Green Card Expired Outside of Country
If you are a permanent resident, you are required to carry a green card at all times. Green card holders are able to leave the United States to travel to other countries. In order to reenter the country, you will need to present a valid, unexpired green card at a port of entry. But what happens if your green card expires while you are traveling outside the United States?
Expiration Within Six Months
If you are traveling outside the United States and your green card will expire within six months, you can file for green card renewal as soon as you return to the United States. However, you must be planning to return to the United States within one year of your departure. In fact, you can file to renew your green card if it will expire within the next six months and you are a permanent resident with a Form I-551 that has been valid for ten years. Therefore, if you know your green card will expire while you are out of the country, you should take steps to renew it before you depart.
Expiration While Traveling
If you are outside of the United States, your green card has already expired and you have not applied for a renewal, you must visit the nearest United States Consulate, USCIS office or U.S. port of entry before you file for a new green card. You cannot file for a new green card while you are outside the United States.
If you were aware that your green card would expire while you were out of the country and you filed to renew the card before you left, there may be forms you can take with you when you leave the country to show that you have applied for renewal. In most cases, this is sufficient to allow you to reenter the United States even with an expired green card. If you have been outside the United States for more than a year, however, immigration may determine that you have abandoned your permanent resident status and you may be denied reentry.
It is always important to keep your green card active and valid at all times. If you need assistance with renewing your green card or have other questions about immigration, give us a call today. We can help guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.