What if USCIS sends me a ten-year Green Card by mistake? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.
When you file for a marriage-based Green Card if you’re married to a US citizen or a Green Card holder, and your marriage is less than two years old on the date that the Green Card is issued, then you should receive a two-year conditional Green Card. But sometimes the USCIS mistakenly sends a ten-year Green Card. This happens more than you would think.
Now, it’s really a black letter rule, and the question that people often ask is, what happens in this scenario? They want to know, how exactly do I tell when I’m supposed to get a two-year versus when I’m supposed to get a ten-year Green Card? I think that’s important to understand in order to get to the second part of today’s video.
The important thing to remember is that if you receive your Green Card, and if you haven’t been married two years on the date that the Green Card is issued, it’s not when your interview is, it’s not when you filed, it’s when the Green Card is issued, and that’s after your case has been approved. let’s say you got married on July 1st, 2020, and the Green Card is issued on May 15th, 2022. You would get a two-year Green Card. But if it’s done a month later, after the two-year anniversary of your marriage, then you should get a ten-year Green Card. But you’d be surprised to find out the USCIS often messes this up and sometimes sends our clients a ten-year Green Card instead of a two-year Green Card. Then the question becomes, what do I do?
Well, you could immediately file a I-90 to get a replacement Green Card. In that scenario, you would say, “Look, USCIS, you guys made a big mistake. This isn’t my fault. You should’ve given me a two-year Green Card.” You probably want to do that. The reason you want to do that is because you want to keep your immigration file clean. You don’t want it to get all messed up. What you also don’t want to do is to never file for a removal of condition.
The main takeaway from this video is if you do get a ten-year Green Card by mistake, you need to treat it as if it is a two-year Green Card. At that one year and nine month mark, i.e. in those last three months of your two-year Green Card, you need to file an I-751, just like you would if USCIS had provided you with a two-year Green Card. In other words, you don’t get a pass. You don’t have to skip the I-751 just because USCIS forgot to give you a two-year Green Card and instead gave you a ten-year Green Card. The burden is on you to keep your immigration record clean and your immigration history clean. If you try to apply for citizenship at some future date, and you’ve never removed those conditions, you could find yourself in a little bit of trouble. The naturalization case would most likely be denied or at least administratively closed. In theory, you could get put into removal for never having removed conditions, even though it was the USCIS’s mistake in the first place in giving you the ten-year Green Card. Don’t think you got away with something. Don’t try to be too cute. Just go ahead and notify them that they sent you the wrong Green Card, that it should’ve been a two-year Green Card, and then here you are filing a timely I-751 petition to remove conditions on lawful permanent residence.
Hope that makes sense. We can help you with it if it doesn’t. Give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us, [email protected] Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you liked this video, we ask you to please share it out on social, that you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and that you join with us every Tuesday and Thursday, usually at noon Central, where I try to answer as many of your immigrant law related questions as possible in under 60 minutes. Thanks a lot and have a great day.