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I forgot to renew my green card!

The immigration law attorneys at Antonini & Cohen are experienced in advising lawful permanent residents who forgot to renew their green card, are planning extended trips abroad, or need to avoid green card abandonment

First of all, don’t panic. This question comes up frequently, and everyone wants to know what it means if you didn’t renew your 10-year permanent resident card before the expiration date. The short answer is that just because your proof of permanent residency expired, it does not mean that your permanent resident status was terminated. So, it is possible to apply for a new permanent resident card even if your card has expired.

With that being said, there are several concerns that people have and we have the answers below.

Three green card concerns answered

1. What if my driver’s license expires during the time that I am waiting for my new card to arrive? Most states in the US do not allow you to renew your driver’s license unless you can demonstrate you are in possession of current documentation of your valid immigration status. If your application for a new green card is pending, you can make an INFOPASS appointment at to go to your local USCIS office and receive a stamp in your passport showing you are a lawful permanent resident. You will need to present the receipt for your pending green card renewal along with your passport to receive this stamp. Most state driver’s license agencies will accept this as proof of valid status so that you can renew your driver’s license.

2. What if I have a criminal record? Will the government try to deport me when I try to renew my green card? If a criminal record is the reason you are delaying renewing your green card, it is a good idea to contact an immigration lawyer. Not every criminal conviction affects your immigration status, but only a lawyer can determine the effect of your particular criminal record. Your lawyer will help you assess the risk of filing and advise you of any supporting steps available to limit the risk of being placed in removal proceedings.

3. What if I am outside of the US? Can I still renew my green card? You must apply to renew your card while you are physically inside the US. If you are out for a short trip and realize that you accidentally traveled with an expired green card, the border officers should provide you with the necessary forms to renew your status at your time of entry as well as lawfully admit a bona fide permanent resident back into the US.