Green Card or Visa: Which One Do You Need?
Visa — a document that lets you enter the country for a set amount of time.
Green Card — an identification card which lets you stay in the U.S. indefinitely.
Visas give permission to enter. Green cards give permanent residence.
Do You Need a Visa?
A visa might best suit you if you are a:
There are two different types of visas that you could get: non-immigrant or immigrant. Non-immigrant visas are temporary visas, while an immigrant visa allows for a permanent stay.
An applicant can apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate in their country of origin.
An immigrant visa also allows a person to enter as a lawful permanent resident. Non-immigrant visas offer opportunities to lengthen a stay or change status, but do not necessarily provide opportunities to become a permanent resident.
There are many different types of visas depending on what field you are entering. A student visa is different than a temporary work visa. Additionally, depending on your area of employment, you may have to get a particular kind of work visa.
Do You Need a Green Card?
A green card may work best if you plan on living and working in the U.S. permanently. With a green card, you will be considered an immigrant.
A green card is not the same as U.S. citizenship. However, a green card holder can qualify for citizenship after living in the U.S. without violations for at least 5 years.
Green cards can be granted in many ways, including:
- Qualifying family members that are already U.S. citizens
- An advanced degree in your field of (hopeful) employment
- Exceptional ability in your field of employment
You can also apply for a green card via Diversity Visa Lottery.
A green card may be taken away if the holder is found guilty of a crime under immigration law. Green cards will not expire and will allow you to work anywhere in any field.
A green card allows for international travel. If you maintain a primary residence in your home country, however, then the U.S. may potentially revoke your green card as abandoned.
Need Help About Your Immigration Status?
If you need further help about the difference between green cards and visas, contact the law office of Salmon-Haas. Our immigration attorneys have worked with many residents in San Antonio and beyond to get their visas, green cards, and more. Contact our team for more info and a free consultation.