Getting that 10 year green card for Fun and Frolic.
Now that your beloved finally has his or her green card you’re thinking “Whew! Thank God that’s over with!”
The Green card your spouse now has is good for two years. In that time, if you should die, your spouse gets a one way trip back to his/her homeland. This is why it’s called a Conditional green card. In order to have your spouse stay longer then two years, you will need to fill out yet more forms and pay more money.
Whee! Isn’t government bureaucracy fun?
I recently went through this with Mrs. Webmaster and was ready with all the paperwork several months ahead of time.
Umm, Ahead of time Oh Great and All Powerful Webmaster? Whatever do you mean?
Oh yes! Did I neglect to mention that you are NOT allowed to submit the paperwork until 90 days before the two year green card expires? If you do they will send it right back to you with a note that you can’t submit it until 90 days before the expiration date. I can’t say whether or not they will keep the fees or not. Knowing the government, they will.
That is good to know Oh Great and All Knowing Webmaster. So we will be contacted when my spouses green card is due to expire? They will send us all the required forms will they not?
That must some really good stuff you’re smoking there dude. The simple answer is “Oh HELL NO they won’t!” That would make sense, and would be something a good and competent government agency would do. However, we ARE dealing with the United States government. Good and competent are words that should not be used when discussing the bureaucracy.
Anyway, first the disclaimers. (Yep, gotta have those!)
I am not a lawyer. I am not trained or qualified to instruct you in which forms to fill out, what fees need to be paid or any of that stuff. I’m just writing about what my wife and I went through in our personal dealings with the USCIS.
Basically, if you do what we did and your spouse gets deported, don’t come looking to me. I warned you I’m not an expert in this crap..
You will not be notified of the impending expiration of your spouses green card, so mark your calender! I had my wife’s paperwork ready to go 3 weeks before we could send the forms in, and I sent the whole mess in by certified mail, with a return receipt 89 days before my wife’s 2 year card expired. (Which happened while she was in China. More on that later)
So, Oh Great and Wise Webmaster, what do we need to do?
Once there, you are looking for the I-485 form, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. BE SURE TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY!!! There will be a test!
Really, make sure you fully understand the questions and what is required of you.
Now, once you have all that paperwork filled in and ready to go, get out the checkbook. Uncle Sugar what’s his 5 pounds of flesh and a few quarts of blood. From the USCIS web site as of 9/16/2009:
$930 plus a biometrics fee of $80; the fee total is $1,010. Exceptions listed below. There is no fee for applicants who are filing Form I-485 based on having been admitted to the United States as a refugee. Applicants 80 years of age or older are not charged a biometric fee; the fee total is $930. Applicants under 14 years of age: – Filing with the I-485 application of at least one parent have a fee total of $600 – Not filing with the I-485 application of at least one parent have a fee total of $930
Hello? Hello? Hey! Does anyone have any smelling Salts…or a defibrillator?
To be honest, I think those fees have gone up again! I don’t recall paying that much for Mrs. Webmaster’s fees. I hope they’ve at least put the money into something like speedy service. *SNORT*
Anyway, what happens now? Well, as usual, you wait…and wait…and wait. One thing that will happen is you will receive a letter from the USCIS that extends the 2 year green card by an additional 1 year. DON’T LOSE THIS!! MAKE COPIES!! LOTS AND LOTS OF COPIES!!! Your spouse will need this to prove continued work eligibility and also to be allowed back into the United States if your spouse should travel out of the country. Mrs. Webmaster was especially concerned about this. She was planning on traveling back to see her mother, and while in China her card would expire.
When the letter came we went to the local USCIS office and confirmed that there would be no issues. Mrs. Webmaster was relieved. I wasn’t. I flat out do not trust the morons running this country.
In any case. Mrs. Webmaster soon hopped a plane for a three month stay in China. While she was there her 2 year Green card expired. When she flew back, she presented her Green card and the letter and was passed through customs…to the great relief of me.
Another question Oh Great and Supremely knowledgeable Angry Webmaster!
(Man you guys are sucking up something fierce!)
How long was your spectacularly beautiful wife forced to wait for the massive cogs of the USCIS to get off their ass and send her the new Green card? The one without any conditions?
According to the schedule on the USCIS web site at the time, it was slated to take about 9 months. For once it was reasonably accurate. Mrs. Webmaster wasn’t anywhere near as excited as when her first card arrived, but she was relieved that this bit of bureaucratic horse manure was finally finished. And before you ask, her card is good for 10 years.
So Oh Mighty and powerful Angry Webmaster, What’s next?
Good question and I don’t have an answer.
Actually I do. Depending on what Mrs. Webmaster wants to do, her next major milestone will be seeking U.S. citizenship. It’s a few more years I think until she is qualified to do this, and right now she isn’t interested. Her Green card lets her breeze through customs in the U.S. and her Chinese passport lets her into China with minimal fuss.
If she were to become a U.S. citizen, she would lose her Chinese citizenship and have to get a visa. This would be hard for her since she likes to be able to go back to China at will and having to get a visa would be annoying for her. She has plenty of time to decide, and whatever she wants to do is fine with me.
So there you have it, what comes next after your initial two year green card, you must put in for the Removal of Conditions. You won’t be notified, so make sure you keep that date marked in your calendar.
Until Next time…
~The Angry Webmaster~***UPDATED*** This was moved from the main site and placed under the Immigration tab. ~The Angry Webmaster~