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What makes a marriage-based green card distinct

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | Green Cards

Green cards are permanent resident cards. They allow people to remain in the United States for the rest of their lives in many cases. Securing a green card is often the main objective of an immigrant who wants to move to the United States. Permanent residents have many of the same rights and protections as citizens without needing to go through the naturalization process.

Many people secure green cards after a long-term stay in the United States. Other people obtain green cards through family-based immigration. Marriage-based green cards are a bit different than other green cards.

Marital green cards are conditional green cards

A standard green card is valid for 10 years. The permanent resident has to submit paperwork to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) once a decade to renew their card. The USCIS performs a background check to ensure that someone still qualifies to remain a permanent resident. The organization then renews the green card so that someone can continue living in the country.

If someone attains a green card through marriage, the marriage needs to last a certain amount of time for the green card to remain valid. Those who married a United States citizen years ago may not have to worry about a conditional green card. If the marriage has already lasted two or more years, then the spouse of a citizen can obtain a standard green card.

However, those who enter the country after a shorter marriage receive conditional green cards. The same is true of those who secure K-1 visas as fiances and then marry a citizen after entering the country. The marriage needs to last for another two years after they secure their green card in most cases.

They can then submit documents to the USCIS to remove their conditional status. In the future, the renewal of their green card does not depend on their marital status. Those who divorce or whose spouses die before they remove their conditional status may have a more challenging process ahead of them. There are other programs that can help people who don’t remain married long enough to remove their conditional status.

Learning more about the rules for marriage-based green cards can benefit those entering the country to live with a spouse. Those with permanent resident cards can enjoy legal lifelong residence in the United States if they follow the right procedures.