The Difference Between Two-Year and Ten-Year Green Cards

Depending on your immigration situation you may have to apply for either a two-year or ten-year green card. Each green card is a resident card however they are different and can be easily confusing for anyone who is going through the immigration process.

However, this article will help to guide you through the differences between a two-year and ten-year green card. Our immigration law firm can also answer any additional questions you may have about your two-year or ten-year green card.

Explaining the differences between a two-year green card and a ten-year green card


It is important that you understand the differences between a two-year green card and a ten-year green card.

What is a two-year green card?


A two-year green card is a green card that is valid for two years. The actual name is a two-year conditional green card. Some refer to this type of green card as a temporary green card. A two-year green card is issued when you have residency through a marriage that is less than two years old. From the date of issue, you will have two years to remove the condition on your green card and apply for a ten-year permanent resident green card. You must start the process of applying for a ten-year permanent green card 90 days before your two-year green card expires. If you do not, you may risk deportation.

You can learn more about the process and how to apply for a two-year conditional green card by reading this article; How to Obtain a Marriage Green Card by the Consular Process

What is a ten-year green card?


A ten-year green card is issued for anyone who has gained residency through an employer or your spouse (been married longer than 2 years, parent, or relative has been issued a green card. You can also receive a green card by filing a self-petition through VAWA. A ten-year permanent resident green card is good for ten years. You will need to reapply for your ten-year green card every ten years. You should start the process of reapplying for your ten-year green card a few months before your green card expires.

Most common questions about two-year and ten-year green cards


Here are ten of the most common questions you may have when applying for your two-year or ten-year green card.

Why is my green card only for two years?


When your marriage is less than two years old, you are only granted a two-year green card that expires two years from the date issued. After two years you may remove your conditions of a two-year green card and apply for a ten-year green card.

Can I renew my two-year green card?


Unfortunately, you can not renew a two-year green card. Before your two-year green card expires you should start the process of applying for a ten-year permanent residency green card.

Can I stay in the United States while waiting for a green card?


This depends on your Visa status. Your immigration attorney can walk you through the process of what you should do while you are waiting for your green card.

Do I have to interview for a ten-year green card?


Yes, the final step in the green card process is an interview. It is a marriage interview. The primary goal is the prove the marriage is authentic. A bona fide marriage. Questions will focus on the relationship, daily life activities, and future plans and goals as a couple.

Here are 13 Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Marriage Interview.

What’s the difference between a green card and a permanent resident?


The actual name for a ten-year green card is a permanent resident green card. So, if you are a permanent resident you would have a ten-year green card.

Can I stay on a green card forever?


Yes, you can as long as you reapply for your green card every ten years. However, at some point, most permanent residents may wish to become U.S. Citizens and at that time they may start the process to citizenship. They may start the process after three years of obtaining a green card. It is more cost-effective to become a citizen and there are additional benefits to becoming a citizen.

What can permanent residents not do?


Although a permanent resident can both live and work in the United States, a green card holder may not do the following in the United States;

  • may not vote in a United States election

  • may not leave the country for more than one year

  • may not own a United States passport

  • possible be deported for committing a crime

  • may receive limited government benefits

Do you have to re-interview for your ten-year green card?


Generally, in most cases, you do not need to interview again when you renew your ten-year green card.

How long can a green card holder stay outside the United States in 2022?


A ten-year green card holder may stay outside the United States for one (1) year. After that time your green card status is considered abandoned. You may leave the United States multiple times and reenter however it must not exceed the length of time equal to one (1) year, one (1) day.

Can you be denied a green card?


If you have completed your paperwork incorrectly your green card may get denied and you will have to work with an immigration attorney to re-open your case. Here are the Ten Biggest Immigration Mistakes to Avoid When Filing Applications.

Watch this video: Can I divorce my spouse and still get my green card?

This video discusses more information regarding two-year and ten-year green cards and may answer more of your questions.

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If you have any additional questions or would like help with completing your immigration application please contact the Odunlami Law Firm at 973-993-1900 or email us at

We can help you will your immigration needs.

If you need an employment visa, wish to immigrate, or want to help bring a family member to the United States, the Odunlami Law Firm can help. If you are facing deportation or removal for any reason, you need our help. You may contact the law office for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Areas of Immigration Law:

  • Naturalization (Citizenship) Application

  • Immigrant Relative Petitions

  • Fiancé Visa Applications

  • Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing

  • Criminal Consequences and Deportation Defense

  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Application

  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

  • Green Card Renewals

  • Temporary Work Visas

  • Temporary Protected Status

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

  • Waivers


Schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney and get your case started today.
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