Can I Apply for Citizenship With an Expired Green Card?
Are you wondering if you can apply for citizenship with an expired green card? We have an answer, but let’s start at the beginning.
Part of the U.S. citizenship process involves obtaining a permanent residence card, more commonly known as a green card. While your status as a permanent resident never expires, the card confirming that you are a permanent resident of the United States does. A non-conditional green card is valid for ten years before it needs to be renewed, but again, your status as a permanent resident does not change.
Since part of the U.S. citizenship process involves being a permanent resident for a specific amount of time, it is natural to wonder if you can apply for citizenship with an expired green card. For instance, if the card expires during the citizenship application process, what then?
Yes, you can apply for citizenship with an expired green card, but you probably want to renew your green card just to be safe.
Well, it is important to remember that the card is only evidence of your status, not the status itself. With that in mind, you can still be approved for citizenship with an expired green card. However, it is still important to know what happens when your green card expires. In some cases, residents will wait to hear from the USCIS about their citizenship applications before renewing their card. If you’re uncomfortable with that, though, you can always renew your card during the process and that is perfectly fine.
One important thing to remember, though, is that by law, permanent residents are required to have their green cards on them at all times. The penalty for violating this law can be deportation or denied entry to the U.S. in certain circumstances. Thus, it is safer to renew your green card if you are unsure. Additionally, having a valid green card will make it easier to apply for jobs and travel outside of the United States.
So, no, it is not absolutely necessary to have a valid green card when applying for citizenship. However, it is much safer to renew your card and carry it with you anyway to avoid any potential legal complications. You can apply for citizenship with an expired green card, it is just not advised that you do so.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about applying for U.S. citizenship or checking their eligibility for the benefits of these paths, our blog is a great place to find up to date information and useful resources. Additionally, if your case is more complex and you would like to speak with a licensed immigration attorney, you can learn more about the benefits of an initial consultation before deciding on the best path for you here.