What is the difference between a 2-year and 10-year green card?

When going through the arduous process of applying for a green card, the goal is most likely to not have to apply for another for a long time. Unfortunately, in some circumstances, USCIS will issue only a 2-year conditional green card, which requires an additional application to “remove conditions” on permanent resident status in order to receive the 10-year card. There is nothing wrong with receiving the conditional 2-year card; however, it does require some additional work.

In family-based immigration, the reason for receiving a 2-year green card is that you have been married to your US citizen spouse for less than two years. This rule is essentially a safeguard for the US government, as it reduces the likelihood of fraudulent marriages. If you and your spouse recently married and would like to be able to reside together in the US as soon as possible, chances are you are going to receive a 2-year conditional green card.

A conditional resident has all the rights and privileges of someone with a 10-year card. You can still live and work in the US, as well as travel. The only difference between being a conditional resident vs. being a non-conditional permanent reside is that conditional residents are required to file Form I-751 before their 2-year card expires. If they fail to file this application, they will fall out of status and risk deportation.


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