I Need to Travel Abroad but my Green Card is Expired!

Re-entry to the United States after travel abroad requires valid, unexpired proof of permanent residence -- Here's the solution.

Officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, your green card is physical proof of your right to live and work in the United States. It's also an essential document for re-entering the United States after a trip abroad. An expired green card will generally cause a delay, may require the payment of a steep re-entry fee, and can potentially create more significant immigration problems. Even if you start the green card renewal process, it can take 8 to 10 months! Don't travel abroad with an expired green card. There is a solution to help you depart for your trip on time. Even if you've list your card, we provide a solution below.
travel abroad with an expired green card

How to Obtain Proof of Permanent Residence When Your Green Card is Expired

Form I-90 processing times takes over 8 months. You may need more urgent proof of permanent resident status to travel abroad, renew a driver’s license, get a new job, or apply for a mortgage. In these cases, you can get temporary proof. Follow these steps to quickly get proof of permanent residence so that you don't have to travel abroad with an expired green card.



Prepare and File Form I-90

To renew a green card, you'll need to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, and a $540 filing fee with USCIS. You may download the application directly from USCIS.gov and prepare it on your own. Or use CitizenPath.com. We provide a low-cost service that helps you prepare the application in about 15 minutes. The service helps to eliminate common I-90 errors, delays and rejections. We even guarantee USCIS approval.



Get Your I-90 Receipt

After receiving and accepting your application for processing, USCIS will mail you Form I-797, Notice of Action. It may take 2 to 4 weeks for them to mail the document. This “receipt letter” contains your receipt number.

Starting in January 2021, USCIS will also begin providing your temporary evidence of permanent resident status on this letter. Individuals who filed Form I-90 with a card that expires less than one year in the future, may use the letter in combination with the expired card. The letter will say, "This notice provides evidence of your lawful permanent resident status for 12 months from the expiration date on your Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card). You remain authorized to work and travel. This notice, presented with your expired Permanent Resident Card, is evidence of your status and work authorization."

I-797 receipt letter

So what if your card has been expired more than one year? Or what if you lost your card? When filing Form I-90, also submit Form G-1145. You'll receive a text or email notification within 24 hours of USCIS accepting your application. This notification (or the receipt letter described above) contains your receipt number that you'll need for the next step.



Schedule a USCIS Appointment

Call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 to make an appointment at the USCIS office near you. Stress the urgency of your situation. If you already have travel booked for a specific date, tell the USCIS agent. Be ready to use your tickets as evidence. Get creative. If you have a sick relative, try to get a doctor's note or other evidence demonstrating the situation and urgent need to travel. You may need your paper receipt letter. Therefore, take it if possible.

Some offices are very busy and appointments may not be convenient. Be flexible.



Attend USCIS Appointment for Sticker or Stamp

Appear at your local USCIS office for the scheduled appointment. Be sure to take the following items to the appointment:

  • Most recent green card (if lost, take a valid, unexpired passport)
  • InfoPass appointment notice (if possible)
  • Form I-797 Notice of Action (I-90 receipt letter)
  • Evidence of urgent need (e.g. airline tickets/receipt, doctor’s letter about sick relative or death certificate)
With evidence that you've started the green card renewal process and the urgent need for travel abroad, the USCIS officer can give you temporary proof of your status. The officer will generally place a sticker on your green card that extends it's validity for an additional year. If your green card is lost, the officer can add an I-551 stamp in your passport. Use the stamp like a green card to reenter the United States after travel abroad.

Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

Lawful permanent residents use Form I-90, (Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card) to renew a green card. Each year, USCIS rejects or denies thousands of I-90 applications that don't satisfy the requirements. Therefore, it's important to get it right.
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I-90 forms were filed*
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How CitizenPath Helps You Renew a Green Card before Travel Abroad

CitizenPath's self-directed service makes preparing USCIS forms easy. Designed by lawyers, our platform will help you eliminate the common errors that create delays, rejections and even denials. The affordable service also provides alerts if you answer a question in a way that might be a problem. We'll make sure you meet all the requirements before applying. Don't travel abroad with an expired green card. It will likely cost you more in the long run.

The online service is a powerful, do-it-yourself tool that puts you in control. And we've got your back -- CitizenPath provides live customer support and guarantees that USCIS will approve your application.

package to prepare i-90 green card renewal before traveling abroad

Frequently Asked Questions