A Green Card is a certificate of alien residence that gives foreigners the right to live and work in the United States. It is the responsibility of every alien permanent resident of the United States to keep their Green Card, or residence permit, current and renew it accordingly. If circumstances prevent someone from renewing a Green Card, and it expires, it is advisable that the alien resident renew the Green Card as quickly as possible to prevent any further issues from happening.
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Albeit not extremely grave, letting your Green Card expire does carry with it some consequences. If a permanent resident lets her Green Card go past its 10-year lifespan without renewing, she can be charged with a misdemeanor and sent out of the country. Also, Green Card holders will most likely be unable to enter the country with an expired card unless they have proof of extenuating circumstances.
An expired Green Card means that the permanent resident's evidence to prove he is a permanent resident of the United States is out of date. However, this does not take away the card holder's right to live in the United States presently and in the future. This, in turn, will make it very difficult to maintain or find employment and re-enter the country without legal consequences. Moreover, getting pulled over for a speeding ticket will lead to more problems.
Fixing the Problem
The consequences of an expired Green Card are not extremely grave, and as long as the card holder has upheld the laws of the land, renewal should not be a problem. To renew, the alien resident should file United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-90 "Application to replace my Permanent Resident Card." The process altogether takes 10 to 12 months and costs over $100. This can be accomplished online or through a paper application. If it is expired, renewal should not be a problem. However, according to United States immigration law, the resident can be charged with a misdemeanor for allowing the Green Card to expire.
If you are a Green Card holder and your card expires, it is best to contact an immigration lawyer for advice and help in renewing the form without being charged with a misdemeanor.