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Will I Get a 2-Year Green Card or a 10-Year Green Card?

"Our marriage-based green card has been taking a long time. Will I get a two year green card or a 10 year green card?"

Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Today's question comes actually from a client named Muhammad and he asked if I could shoot a video. I answered his question by email, but I did think the question was worthy of a video and so I'm making this quick one to help fill you in on how this works.

So what we're talking about today are marriage-based cases. So this could be either a marriage-based adjustment of status case where the foreign national is married to a US citizen or green card holder and is here in the United States, or they're overseas and they're going to consular process and then when they come to the United States, they'll get a two-year green card.

Now, Mohammed's case has been pending for almost over three years now, and so he's obviously been married longer than three years because his case couldn't pend unless he was actually married. So we know that Mohammad's been married for more than three years and he wants to know when he comes to the United States, if his case is approved, will he get a two-year green card or a 10-year green card. And he was a little bit worried about whether he'd applied for the right category of cases.

Well, he filed the I-130 and that's all he needs to do, because the USCIS and the state department will do their own analysis as to whether or not the person has been married more than two years. And so remember, the two-year green card is the way that immigration cuts down on immigration fraud and what they want to do is they want to ... For people who've been married less than two years at the time that the green card is issued, they get a two-year conditional green card and at the end of those two years, they have to file an I-751 petition to remove conditions and demonstrate that the marriage is still valid.

There are exceptions to that, but that's the general way that those things go. So, Mohammed's wondering, "Well, now my case has been pending three years. When I arrive in the United States, am I going to get a 10-year green card or a two-year green card?" Well good news for Mohammad, he's going to get a 10-year green card. Now, that doesn't speed up the time that he can apply for citizenship, but it is going to avoid filing fees and it's sort of a little reward for him having waited so darn long for his green card visa case to be approved. So it's just pure math. If on the date that the green card is issued, the couple has been married less than two years, then they get a conditional green card. If they've been married more than two years on the date that the green card is issued, it should be a 10-year green card.

Now, you'd be surprised how often they make mistakes in this regard. Sometimes they screw up the date, sometimes they give a 10-year green card when they should've given a two-year green card or vice versa. So if that has happened, you need to give us a call at 314-961-8100, we can explain to you what has to happen next. Usually, you're probably going to have to file an I-90 for a replacement green card. Hopefully you won't have to pay the filing fees because hopefully, it's their mistake, but just keep that in mind.

So if you liked this video, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and share it out on social. Make sure that you find us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home, and if you have any videos or questions that you'd like for us to shoot, just email us at [email protected]. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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