Having a green card entitles you to live and work permanently in the US. If you do have a green card, it is also very important to keep it with you at all times and to keep it valid by keeping it updated and renewed as needed. According to Section 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), “Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him . . . Any alien who fails to comply with [these provisions] shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
There are in fact two types of green cards: permanent green cards and conditional green cards. Most green cards are valid for ten years and must be renewed every ten years. Conditional green cards are valid for two years. These green cards are usually granted to K-1 visa holders and new spouses of US citizens, as well as to applicants in other situations. If you have a traditional green card that is about to expire, you can apply for green card renewal by filing Form I-90 (Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card). However, if you have a conditional green card, you should not do this.
If you have a conditional green card that is about to expire, you need to file Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence). Rather than just renewing your green card, this will remove the conditions on your green card and you will be issued a regular green card that will expire in ten years. If you have a conditional green card, you will want to apply for green card renewal 90 days before your green card expires. If your conditional green card expired some time ago, you will need to seek legal advice.
If your conditional green card has already expired, it is important to take action at once. You can still file Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence) with the USCIS to have conditions on your green card lifted. However, you will generally need to provide information about why you have allowed your green card to expire. It is important to take steps, since expired conditional green cards can subject you to deportation and removal from the US. Take the steps now to protect your green card status.
When you submit Form I-751, you will need to file jointly with your spouse if you are still married. If you have dependents who also have conditional green cards, you can include them on the form or file separate I-751 forms for them, depending on the specific circumstances. If you are no longer married, you will need to show on your Form I-751 that you entered into the marriage in good faith but that the marriage did not work out as expected. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to submit a death certificate, police reports, medical reports or other reports showing what happened in the relationship.