February 4, 2008: Is Green Card With No Expiration Date Still Valid?
Is Green Card With No Expiration Date Still Valid?
I became a permanent resident on November 1, 1989. My green card has no expiration date on it. Is it still valid? Do I need to replace it? Thank you.
This is a very frequent question.
On August 22, 2007, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) published a Proposed Rule that would require the replacement of all permanent resident cards (i.e. green cards) that do not have an expiration date. Green cards were issued without expiration dates prior to August 1989. Resident cards issued prior to 1979 have already been recalled. However, there are many resident cards that were issued between 1979 and 1989 that are still in circulation.
On December 13, 2007, USCIS stated in a press release that it is currently reviewing the 298 comments it received during the 30 day public comment period that immediately followed publication of the Proposed Rule in the Federal Register. USCIS further stated that it cannot provide a time frame as to when it will have completed the review of the public comments or when a Final Rule will be published. As of the date of this response to your question, a Final Rule had not been published. In the meantime, all green cards without expiration dates are deemed valid and can be used as proof of permanent residency when traveling abroad, when seeking employment, and at any other time where such proof is required.
Even though a Final Rule has not been published and there has not been any indication to the public as to when a Final Rule will be published, every permanent resident who has a green card without an expiration date should be thinking about the potential consequences that may result from applying for a new green card. When an individual files Form I-90, Application to Replace Resident Card, that person will be scheduled for an appointment at an Application Support Center (ASC). At that appointment, two things will occur:
* The Applicant’s photograph will be updated for the new card
* The Applicant’s fingerprints will be taken for identity verification and a thorough background check.
The fingerprint check will reveal any and all arrests and/or convictions, some of which may render the Applicant deportable from the United States. Arrests that occurred more than 20 years ago that the Applicant may have forgotten about and had not caused any problems in the past will surface, potentially turning your immigration situation (and entire life) upside down. As such, before anyone applies to replace their permanent resident card should consult an experienced immigration attorney to review their criminal history and discuss the potential risks of applying to renew your green card.
Evan Shane and Michael Shane, Immigration Attorneys