Traveling with an Expired Green Card

Traveling with an expired green card can be risky. If you are caught, you could be detained and deported. Learn the risks and how to avoid them.

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Introduction

If your Green Card has expired, you can still travel within the United States. However, you will need to take some extra steps to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip.

Before you travel, make sure to:

-Renew your Green Card. You can do this by mail or in person at a USCIS office.
-Get a travel document from USCIS. This will authorize you to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad.
-Carry your expired Green Card and travel document with you when you travel.

When you return to the United States, make sure to:
-Present your expired Green Card and travel document to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the airport or other port of entry.
-Be prepared to answer questions about your trip and explain why you are returning with an expired Green Card.

What is an expired green card?

An expired green card is a Permanent Resident Card that has not been renewed or has expired. If you have an expired green card, you are still considered a lawful permanent resident of the United States. However, if you are caught traveling outside of the United States with an expired green card, you may be subject to removal proceedings and may not be allowed to reenter the United States.

What are the consequences of traveling with an expired green card?

If you are a legal permanent resident of the United States (green card holder), you are allowed to travel outside of the country for temporary trips. However, if your green card expires while you are outside of the United States, you may have difficulty returning.

If your green card has expired, you will need to get a new one before returning to the United States. You can apply for a new green card at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. In some cases, you may be able to apply for a new green card through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

If you try to return to the United States without a valid green card, you will be deemed inadmissible and may be denied entry into the country. Additionally, if you are found to have willfully violated the terms of your green card (for example, by working unauthorized hours), you may be subject to removal proceedings and could be deported from the United States.

Can you renew your green card while outside the United States?

If your green card expires while you are outside the United States, you may still be able to renew it. However, you will need to submit your application for renewal to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that serves the area where you live.

Before you leave the United States, make sure to check the expiration date on your green card. If it is close to expiring, you may want to renew it before you travel. To renew your green card, you will need to submit a Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

If your green card expires while you are outside the United States, you will need to submit your application for renewal to the USCIS office that serves the area where you live. You will not be able to renew your green card at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

If you are unable to renew your green card before it expires, you may still be eligible for a “reentry permit” if you meet certain requirements. A reentry permit allows you to temporarily remain in the United States after traveling abroad for up to two years. To apply for a reentry permit, you will need to submit a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.

What if you are detained by immigration authorities while traveling with an expired green card?

If you are detained by immigration authorities while traveling with an expired green card, you may be placed in removal proceedings and subject to a hearing before an immigration judge. If the judge finds that you are removable from the United States, you will be required to leave the country.

What if you are denied boarding by an airline because your green card is expired?

An expired green card is not valid proof of U.S. permanent residency and you may be denied boarding if you try to travel with an airline using this document. However, if you have a valid passport from your country of citizenship, you may be able to board the plane and present the passport along with the expired green card to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon arrival in the United States. If CBP allows you to enter the United States, you will be granted a temporary stay of up to one year. After that, you will need to renew your green card to remain in the United States lawfully.

What if you are stopped by police while traveling with an expired green card?

If you are stopped by police while traveling with an expired green card, you may be asked to show proof of your legal status in the United States. If you cannot provide proof, you may be detained and placed in removal proceedings. It is important to have a valid green card at all times when traveling outside the United States.

Conclusion

If your green card has expired, you can still travel within the United States. However, you will need to carry a few extra documents with you to prove your status. These include a copy of your expired green card, proof of your current immigration status, and a letter from USCIS explaining the reasons for your delay in renewing your card. It is also a good idea to travel with contact information for an immigration attorney in case you are questioned by authorities.

Resources

If your green card expires while you are traveling outside the United States, you will need to obtain a new one before returning. It is advisable to apply for a new card as soon as possible, as it can take several months to process.

There are a few resources that can help you if you find yourself in this situation. The first is the US Embassy or Consulate in the country you are visiting. They can provide you with information on how to apply for a new card.

Another resource is the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website. This site has a wealth of information on all aspects of immigration, including how to apply for a new green card.

Finally, there are numerous private organizations that specialize in assisting immigrants with the visa and green card process. These organizations can usually be found online or in major cities with large immigrant populations.

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