Although you can work with an expired green card, it’s extremely difficult to start a new job with an expired green card. As a permanent resident, you may lawfully work in the United States. The problem is that when your green card expires, you can no longer prove your immigration status. That’s why it’s important to renew your green card on time.
Accepting New Employment with an Expired Green Card
It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain new employment with an expired green card. U.S. employers are required by law to confirm that all new hires are authorized to work in the U.S. To satisfy this requirement, you must provide valid proof of your permanent resident status. Generally, this means you must present an unexpired green card.
When you start a new job, your employer will most likely ask you to complete a Form I-9. The Form I-9 is an employment verification document that the employer uses to verify your identity and employment authorization. The employer must review a physical copy of your valid green card. The employer cannot legally accept a photocopy or expired card.
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Existing Work with an Expired Green Card
When your green card expires, your status as a U.S. permanent resident does not expire. If you are employed at the time your green card expires, there’s no reason for you to inform your employer. What’s more, there’s no reason that your employer should ask you for an updated green card. Therefore, if you’ve been continuously employed with the same organization since completing your original I-9, your employer should not re-verify a green card even if it is known to have expired.
Of course, nobody has complete job security. It’s always a possibility that you’ll be looking for a new job in the near future. You might even get an unexpected job offer. Without valid proof of your permanent resident status, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to accept new employment.
In fact, during the recent Coronavirus economic downturn, many permanent residents had trouble obtaining unemployment benefits because they were missing key information from their green card.
How can resolve this quickly?
To renew (or replace) a green card, permanent residents must file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. However, it may take approximately six months to get the new card. There may be a solution to help you work with an expired green card.
Once you’ve filed Form I-90, USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment. At this routine appointment, most USCIS offices will offer a sticker to place on your expired green card. The sticker extends the validity so that you can accept new employment. The biometrics appointment generally gets scheduled about 4-6 weeks after filing Form I-90. Need it faster?
If you cannot wait for the biometrics appointment or perhaps you’ve lost your card altogether. In this case you may be able to obtain an “I-551” stamp in your passport. You must have a valid, unexpired passport from your home country. Schedule an appointment at your local USCIS office. Take your passport and the I-797C, Notice of Action, that you received by mail approximately 1-2 weeks after filing Form I-90. The USCIS officer should be able to provide an I-551 stamp inside your passport. This stamp serves as valid proof of your permanent residence and can be used to accept new work, even with the expired green card. Download a detailed description of the I-551 process.