Interview with Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS)
A: In cases where the interview is successful, the USCIS officer has the authority to grant you permanent residence immediately. Your new status will begin on the very same day as the interview and run for ten years in general. Those whose permanent residence application is based on a marriage to a US citizen where the couple has been married for less than two years at the time of the grant of residence receive “conditional permanent residence” that is valid for two years.
After the interview, the officer will take care of ordering your permanent resident card (I-551, or “green card”). In cases where no interview is required, a notice of a favorable decision is mailed to the applicant. In both types of cases, the actual card will then be mailed to the home address as shown in the agency’s records (so make sure to inform USCIS—not just the Post Office-- right away if you change your address).
After obtaining permanent resident status, green card holders should be aware of the following:
(1) “Conditional” permanent residents need to petition to have the condition removed before the two-year green card expires. Petitions can be filed with USCIS as early as 90 days before the expiration date.
(2) Those whose permanent residence is based on marriage to a US citizen are eligible to apply for US citizenship three years after the date when permanent residence began. Applications may be filed as early as 90 days before the end of the three-year period.
(3) With certain exceptions (involving military service, for example), other green card holders may apply to become US citizens five years after the grant of permanent residence. Again, applications may be filed up as early as 90 days before the five years have expired.
Eligibility to apply for US citizenship of course involves other criteria in addition to length of permanent residence – good moral character, English language proficiency, physical presence in the US, etc. IIIC can assist prospective applicants in determining their eligibility and in filing the necessary application and documentation.
Visit one of our weekly legal clinics for a free, confidential consultation on this or any other immigration issue.
Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to provide advice in specific cases. Immigration laws are subject to change, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of State regularly amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer or an IIIC immigration specialist.
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