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What Happens After I Get My 2 Year Green Card

What happens after I receive my 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, San Diego, California, and Washington, D.C. We had another question in the Immigrant Home Facebook group this week. And it was related to the timing of what happens after you receive your conditional Green Card. So our good friend, Kevin, who’s been in the Immigrant Home Facebook group, a great guy out in the Bay Area, I believe, out in California, jumped in to try to explain people. And he really did a good job of laying it all out there. And he walked through exactly how it’s supposed to work. But it’s still confusing. It is confusing, I admit it, because there’s a lot of shifting parts.

So let’s say that you get a marriage-based Green Card. And let’s say that on the day that your Green Card is issued, your marriage is less than two years old. If that’s true, then you’re going to be given a conditional Green Card. You’re going to be given a Green Card. You’re going to receive lawful permanent resident status. You have all the rights and privileges of lawful permanent resident status. But at the end of those two years, you’re going to have to apply for an I-751. It’s a petition to remove the conditions. In other words, you want to take the conditional part off your lawful permanent residence and turn you into a full-blooded, full-vested, lawful permanent resident. You’re getting those conditions removed. And you do that on the two year anniversary of the start date of your Green Card, not two years from the date that you got married, not two years from the date you applied for your I-45. 2 years from the start date on your Green Card.

And one year after that, you can apply for citizenship. So on the three year anniversary, you can apply for citizenship. So if you get your Green Card on July 1st, 2022, then you can apply for your two-year Green Card on July 1st, 2024. And you can apply for citizenship after three years. So that’d be July 1st, 2025. Now, for both the 751 and the N-400, you can apply three months early. And sometimes this is where the confusion comes in. So first, let’s concentrate and make sure that we understand that at the end of two years, you have to apply for the 751. You have to apply for the 751. After three years, you can apply for the N-400. And again, it’s that start date of your Green Card that’s the most important. It’s not your marriage date. It’s not your filing date. It’s the start date on that Green Card. So at the two year anniversary, you apply for that 751. And then one year later, the three year anniversary of your Green Card, you can apply for the N-400.

Now in both those applications, you can apply 90 days early. In fact, for the 751, you have to apply in that 90-day window before the two year anniversary of your Green Card. So again, July 1st, 2022, you would want to apply for your I-751 sometime between April and July of 2024. And then that case could still be pending when it comes time for you to file for your naturalization, for your N-400. Now, your N-400, you don’t ever have to apply for it. You can stay in lawful permanent resident status your whole life. We generally encourage people to get that because it’s more secure status, getting to become a U.S. citizen. Of course, the rights and privileges of citizenship. But you don’t have to. But you do have to file the 751.

And if you skip the 751 and just try to apply for naturalization, you’ll get denied your naturalization and they might even put you in removal because that’s a hard and fast rule. You’ve got to get those conditions removed. 751’s a lot easier than the I-130. We have lots of videos about that. But hopefully this makes sense with the timing. So two year anniversary of the start date of your Green Card. Three year anniversary from the start date of your Green Card for naturalization. And then you can apply 90 days early.

Hope this makes sense. Kevin, I hope I articulated it as well as you did in our Facebook comments. Really appreciate your help and we appreciate all of our friends and fans in the Immigrant Home Facebook group and all of our YouTube subscribers. And just for you guys, we have a show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon central, usually, where I’m answering as many of your immigration law-related questions as possible. And then don’t forget that we have our Facebook group like I mentioned, Immigrant Home. Our YouTube channel, you should subscribe to it. And we’ll see you next time. Thanks, everybody.

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