What are the differences between a 10-year Green Card and a two-year Green Card? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States, out of our offices in St. Louis, Missouri and San Diego, California. We’re still down in Florida, which is why my hair looks so crazy. I wish I could show you the beach. Let me see if I can. There’s the beach. Here’s me. Hope that didn’t make you too dizzy.
In today’s video, we’re going to talk about the differences between the two kinds of Green Cards. So most people know that if you get a Green Card based on marriage, that you just get a conditional two-year Green Card if, at the time that the Green Card is issued, you’ve been married less than two years. So if your two-year anniversary has not passed and USCIS issues you a Green Card, it’s going to be a conditional to your Green Card. And at the end of those two years, you’re going to need to file an I-751, a petition to remove the conditions on that Green Card.
And so some people have been getting confused lately. Do I file a 990 at that point? Do I file an I-751. No, to remove the conditions on your two-year Green Card, you file an I-751 and not a 990. A 990 is what’s filed when a mistake is made on your Green Card, when your Green Card never arrives, or when you need a replacement Green Card. Now, once you have your Green Card, you have all the rights and privileges of a ten-year Green Card holder. That is, and the most important one is, that you can sponsor a family member.
So let’s say you came to the United States and you got a Green Card to come to the United States and it’s a conditional Green Card. As soon as you become a lawful permanent resident, as soon as that Green Card is received, you can go ahead and file for your minor children if you want. So if you have a child back in your home country, you want to go ahead and sponsor them, you can do that. Now, sometimes it might be better to have your spouse do that. But the point is that you have all the legal rights of a lawful permanent resident. The only thing is it’s conditional. So you don’t need to think about it too much. Your rights are all the same as that ten-year Green Card holder. It’s just a matter of having to remove the conditions at the end of your two years. And again, you do that by filing the I-751.
You have all the same rights and privileges. You can work in the United States. You can travel. You still need your passport from your home country but you have all the rights to reenter the United States. And you have that status just one rung below citizenship. So obviously, getting a conditional Green Card is a great thing, but a lot of people, I think, think of it too small. And they think, “Oh, I can’t really do anything exotic or apply for other people with my two-year Green Card.” Well, you can, so you don’t have to wait. That’s the most important thing that I wanted to let you know now.
The last thing is, is that people do get confused about that Green Card. They do get confused about what their rights are, and they do get confused about whether they have all the same privileges as a 10-year Green Card holder. But you do. You are on your path to citizenship. You are on your path to getting a 10-year Green Card. And once you get that 10-year Green Card, then you’re really set. You can stay in the United States for the rest of your life. You don’t have to get work cards anymore. You don’t have to get permission to travel. You don’t have to get permission to reenter the United States, as long as you don’t stay out of the United States for too long.
Now, for either conditional Green Card holders or ten-year Green Card holders, you don’t want to stay outside for more than six months. That’s going to put your status at risk. And so these are all the kinds of things that could come up when you’re thinking about the differences between a two-year Green Card and a 10-year Green Card.
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