelling on an expired green card.
Finally, while permanent residents are allowed to work in the United States, employers need to be provided proof of their potential employees’ residency status. An expired green card could lead to job offers being refused since the employer will have little way of guaranteeing that the prospective employee is legally allowed to work in the U.S. Again, renewing a green card can take many months, meaning that employers are unlikely to simply hold onto job offers while a green card is being renewed.
The risks of letting a green card expire are very serious. While permanent residents may not use their green cards day-to-day, as the above article shows, an expired green card will eventually lead to major problems and hassles that can easily be resolved by renewing a green card as soon as possible.