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Visa vs Green Card: What Are the Differences?

Visa vs Green Card: What Are the Differences?

In the past year alone, over one million international workers received permanent residence in the United States and the full benefits that come with it.

You’re given a visa or green card when you come to America. But are they the same thing?

Though sometimes we use them interchangeably, a visa and a green card are two completely different things.

Choosing between the two can be difficult. While they both allow you to live and work, there are also notable differences. Finding out how to get both requires a baseline understanding of visa vs green card.

With the following guide, you’ll be able to compare, contrast, and begin the immigration process. So let’s get started.

What Is a Visa?

A visa is a document that allows a foreign national to enter the country for a specific purpose, such as tourism, business, study, and work. They are temporary and usually have an expiration date.

There are many different types of visas, but the two most common are tourist visas and business visas. Each type of visa has its requirements and restrictions. Here are some of them.

A tourist visa allows a foreign national to enter a specific country for pleasure. It does not allow a foreign national to work there.

On the other hand, there is also a business visa. It allows a foreign national to enter the country to manage business only for the specific event they are conducting.

There are also student visas. If you have a student visa, you can only stay in the country as long as you are enrolled in that school. Once you graduate or leave school, you must either get a new visa or return to your home country.

In general, the process of obtaining a visa is overall much simpler and faster than the process of getting a green card. To acquire a visa, foreign nationals must usually only apply and provide supporting documents, such as proof of financial stability and a clean criminal record.

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What Is a Green Card?

A green card is a document that grants a person lawful permanent residency. Green card holders can live and work indefinitely (subject to certain conditions).

There are also many green cards, but the most common are employment-based and family-based green cards. You may check this website to know more about green cards.

An employment-based green card allows a foreign national to permanently live and work in the country. In contrast, a family-based green card allows a foreign national to live and work if they have a family member who is a citizen or green card holder.

To apply for a green card, you must meet certain eligibility documents and some requirements. Most people obtain their green cards from their respective employees or family members.

But having a criminal or deportation record will nearly impossible to get green cards.

Differences Between a Green Card and a Visa

Both documents are issued by the government and grant the holder rights and privileges, but there is a common misconception that a visa and green cards are the same.

Visas are typically issued for a specific time, after which the holder must leave the country. It does not necessarily allow for an open-ended stay. You must go through a lengthy application process and meet specific eligibility requirements to obtain a visa.

On the other hand, green card holders can apply for citizenship, whereas a visa holder cannot. Green cardholders have more rights and benefits, such as access to public healthcare. You are also eligible for federal benefits, including government-sponsored educational and social security financial aid.

To secure a green card, foreign nationals must apply for it. Getting a green card can take several months or even years.

There are also limitations you will face as a green card holder. One is your green card, which is not transferrable.

It does not automatically extend to children born outside of the application. You need to renew your green card every ten years.

You can travel freely to other countries, but you must have your card and passport issued from your home country. Another thing is that even though green card holders can make financial contributions to US elections, they cannot vote or become elected officials.

Other differences between visas and green cards include the requirements for obtaining each permit’s rights and privileges. For example, an individual must usually have a job offer from a U.S. employer to receive a green card, whereas a visa may be obtained simply by applying for it.

There are a few other key differences between visas and green cards, so do your research before applying for either.

Now You Know the Difference Between a Visa vs Green Card

Anyone looking to move to the United States should research the differences between a visa vs green card to ensure they take the appropriate steps. A visa allows a foreign national to enter the U.S. for a specific purpose, while a green card grants lawful permanent residence.

There are many different types of visas, and the requirements for each vary. The process of obtaining a green card can be long and complicated, so it is essential to ensure that all the needs are met.

Did you find this article helpful? Check out other informative posts on our blogs.

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