19 Jan What Happens If I Fail to Renew My Green Card?
As most U.S. immigrants know, a “greed card” is an ID that shows you can work and live in the United States. But what happens if you fail to renew your green card?
No Penalties for Expired Green Card
The good news is that the U.S. government imposes no penalties on the holder of an expired green card. You are still a permanent resident of the United States. There is no increased renewal fee. However, allowing your green card to expire can cause significant difficulties.
Five Problems Caused by Allowing Your Green Card to Lapse
- Getting Hired
The U.S. government requires employers to fill out a Form I-9 when hiring a new worker. This form verifies your identity and permission to work in the United States. A new employee must complete the I-9 within one day of starting their job and produce some form of ID that shows they are eligible for employment.
- Qualifying for a Professional License
Most states require you to show proof of resident status before granting a professional license. Without that license, you cannot work in many occupations, including medicine, law, insurance, real estate, and finance.
- Buying a House
Immigrants can qualify for home loans just like citizens. However, you must prove your permanent resident status to obtain a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or FHA mortgage.
- Getting or Renewing a Driver’s License
States generally require both a residence and proof of legal status in the United States to obtain a Driver’s License. Some states allow immigrants to get a license with a temporary I-551 stamp on their passport, but rules vary by state.
- Entering the United States
Entering the U.S. on an expired green card can be a big problem. U.S. Customs and Border Protection require a passport or proof of permanent resident status inside the United States to enter the country. Showing an expired green card could result in getting refused entry. However, in most cases, you will still be able to enter if you pay an expensive fine after a long delay.
Renewing a green card typically takes months. Consequently, allowing it to expire can be a significant hassle.
Consult an Immigration Lawyer
If you have allowed your green card to expire, consulting an experienced green card lawyer could help you avoid or minimize many of the above problems.