Can I Work With An Expired Green Card?
Although your physical Green Card may expire, your lawful status as a U.S. permanent resident does not. As long as the permanent resident (green card holder) continues to reside in the United States, he or she remains in lawful status, authorized to continue to work in the United States, even if his or her physical Green Card has expired. You can work with an expired Green Card.
To be clear, if you presented an unexpired, valid green card at the time that your I-9 was originally completed, your employer should not be asking to see new documentation unless your employment was terminated and you are being rehired as a new employee. If you have been continuously employed since completing your original I-9, your employer should not be requesting that you present your new green card and should allow you to work with an expired Green Card.
As we detailed above, employers are required by law to confirm that all new hires are authorized to work in the U.S. In order to prove that you are authorized to work, you must present original unexpired documents or a combination of accepted documents as listed within the instructions for form I-9.
Can I Apply For A Job and Work With An Expired Green Card?
When you start a new job, U.S. employers require the applicant to complete a Form I-9. The Form I-9 is an employment verification document that is used to verify an applicant’s identity and permission to work lawfully within the U.S. When completing your I-9 with your new employer, most lawful permanent residents (green card holders) will be required to provide their actual valid green card, not a copy, to satisfy the “List A” document requirements.
It is important to note, that an employer cannot legally accept an expired green card from a job applicant. So although you can continue to work with an expired Green Card, it becomes difficult to apply for a job with an expired green card. To avoid disqualification from a job opportunity or unnecessary delays due to an expired green card, make sure that you have an unexpired green card to present to your new prospective employer before applying for or starting a new job.
If my green card is expired, Can I use an I-551 permanent resident stamp as an acceptable “List A” document?
Some job applicants may have a valid (unexpired) I-551 permanent resident stamp inside their foreign passport. An I-551 is a temporary stamp and is usually only valid for 1 year. If a job applicant has this stamp, they may use their foreign passport with a temporary I-551 stamp as an acceptable “List A” document.
What if I don’t have the stamp?
If you do not currently have a valid I-551 stamp inside your valid passport, you can schedule an appointment with your local USCIS office. Depending on the individual office, it could take several days to several weeks to get your USCIS appointment. Unfortunately, you cannot begin your new employment until you have acquired an I-551 stamp. Also, your new employer does not have to hold your job for you while you wait for your new stamp.
If you or someone you know is interested in checking their eligibility to quickly apply for a green card or renew/replace an expired green card, our immigration resource center 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.