Many permanent residents delay renewing their green cards. They travel around the country with expired cards and believe there is no need to use their green cards in their everyday life. They simply just forget about their expired green cards. But these green card holders are most likely not aware of what the law says.
According to Section 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), everyone who have been granted legal permanent resident status in the U.S., will be issued a document or card of alien registration, which they should carry with them at all times. Permanent residents who fail to comply with the provisions of the INA will be considered to be guilty of a misdemeanor. From this, green card holders will need to understand that they will need to renew their expiring or expired cards and always hold a valid card.
People may believe that they need to spend a lot to renew their green cards, but they fail to understand that the consequences of holding an expired card can be costlier than that. One may not lose his or her permanent resident status because of holding an expired green card, but the expired card can cause problems, especially when finding a new job in the U.S.
U.S. employers are required to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification for all new employees they hire. This form is filled out to ensure that the new employees are authorized to work here and to verify their identity. At the time of completing this form, legal permanent residents will be asked to present their valid green cards. Employers may not accept invalid green cards. So expired green cards are likely to make it difficult to start new jobs.
However, this doesn’t mean that legal permanent residents cannot work in the U.S. if their green cards are expired. Permanent residents may be allowed to present their foreign passports with the temporary I-551 stamp to prove their identity. But if their passports are not stamped, they will need to get it stamped, which could be a time consuming process. Even if they have their passports with the I-551 stamp, they will have to get their green cards renewed. So it is wise to make sure their permanent cards are valid.
Likewise, many American states require permanent residents applying for professional licenses for nursing, insurance agents, etc., to hold valid green cards. Holding expired green cards will make it difficult to get the licenses for the different careers.
To make sure you are not in trouble, renew your permanent resident card within six months from its expiration date. You will not be punished for renewing your expired green card so if your card has expired already, start the green card renewal process now by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace/Renew Permanent Resident Card.