If you are a legal permanent resident of the U.S., your green card undoubtedly has an expiration date. While it makes sense to apply for an unexpired card before yours expires, your legal permanent residency probably does not expire. That is, regardless of your card’s expiration date, you are likely a legal permanent resident forever.
There is an exception to this rule, though. If you are a conditional resident and have a two-year green card, you must take steps to extend your residency. After all, failing to do so may cause immigration officials to try to deport you from the country.
10-year green cards
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, all legal permanent residents must have their green cards with them at all times. If you let your card expire, you may be guilty of a misdemeanor offense. You also may have trouble reentering the U.S. with an expired green card after traveling abroad.
Conditional green cards
If you have conditional residency and a two-year green card, you must apply to remove the conditions on your residency before the card expires. Your immigration attorney can help you with this, but it is important not to let your green card lapse. If you do, you may lose your conditional residency and have to depart the U.S.
Either way, it makes a great deal of sense never to allow your green card to expire. Ultimately, by making a timely application for a new card, you can avoid unnecessarily complicating matters for yourself and your family.