An expiring green card may not prevent a permanent resident from applying for U.S. citizenship. But a legal permanent resident will need to hold a valid green card at all times and they may not be able to apply for naturalization if they do not have their green cards.
While applying for citizenship, the legal resident will have to provide a copy of his or her green card along with the other supporting documents.
Likewise, the interviewer also may ask to see the green card during the naturalization interview. During the oath ceremony, green cards will be collected from the legal residents and they will be granted naturalization certificates once they take the oath.
Legal residents need to make sure their green cards are current to avoid legal complications of holding expired green cards that will prevent them from traveling abroad and obtaining government benefits.
Moreover, the citizenship process is not a short one. It can be several months before a decision is made on their naturalization applications. So it is wise to make sure their green cards are valid.
Permanent residents need not apply for green card renewal before applying for citizenship if their green cards will not expire in the next six months.
If legal permanent residents who are ready to apply for citizenship, lose their green cards or if their green cards are set to expire in the next few months, they must first start the green card replacement or renewal process on Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
They will need to wait until they get the I-90 application receipt notice to apply for citizenship. They cannot apply for green card renewal or replacement and for U.S. citizenship at the same time.
That is because they will either need to submit copies of their green cards along with the naturalization application or submit a copy of the I-90 application receipt notice. They will be free to start the citizenship process once they get their green card replacement receipt notices.