Did you know that if you have a 2-year Conditional Green Card, you must apply for a 10-year Green Card to keep your permanent residency and obtain additional benefits? Within 90 days of the Conditional Green Card expiration date, you must apply to remove the conditions on your Green Card if you want to retain permanent residency. Read on to learn more about the removal of conditions process and how to apply so you can continue building a life in the U.S.!
Overview of the 2-year and 10-year Green Cards
A Green Card is the document you receive once you have successfully been granted Lawful Permanent Resident status by USCIS. There are two types of Green Cards: the 2-year and 10-year Green Card. The 2-year Green Card, also known as the Conditional Permanent Resident Card or Temporary Green Card, allows for foreign nationals who have been married to U.S. Citizens, for less than 2 years on the day in which they receive their Green Card, to gain Conditional Permanent Residence. When the 2-year Green Card expires, the holder cannot get another 2-year Green Card. Instead, they must apply for a removal of conditions on their permanent residency to become a 10-year Green Card holder. If 2-year Green Card holders do not apply for removal of conditions, then they will lose their Lawful Permanent Resident status and possibly face deportation.
The 10-year Green Card gives the holder the same benefits as the 2-year Green Card does, such as allowing the Green Card holder to work, travel, and be a permanent resident. However, the 10-year Green Card differs in its conditions on renewability and the time of validity. The 10-year Green Card is more commonly known as the Lawful Permanent Residence Card because it can be renewed every ten years, and it allows the holder to stay in the U.S. for a significantly longer period. Additionally, once you have the 10-year Green Card, if you are married to a U.S. Citizen, you can apply for citizenship three years from the date when you were first issued the conditional Green Card.
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Benefits of Removing Conditions and Transitioning to a 10-year Green Card
Transitioning to a 10-year Green Card has some important benefits for Green Card holders who are successfully granted a removal of conditions. The primary benefits to obtaining a 10-year Green Card are as follows:
- You can always renew your Green Card and maintain your permanent residency;
- The card is valid for 10 years instead of 2;
- You will not be subject to removal from the U.S.;
- You can work, travel, and petition for your children; and
- You can apply for citizenship after 5 years of permanent residency or 3 years, if married to a U.S. Citizen.
How to Apply for Removal of Conditions
If you want to apply for a removal of conditions on your 2-year Green Card, you must file the proper petition within the 90 days prior to the expiration date of your Green Card. To file for removal of conditions for a marriage-based Green Card, you will need to have your immigration attorney file Form I-751 with your spouse. This is a joint petition by you and your spouse; you are demonstrating to USCIS that you are still married and have a bona fide marriage, because the original Green Card was based on marriage. Therefore, you will be required to submit documentation proving your identity, residence, and marriage to your spouse.
If you are divorced or in the process of divorcing your spouse, you can seek out a waiver that will allow you to still apply. You can also get a waiver if you have a pending Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Green Card case that will allow you to apply without your abusive spouse.
Including a Child Dependent
If your children were dependents on your initial Green Card application, they will also have conditional 2-year Green Cards. If they did receive a 2-year Green Card at the same time that you did, you may include them as a dependent on your removal of conditions application. However, your child will need to file a separate Form I-751 if they received their 2-year Green Card after you. Additionally, you may need to pay extra fees for your dependent children. Your immigration attorney will help you determine the correct applications and fees for your children who need to remove the conditions on their Green Card.
If you have a 2-year Green Card and are interested in removing the conditions to get the 10-year Green Card, please contact us for an assessment. We will help you navigate the process and secure your permanent residence in the United States.