A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) needs a Green Card to live and work in the United States. Now, this is not to say that if a LPR’s Green Card is expired then he/she has lost their Permanent Resident status. A loss of status is accomplished if the person voluntarily gave up their status or acted in a way that is contrary to one who wants to be a LPR of the United States, such as returning to their country of origin, indefinitely and/or permanently.
Once a Green Card has been issued, it is valid for 10 years. The expiration date is printed on the front side of card. Upon expiration, it must be renewed because it serves as identification. The Green Card is official documentation of LPR status. Without the Green Card, it is difficult to prove permanent residency, and this affects one’s ability to travel or to prove eligibility to work in the United States.
To renew the Green Card, a LPR must complete and file Form I-90 with USCIS. A LPR can only file the renewal application if his/her card expires within the next six months or the card has actually expired.
It is important to note that a Conditional Resident (CR) is not a LPR. For example, if a foreign national became a CR through a marriage to a United States Citizen or LPR, and the marriage is less than two years old at the time residence is granted, the foreign national will receive conditional resident status with the conditional residence card expiring in two years. The spouse-petitioner files Form I-751 to remove the conditions 90 days prior to the expiration date on the conditional residence card. Once the conditions are removed, the CR becomes a LPR. After 10 years, the Green Card will expire and he/she will file the I-90.
Bottom Line: Pay attention to the expiration date, and seek the advice of an attorney if you have questions and your case and need help with the process.