You're not a citizen of the United States, but you're interested in becoming a permanent resident. You know that will give you the right to work legally and to start the career you've always dreamed of. You also know it means you'll be able to live in the country without the fear of deportation.
But does it really last forever? Is permanent status as permanent as the name implies?
You can lose the status, but it doesn't run out automatically. For instance, you may choose to abandon. Changing your mind doesn't give you the status back automatically. The status could also be revoked by the government. This is rare, but it is possible.
However, your residency doesn't expire. Once you have that status, unless some direct action takes it away, you have it for life.
So, you may be wondering, why does the card have an expiration date? Every time you get one, the card expires after 10 years.
The expiration date is just for the card itself. After all, it contains a picture and other identifying information, something like a driver's license. The government wants to update that information and that photo every decade. That's why the card expires. You should get it renewed as soon as you can, but your actual status remains, even if you have an expired card. Forgetting to update it doesn't mean you're no longer allowed to live or work in the U.S.
If you're thinking about applying for residency, be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take to do so successfully.
Source: University of California, San Francisco, "What Is a Permanent Resident?," accessed Oct. 05, 2017