A Green Card is a gateway to living as a permanent resident in the United States and ultimately to becoming a citizen. However, there are stringent rules about using one.
How long does a Green Card last?
Green Cards can last for different amounts of time, so you must check the expiry date. However, the usual amount of time is 10 years.
Is There a Green Card Expiration Date?
Being a holder of a green card doesn’t mean that you’re completely clear from dealing with the immigration process and paperwork. Also, it doesn’t mean that the holder has unlimited time in the United States. Instead, a green card confirms that the holder can legally reside and work in the United States while the green card is valid.
How long are Green Cards valid?
Green cards are only valid for the time which is written on them. Failure to renew before the expiry date can see you forfeit your permanent residency status. There is also the risk of being ineligible for a job or a home loan and denied re-entry if you travel outside the US.
Therefore, you must know how long your green card is valid and avoid an expired card as you continue to live in the US and seek permanent residence. It is also advised that you seek the legal advice of an immigration attorney if you are not familiar with immigration law.
Validity of a Green Card
The United States government demands all legitimate permanent residents 18 years and above to carry an authentic green card.
According to provision 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, an immigrant aged 18 and above should carry a valid green card issued during registration or any other immigration certificate issued in the course of registration. Any foreigner who violates these provisions can be charged.
This implies that any immigrant who fails to produce an authentic, valid green card upon request by authorities will be deemed to have committed a misdemeanor. This is an important part of immigration law.
Green cards do have an expiry date. A vast majority of green cards have a validity of 5-10 years, but a few do last beyond.
How Long Does It Take for Green Cards to Lose Validity
The typical green card granted to all legitimate permanent residents of the US has a lifespan of 10 years. Therefore, if your green card is approaching the end of its expiry, it is necessary to make arrangements to renew it in advance.
Green card renewal doesn’t happen instantly, and therefore it is essential to do it on time to avoid a scenario where you are left without a legally binding green card. Consequently, it is advised to apply for renewal six months before the expiry date.
In this case, you will first need to obtain Form I-90 and fill in the details to replace the permanent resident card, which will pave the way for renewing your expired green card.
The green card expiry date can be found on the front side of your card alongside personal details. This information is pretty easy to locate.
There are specific categories of green cards that are invalid from the word go. If you own such green cards, you will need to produce a Form I- 551 to confirm your permanent residency status. Earlier versions of visas like Form I-151, Form AR-3, and Form AR-103 are now obsolete and should be replaced. Additionally, you will need to acquire and fill out Form I-90 to replace your outdated Permanent Resident Card.
Green Cards Without an Expiry Date
Some green cards have no expiry date, which means they will remain valid forever. These are the initial versions of Form I-551, processed in 1977 and 1989. These green cards have no expiry date on them. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ascertained that these visas are still authentic and can be used to prove permanent residency status. Currently, no provision in place instigates their renewal.
Although these green cards have no expiry date, producing such an old card can still pose a few issues. For example, one of the greatest potential hurdles you might face is re-entering the US after traveling outside the country. Sometimes, offices in charge of Customs and Border Protection (CPB) can cast suspicion on your photo on the green card claiming that they cannot verify your photo because your card is so old, leading to a denial of entry into the US.
Also, the visibility of these cards can be dented by wear and tear, making it difficult for the CPB offices to confirm your identity.
If your green card is damaged or outdated, you should contemplate applying for another before you travel.
Conditional Green Cards
Conditional green cards are those green cards acquired through marriage and investment. These green cards have a validity of 2 years, and once that elapses, they cease to be operational.
These cards are non-renewable. If you are approaching the expiring date of your marriage-based or investment-based green card, you will have to make a new application to get the limitations on your residency lifted. Any petition seeking removal of the residency terms and your green card renewal must be done within 90 days of the expiration date. Failure to do so will result in loss of permanent residency status.
If your application is granted, you will be issued a green card that will accord you permanent resident status for 10 years.
Nowadays, Green Cards Expire on a Particular Date
Green cards expire. Therefore, it is necessary to be very clear about when your green card expires. If you are a green card holder, you can confirm your green card expiry date on the front side of your card and apply for renewal if it’s quickly approaching the end of its useful life.