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Expired Green Card: Can I still apply for American citizenship?

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An expired Green Card can bring you complications when carrying out important procedures. However, you can still apply for American citizenship if you rectify your situation.

If you are considering starting the procedures to apply for American citizenship, it is important to take into account your immigration status. If you have an expired Green Card, don’t worry, there are several options to rectify the situation and be able to make the corresponding request.

Officially, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) indicates the requirement of a valid Green Card to apply for American citizenship. Proof of permanent resident status is required from applicants.

However, immigration law does not specifically require a current Green Card (temporarily) to establish eligibility for naturalization. For this reason, at Lopez Immigration we tell you how to start the procedures to apply for American citizenship despite having an expired Green Card.

How to apply for American citizenship if I have an expired Green Card?

In the first place, there is the option of carrying out the two corresponding procedures: the renewal of the expired Green Card and the application for citizenship. This could take more than a year and be quite expensive. For some people, the cost ​​can be a barrier to beginning the process of applying for American citizenship with an expired permanent resident card.

If you still want to do both, the current USCIS fee to renew an expired Green Card is $540, and $725 to apply for naturalization. The sum of the costs of both procedures gives a total of $1,265.

However, if a person has an expired Green Card they do not lose their immigration status, they continue to be a permanent resident of the United States. However, it can still be an impediment for most practical uses and it is highly recommended to just renew it in time.

Although USCIS prefers a valid and current Green Card, this does not mean that they will reject or deny an application for naturalization with an expired Green Card. Every day, many citizenship applicants successfully file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, with an expired or soon-to-expire Green Card.

What if my expired Green Card is a conditional Green Card?

The situation is also different if the out-of-date Green Card is a conditional green card. If you obtained conditional residency through marriage to a US citizen, the initial green card issued to you will be valid for only two years. The expiration of the Green Card is, in fact, the expiration date of the conditional status.

To avoid expiration, you must file Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions) with your spouse as a conditional resident within 90 days before your card expires. There are some exceptions for petitioners who can no longer petition with a spouse due to divorce or death.

People who have obtained permanent resident status through marriage to a US citizen can generally apply for naturalization after only three years. But first, they must file Form I-751. If you need help knowing what visa programs are available to you, you want to speed up your immigration process, or if you are looking for legal advice to make the United States your new home, Lopez Immigration can help you!

For what other reasons should I renew an expired Green Card?

Even if you are not applying for citizenship, there are many reasons to renew an expired Green Card:


To travel abroad, you will need valid and current proof of your permanent resident status to re-enter the United States. An Green Card that has expired is no longer valid for re-entry. Ultimately, it is the decision of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel to allow you to enter the country or not. At best, you will be subject to a significant delay and possible re-entry fee.

Home Loans

Most mortgage lenders require a current, unexpired Green Card before they will allow you to borrow money for a home. Since it can take 8-10 months to renew an expired Green Card, the delay generally ruins your chance to purchase the desired property (guidelines may vary by lender).

Driver’s License

Many states will not renew a driver’s license without the applicant possessing an expired Green Card. The Department of Motor Vehicles will request a valid and current Green Card to be able to carry out the process and obtain the license. It is also important to know that an expired Green Card can mean the loss of driving privileges during the time it takes to renew.


The government requires all employers to verify the immigration status of their employees and applicants and the work permit required to work in the United States. As a permanent resident, your proof is the Green Card. With an expired Green Card, it is difficult to prove your right to work. Most employers will not wait for you while you renew your expired Green Card.

There are many reasons to keep your permanent resident status current and current. Therefore, if you are considering US citizenship, we recommend that you file Form N-400 before your Green Card expires. This will prevent other complications associated with not having valid proof of permanent resident status.

If you are in need of immigration legal advice, do not hesitate to contact us! At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we have wide experience in immigration proceedings, family law, and personal injury and have successfully defended our clients for over 10 years. Contact us through our website or give us a call at 281-606-0800!

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