Permanent resident cards are issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Permanent resident cards, also referred to as “Green Cards”, are plastic cards that have the holder’s photo, biographic information like name and date of birth and the dates of issuance and expiration of these cards.
In the past permanent resident cards have had different names. Cards that were issued initially were green is color so these cards were called “Green Cards” and still many refer to these cards as Green Cards. Permanent Resident cards are also known as “Alien Registration Cards” and “Form I-551.”
Click here to read the History of Green Card to know how Green Cards looked in the past.
Green Card Validity
Green Cards are not valid for a lifetime and come with a ten-year validity period. If you are a legal resident of the U.S., you will need to note the expiration date of the card and renew it before it expires. This Green Card renewal process in an important step for legal residents as their cards will not be considered to be valid once they expire. Holding expired cards will make it difficult for the legal residents to travel abroad or find jobs in the U.S. They also may not be able to prove that they are legal residents of the U.S. However, if your card expires, it doesn’t mean that your resident status will expire. You will be a legal resident even after your card expires and you can also apply to renew your expired card. You may not lose your resident status unless it is revoked by the government or you give it up.
You are required by the law to hold a valid Green Card at all times. You will have to make sure your card is valid by renewing it at the right time. If you forget or fail to apply for renewal before your resident card expires, you don’t have to panic as you will not be penalized for renewing an expired card.
Permanent resident status is granted to foreign nationals who have been granted permission to make the U.S. their permanent homes and to live and work here permanently. Remember, permanent resident status is not U.S. Citizenship status. Though Green Card holders are granted certain rights, they will not be granted all the rights that are meant only to U.S. citizens.