10 Year Green Card: How Do I Get One?

Many undocumented immigrants are interested in what is referred to commonly as a “ten-year green card”. They believe that after living in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for ten years, they can then apply for this type of permanent residence card.

While this is technically true, the reality of this situation is a lot more complicated. Unlike some immigration benefits that a person can apply for after meeting specific requirements, this “10-year green card” is used only to defend against deportation. To qualify for this permanent residence card, you would first need to be arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or placed into removal proceedings.

10-year Green Card:

Once you gEt before a judge, the requirements of this “10-year green card” are:

  • You have a “good moral character”
  • You have not been convicted of certain crimes or violated certain laws
  • You have lived in the U.S. for at least ten years
  • You have U.S. citizens or lawful permanent resident (LPR) family in the U.S. who would experience extreme hardship if you were deported.

The hardest part of being granted a “10-year green card” (or cancellation of removal) is to prove the amount of suffering that would be caused to close family members who are U.S. citizens or have a permanent residence card. This is a unique set of circumstances that is difficult to prove. We would always recommend speaking to a qualified immigration attorney before pursuing a particularly complicated immigration path.

Are Green Card Holders Permanent Residents?

Green cards are the same thing as permanent residence cards and grant the person the same benefits. Instead of trying to gain a permanent residence card as a deportation defense that has a high likelihood of failing, we would recommend applying for a resident green card through the more traditional methods. Employment, family, investment, and refugee or asylee status are the most common ways foreign nationals use to live and work in the United States. While these types of applications may take longer or be more expensive, it is also much more likely that your application will be approved, and you can then go on to apply for naturalization as well.

How To Get My Residence Card

To obtain your permanent residence card, you must first examine each avenue and determine which one(s) you are eligible for. Once you know which green card you are best suited for, you need to fill out Form I-485 and submit any necessary supporting documentation and fees to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once USCIS receives your application, they will process it and schedule an interview. After your interview, USCIS will inform you of their decision, and hopefully, you will soon receive your new permanent residence card!

If you’re unsure about the specifics of your immigration case and want to know more, it’s best to talk to an experienced immigration lawyer. Leiva Law Firm is a boutique firm based in San Francisco specializing in U.S. immigration and nationality laws for local and international clients. Contact them today to discuss your individual immigration case needs