We are often asked whether an immigrant can apply for naturalization with an expired green card.
Many people in this situation are understandable distraught. Once you have gained a green card it’s tempting to think that’s the end of the story. You may not pay attention to when it will expire.
Often immigrants don’t realize that their green cards have expired until they try to apply for citizenship.
If you have a 10-year green card, and it’s set to expire within six months, you should follow these instructions on how to renew it on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
However, many immigrants who are considering naturalization balk at paying a $450 renewal fee for their green card. The fee includes an application fee and a biometrics fee. These costs are expected to rise even higher in the future.
This can present a quandary for those who are considering citizenship but have stalled on the application. USCIS says if you apply for naturalization six months or more before the expiration date on your card, you don’t have to apply for a new one.
If you make your application for naturalization less than six months before your Permanent Resident Card expired or if you wait until it has expired, USCIS says you must renew your card.
An Attorney Can Helo You if You Have an Expired Green Card
This is the official advice and it makes sense to apply for citizenship at least six months before the expiration of your green card. Ideally, it should be sooner. However, you can successfully file for citizenship if your green card has expired.We would recommend you use an experienced Texas family immigration attorney to help you.
As an immigrant, you don’t lose your permanent resident status if your card expires. You do lose your proof of residency. It is still possible to successfully apply for citizenship with an expired green card.
There are instances in which your green card should be renewed before you apply for naturalization. If you travel out of the United States, you will need a valid green card to get back into the country again.
It makes sense to hire a Texas immigration lawyer to help you deal with USCIS if you have an expired green card. See our resources about citizenship here.