There are a lot of people who take advantage of marriage-based green cards. Foreign nationals get married to U.S. citizens, apply for an immigration petition, and after they are granted residency in the U.S., they immediately divorce their American spouses.

As an effort to prevent marriage scams for the purpose of gaining U.S. residency and deter individuals from circumventing immigration laws, the USCIS has set forth an expiration date for green cards based on marriage.

Couples that have been married for less than two years prior to getting U.S. residency can only get a green card with a two-year validity, after which the holder must take action to retain their U.S. residency.

What To Do When Your 2-Year Green Card is About to Expire

When a spouse’s two-year green card or conditional residency is about to expire, it’s high time for them to start thinking about filing an application for a 10-year green card. To do this, they must file form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

Requirements for a 10-Year Green Card

The process of obtaining a 10-year green card or permanent marriage green card is relatively simple for an individual that already holds a 2-year green card. As a general rule, the applicant and their American spouse must appear and file jointly, as well as meet the following conditions:

  • They are still married after two years
  • If they are a child of a 2-year green card holder, their parent must still be married to the same U.S. citizen spouse or lawful permanent resident after two years.

There are exceptions to the rule that couples must file the petition to remove conditions on residence jointly. These include:

  • The U.S. spouse is deceased and the marriage was entered into in good faith
  • The marriage was entered into in good faith but resulted in divorce or annulment
  • The marriage was entered into in good faith, but the U.S spouse has battered the children or subjected them to extreme cruelty
  • The termination of residency in the U.S. will result in extreme hardship.

Individuals who meet these eligibility requirements can file form I-751 to receive a permanent green card based on marriage. Often, couples only need to prove that they are still happily married and living together. If so, they can skip the interview and receive their 10-year green card in the mail.