It can be nerve-wracking when your green card expires. Besides finding it hard to re-enter the country, get a job, etc., you may be wondering if you can still stay in the country and apply for citizenship in Connecticut. The short answer is yes. Here’s how to do it.
Meet the eligibility requirements
To apply for citizenship in the United States, you must be 18 years of age or older, have good moral character, be able to read, write and speak basic English, among other requirements. Most importantly, don’t wait for too long if your green card is expired. When caught with an expired green card, you could be prosecuted for a misdemeanor in Connecticut, which could affect your application process.
Renew your green card
You can choose to renew your green card while applying for citizenship or not. However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services prefers applicants with valid green cards. If you decide to renew, you can fill out Form I-90 and send it to USCIS offices in Connecticut by mail. You can download this form from their official website.
If you have a conditional green card, the process changes a bit. Besides renewing it, you will also need to apply to remove the conditions on your card before you start the citizenship process. This involves filing Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, submitting evidence that you are an eligible resident and paying the necessary filing fees.
Start the citizenship process
Fill out Form N-400, which is the USCIS application for naturalization. You will need to pay a non-refundable filing fee of $725 and provide proof of your green card renewal. Afterward, the USCIS will schedule an interview with you where they’ll ask questions about your application and test your English proficiency. They will also take your biometrics, which are fingerprints and photos. If you pass this interview, USCIS will schedule a ceremony where you’ll take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
You can become a citizen with an expired green card. However, it is risky to walk around with an expired green card, and it might even jeopardize your application process, so it’s important to resolve this matter as soon as possible.