We serve immigration clients nationwide. Contact Us to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers today.

Green Card

New Guidance On Entering the US With An Expired Green Card

USCIS laws require U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPR) to carry a valid Green Card at all times. There are many logistical reasons why a Green Card might expire and the LPR is unable to get it renewed on time – most recently, the global COVID pandemic. With USCIS offices closed and backlogged, many Green Cards expired despite the individual’s best efforts to renew it on time. Expired Green Cards can cause problems for LPRs trying to reenter the United States.

1. Traveling outside the United States with an expired Green Card can prevent the person from boarding an airplane to the U.S. Federal law requires airlines to check for proof of permanent residence before boarding.

2. To re-enter the United States, the Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officer requires proof of your lawful permanent resident status. An expired Green Card is not considered valid proof. At the discretion of the CBP officer, you could be refused entry or charged with an expensive re-entry fee.

CBP issued guidance to airlines on April 9, 2021, regarding lawful permanent residents (LPRs) attempting to board a flight to the United States with an expired Green Card:

Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) with an expired I-551 may be boarded provided the card was issued with a 10-year expiration date.

• Starting in January 2021, the sticker that is currently issued to LPRs to extend the validity of their PRC was discontinued. The revised I-797 receipt notice, together with an applicant’s PRC, can serve as temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status for 12 months from the expiration date on the front of the Green Card.

• A Conditional Resident with an expired PRC with a two-year expiration date can be boarded if they also are in possession of a Notice of Action (Form I-797). Travelers who are unable to show Form I-797 cannot be boarded.

CBP also said that “airlines should not be determining admissibility of a traveler outside the parameters of the document requirements and must check with the appropriate government agency.”

Are You a Green Card Holder Who Will Be Traveling Outside the US?

Currently, Green Card renewals can take 8-10 months to process – or more. If you are an LPR and plan to travel outside the United States

• and your Green Card is scheduled to expire in less than 12 months

• and/or you plan to be outside of the U.S. for more than a year

you should consult an immigration attorney. You need to be physically present in the United States when the application is filed. and for biometrics processing.

Call Us about Entering the U.S. With an Expired Green Card

An experienced immigration lawyer can prevent problems before they happen, protect your rights and help you resolve your immigration problems. Godoy Law Office serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties. To get started on your case, reach out online to schedule a consultation with one of the experienced immigration attorneys today.  


Lead Counsel Rated
Illinois State Bar Association
American Immigration Lawyers Association