Many lawful permanent residents get concerned when their green card is about to expire. Given the current political climate, one of the biggest questions people have is, “Can you be deported because of an expired green card?” A popular misconception about green cards is that permanent lawful resident status is linked to whether the green card is valid or expired, but an immigration lawyer can help clarify these legal issues. To learn more about green cards from an experienced immigration attorney, call or contact The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum & Associates in Los Angeles today to schedule a consultation.
Green Cards and Permanent Resident Status
There are two main types of green cards — those for conditional permanent residents and permanent residents. Conditional green cards last for two years, whereas full green cards last for 10 years. Even though a person receives a green card when they receive lawful permanent resident status, the green card merely serves as proof of that status. The card in itself is not your status, and therefore when a green card expires a person’s status as a lawful permanent resident does not necessarily expire.
However, if a person is a conditional permanent resident it is important to remember that your residency expires at the same time that the green card does. The status as a conditional resident and the expiration of the green card happen to be the same amount of time. So even though the green card and resident status are not linked, they both expire at the same time. A conditional permanent resident will need these conditions removed in order to remain in the United States after the expiration of a two-year green card.
What Happens When a Green Card Expires?
For lawful permanent residents with a 10-year green card, there are significant downsides to letting a green card expire. First, it is technically against the law to be a permanent resident and not be in possession of a valid green card. It can result in arrest, fines, and a jail term of up to 30 days as a misdemeanor offense. An expired green card can also cause problems for employment, travel, and more.
Lawful permanent residents may have substantial difficulty finding a new job with an expired green card, as employers are required to submit a Form I-9 for all new employees verifying eligibility to work in the United States. As part of the I-9, a lawful permanent resident must show proof of a valid green card. In addition, international travel is restricted for lawful permanent residents who have an expired green card. A person traveling internationally could be denied reentry to the United States if their green card is expired until expensive re-entry fees are paid.
Can You be Deported Because of an Expired Green Card?
To learn more about what happens when a green card expires, call the office or contact The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum & Associates to schedule a consultation of your immigration legal needs today.