All permanent residents of the United States are recipients of a green card. These immigrants have the option of continuing to renew their card or become a citizen when eligible. The document typically expires every ten years. If a permanent resident fails to renew their card before the expiration here are a few things you can expect.
Change to Status
An expired green card does NOT change your status as a legal permanent resident. In the eyes of the government, it is proof of that legal status.
Having an expired green card can, however, cause problems.
Breaking the law
According to the law, green card holders over 18 years old who let their card expire, “shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.”
Travel and employment
You may also have trouble returning to the United States if traveling abroad. Job applications also require an active green card.
If you are eligible to apply for naturalization USCIS’ official stance is you can do so if your green card is six months or more from its expiration. If it is, you do not have to renew but you can if you need to. To renew you would fill out a form I-90 “Application to replace permanent resident card”.
If you apply for naturalization less than six months before your green card expires or if you apply after it has expired you are required to renew it, according to USCIS.