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.

Naturalization

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.

Thinking of renewing your green card? FileRight.com can help simplify the process. Thinking about naturalization? Find out the benefits or start your application now.