General Advisory and Update: Returning to the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident upon expiration of your Green Card, I-551 stamp or Travel Permit
A common dilemma occurs when a lawful permanent resident travels abroad and his or her green card, temporary stamp or travel authorization expires. Without an unexpired document evidencing lawful permanent residence, the person may be placed in removal proceedings at the airport. If the resident's document does expire while abroad, then he or she may apply for a Returning Resident visa at the U.S. Consulate abroad. As a part of this application, the resident must establish that he or she did not intend to abandon the residence.
There are some new filing procedures for this application. For example, the consulate or embassy will require you to attend a personal interview. If you are a permanent resident whose resident alien card or other evidence of lawful permanent residence has expired during your travel abroad, consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately.