Question: I am married to a U.S. citizen. I am preparing to apply for a green card through marriage. When USCIS approves my application, will I receive a 2-year green card or a 10-year green card?
Answer: Whether you will receive a 2-year green card or a 10-year green card depends on how long you have been married at the time USCIS approves your application. The rule is as follows:
1. If, at the time USCIS approves your green card application, you have been married less than 2 years, USCIS will issue you a 2-year conditional green card.
2. If, at the time USCIS approves your green card application, you have been married for at least 2 years, USCIS will issue you a 10-year “permanent” green card.
What is the difference between a 2-year green card and a 10-year green card?
The rights of a 2-year green card holder and a 10-year green card holder the same. Regardless of whether you have a 2-year green card or a 10-year green card, you have the right to: (1) work in the U.S., (2) leave and enter the U.S., and (3) apply for your unmarried children to receive a U.S. green card or immigrant visa.
Applying to remove conditions on a 2-year green card
If you receive a 2-year conditional green card, you must timely file Form I-751 to apply to remove conditions on your residence. If you fail to file on time, you might be considered to have lost your green card status.
When you file your application to remove conditions on your residence, you must submit evidence to show that you and your spouse are still married and living together. Alternatively, if you and your spouse have divorced, you must submit evidence showing that you and your spouse had a genuine marital relationship before you divorced. If your application is successful, you will receive a 10-year green card.
Should I wait until we have been married for two years before I apply for a green card?
Clients often ask: “Should I wait until my spouse and I have been married for two years before applying for a green card?” Only you can make this decision. If you have only recently married and you do not have any legal status, it is probably a much better idea to apply for your green card now. But if you have already been married for a year, you could consider waiting a few more months before filing your green card application. Remember, the relevant date is how long you were married at the time USCIS approves your application, not at the time you file your application.
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ImmiFree.Law is The Harrison Law Firm P.C.’s online platform to make the family immigration and naturalization process more efficient, accurate, and affordable. Baya Harrison, Esq. is an attorney licensed in New York, Florida, and California. Attorney Harrison has helped numerous individuals and families navigate the U.S. immigration process, specifically family-based petitions and naturalization.