A permanent resident card, also called the Green card is given to all permanent residents of the country as proof that they are legally authorized to live and work anywhere within the United States. Depending on your immigrant status situation, you may be eligible to apply for a Green card under various categories, the most common one being through your employment status. The next most common category is through marriage to a U.S citizen followed by refugee, asylum and special immigrant categories.
Permanent Resident card (10 year Green card):
A permanent resident is a not a citizen but has obtained legal permission to live and work anywhere in the United States. A Green card holder can enjoy many benefits like travelling outside the country, applying for a driver’s license, applying for a social security card and bringing their immediate family to the United States. A Green card holder is also required to renew the card once every 10 years before it expires. To renew your Green card, you must file Application for Green card renewal, Form I-90 with the USCIS. If your Green card is lost, stolen or damaged, or you need to change any information about yourself on the card, you can file Form I-90 to obtain a new Green card.
The process of renewing your Green card takes a long time, anywhere between five to six months, depending on the individual application. So you must file for renewing your Green card six months prior to the expiration date of the card.
If the permanent resident is eligible to apply for citizenship and chooses to do so, then they can file an Application for Citizenship, Form N-400.
Conditional Permanent Residence card (2 year Green card)
There are 2 categories where a conditional Green card is issued:
By marriage to a U.S citizen, where you’ve been married for less than 2 years
If you are applying for an investment-based Green card, while you are already inside the country, you will receive a 2 year conditional permanent residence.
Converting your Conditional Permanent Residence to a 10 year Green card
The Conditional Green card cannot be renewed. You must first remove the conditions on your Green card, which can be done by filing an application during the period of 90 days before the conditional Green card expires. If you do not file this petition, you will lose your permanent residence status.
If you have received your Conditional Green card based on marriage to a U.S citizen, you must file Form I-751, Petition to remove conditions on permanent residence.
If your Green card was investment based, you must file Form I-829 to remove the conditions.
Once you petition and remove the conditions on your conditional Green card, you will be given a 10 year valid Green card.