Your Green card or the Permanent Resident card is the proof of your legal status in the country. Every Green card comes with an expiry date and you must renew your Green card before it expires. When the Green card expires, it does not mean your status as a permanent resident of this country expires, it just means that the legal document that proves your status has expired and you need to renew it.
Qualifying for work
All employers are required to verify the legal status of anyone they hire - citizen, permanent resident, conditional permanent resident or a visitor with a work visa. So if you are looking for a job, you need to show proof of your legal status here in the United States.
When you join a new job, you will be required to fill a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form, within three days of joining the employment. This is for all new employees regardless of your immigration status, even if you are a citizen. When you complete this form, you have to submit a copy of your valid Green card to prove that you are authorized to work legally in the United States. If you do not possess a valid Green card, your employer cannot accept you as an employee in their establishment.
How can I apply for a new job if my Green card is expired?
If your Green card has expired, the only way you can obtain employment is to get your passport stamped with a temporary I-551. To get this stamp, you need to file a Form I-90, Application for Green Card Renewal, with the USCIS and schedule an appointment for obtaining the I-551 stamp in your foreign passport. This stamp proves to the employer that you have applied for renewing your Green card and the I-551 stamp is accepted proof of your legal status.
If you do not have the I-551 stamp with you at the time of joining a new job, you will not be able to take up the employment. It can take many days to several weeks to obtain an appointment to get your passport stamped with I-551. So it is best that you start your Green card renewal application process as soon as possible to avoid delays in your employment.
Can I continue my job even if my Green card expires?
If you presented your employer with an unexpired Green card when you completed your I-9 form, your employer should not be asking to see your renewed Green card. If you presented a work permit that has an expiration date on it on joining the employment, your employer may ask to show documents that prove you are still authorized to work in the U.S. In this case, you may show any other document that proves you can continue working in the USA. It is always better to renew your Green card before it expires. The process of Green card renewal is a long process and may take several months before you receive your new valid Green card. You can apply for your Green card renewal six months before your current Green card expires.