Published March 28, 2015


With the unveiling of a new electronic filing option for eligible applicants looking to renew their permanent resident, or “green” cards (see below for link information), I am reminded of the most common questions clients present when it comes to the legal implications of a soon expiring, or already expired, card.   Importantly, the discussion below specifically does NOT include the rules and processes for renewing the 2 year “conditional” green card which is issued mainly to applicants obtaining resident status based on a recent marriage.   

If my green card expires, does my status as a permanent resident terminate?

No. You will remain a permanent resident no matter how long your card has been expired.  It’s just that you will not have current evidence of your status.

My green card is expiring, and I want to become a U.S. citizen.  Must I have a current green card throughout the citizenship application process, and in order to be eligible for naturalization?

No.   It does not make a lot of sense to pay the fee to renew your green card if you are looking to become a U.S. citizen.   Further, if proof of resident status is needed while the citizenship application is pending – say for purposes of employment or international travel – a permanent resident stamp can be affixed in your valid passport by visiting your local DHS/CIS office, by way of an INFOPASS appointment.  That stamp will serve as temporary evidence of resident status while you await completion of the naturalization process.      DHS/CIS will require the applicant to present their expired green card,  valid passport and a copy of their receipt for their N-400 Application for Naturalization in order to issue the stamp.

What if I am waiting on the processing of my I-90 application and renewed green card issuance and need to travel internationally?

Same process as above regarding stamp in passport, except that the applicant will present their receipt for the I-90 application.

How long does DHS/CIS take to process an I-90 application for green card renewal?

These days it’s approximately 9 months, although with the new E-Filing protocols, applicants may (or may not) see a quicker turn around.   Information on the new I-90 electronic filing program can be found at

PUBLISHED March 28, 2015– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2015, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois