Wondering if you can work with an expired green card?
We have compiled a detailed guide to answer this question and more, from work eligibility to the Green Card renewal process.
We’ll also explain how our experienced immigration attorneys at The Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein can help you throughout the process.
What Happens If My Green Card Expires?
When your Green Card expires, you are still a permanent resident of the United States, meaning that your immigration status does not change.
However, you become non-compliant with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 264(e), which mandates that permanent residents over the age of 18 must carry valid identification proving their status at all times.
Considered a misdemeanor, this non-compliance may cost you up to $100 and up to 30 days in prison.
While your permanent resident status remains unchanged if your Green Card expires, you may have trouble applying for a job or a loan, or traveling abroad without a valid Green Card.
Can I Work With An Expired Green Card?
If you are currently working and your Green Card expires, you are still authorized to work in the U.S. and you are not required to notify your employer of your Green Card’s expiration.
In addition, if you presented Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification when starting your position, your employer will not need re-verify your document at any point.
However, if you are looking to apply to a new company, your application is likely to be denied if your Green Card is expired. Employers in the U.S. are required to verify permanent residence status for all employees. If you are unable to provide proof of a valid status when submitting Form I-9, an employer is not legally permitted to hire you.
Some states also require a valid Green Card to apply for a professional license for certain occupations, like an insurance agent or a nurse.
To be able to find new job opportunities in the U.S. it’s important to renew your Green Card within six months of its expiration date.
Can I Work If My Conditional Green Card Expires?
If you are a conditional permanent resident and your Green Card expires, you lose your conditional status and may be deported from the U.S. as a result.
Your conditional Green Card is valid for two years, regardless of how you acquired conditional status— whether by marriage to a citizen or permanent resident, or via investment.
To maintain the right to live and work in the U.S. and avoid the risk of being placed in removal proceedings, make sure to apply for Green Card renewal within 90 days prior to the date your conditional Green Card expires.
How To Renew Your Green Card [+ Alternative Options For Employment]
The process of renewing your Green Card depends on whether you are a permanent resident or a conditional permanent resident.
If You Are A Permanent Resident
To renew your Green Card as a permanent resident, submit Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Typically, your Green Card will be renewed in about eight months after submitting the application.
- If your card has not yet expired or expired less than a year ago, Form I-797C will provide a 24-month validity extension. When you are applying for a new job, present your expired Green Card and Form I-797C to prove your status and employment authorization.
- If your card has been lost or expired for more than a year, you have the option to request an I-551 stamp in your unexpired passport issued by your home country. To request an I-551 stamp, make an appointment with your local USCIS office and take your passport with you, along with Form I-797C. The stamp serves as evidence of your permanent resident status and allows you to apply for a new job, even if your Green Card has expired. The I-551 stamp is typically valid for one year.
If Form I-90 is submitted incorrectly or is missing information, your application may be delayed or denied. At Spar & Bernstein, we have 60+ years of immigration experience, including immigration cases in all 50 states and around the globe.
Our immigration team will help you file Form I-90 and keep track of your application status to ensure your renewal processes as soon as possible.
If You Are A Conditional Resident
If your conditional Green Card expired, you no longer have the right to live and work in the U.S.
To keep your lawful status, you must file a petition to remove conditions on residence within 90 days of your Green Card’s expiration date.
To do this:
- Submit Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence, if your conditional status was granted after marrying an American citizen or a permanent resident
- Submit Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, if your conditional status was granted based on investment by you or a member of your family
If you filed your petition correctly and within the legal deadlines, your resident status will be automatically renewed for 48 months after your conditional Green Card expires.
Until 2023, the granted extension period for pending forms I-751 and I-829 was 24 months. The new prolonged extension is valid as of January 11, 2023 for Form I-829 and as of January 25, 2023 for Form I-751. The aim for the longer extension period is to compensate for the long processing times that accumulated over the last year.
You can use the receipt notice from USCIS about your status extension along with your expired Green Card as evidence that you are authorized to work in the U.S. and travel out of the country.
Work With Spar & Bernstein To Renew Your Green Card
At Spar & Bernstein, we know that renewing your Green Card can be confusing and stressful. That’s why we’re here — for over 60 years, our experienced team has been helping Green Card holders around the country file the correct paperwork to be able to live and work in the U.S.
Achieving The American Dream can be a long road, but we’re committed to remaining by your side every step of the way.
Whether you need to file a petition for a Green Card renewal as a permanent resident or you want to change your conditional status to permanent resident status, our team will:
- Help you file the correct forms, on time
- Represent you before USCIS
- Track your petition’s progress and keep you updated of its status
- Help with your future citizenship application, if you have applied for removal of conditions
With extensive experience in all areas of immigration, from family and employment immigration to investor visa, waivers, deportation and removal defense, we have helped thousands of people obtain immigration benefits and fulfil their American dream.
Schedule a consultation via our online form or call us at 800-529-5465 — we’d love to meet you and explain how we can help in your immigration journey.
Can I Work With An Expired Green Card? A Quick Recap
If you are a lawful permanent resident and your Green Card expires, this does not affect your immigration status or your work with a current employer. However, it can lead to other challenges.
An expired Green Card may pose challenges if you apply for a new job, as employers are required to verify proof of a valid status. If you do not have proof of a valid status in the U.S., an employer cannot legally hire you.
In addition, an expired Green Card means you are no longer compliant with the INA, which is a misdemeanor, and can lead to a fine or possible jail time.
If you are a conditional permanent resident and your Green Card expires, you lose the right to live and work in the U.S. To avoid deportation, you must apply for removal of conditions within 90 days of your Green Card’s expiration date.
Whether you know your next steps or you have questions remaining about your status and your options, contact our knowledgeable immigration attorneys at Spar & Bernstein. We will help you identify what to do next, and be by your side every step of way.
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Bradford H. Bernstein
This article was written and reviewed by Bradford H. Bernstein, a second-generation leader at Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., who has helped over 100,000 clients with immigration and personal injury issues. Brad joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1997, and assumed leadership in 2000 after Harry Spar retired.View Brad's Bio