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Overview of differences between a green card and a visa

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2021 | Immigration Law

U.S. immigration law can prove quite complex and confusing. With that stated, many people in California and elsewhere in the country are unsure whether any real or substantial differences exist between a green card and a visa. The fact is that there are.

What is a green card?

A green card is a document issued by the United States government. It bestows upon a foreign national the status of being a permanent U.S. resident. The technical name of a green part is “permanent resident card.”

What is a visa?

A visa is a legal document that permits people to present themselves at a U.S. port of entry. The document demonstrates that a U.S. consular office in the bearer’s nation of origin has determined that the individual is eligible to seek entrance into the United States for a stated purpose.

A visa permits a person to enter into the United States for a specific purpose and for a defined period of time. Examples of why a person might be granted a visa to the United States include:

  • Travel or leisure
  • Work
  • Education
  • Family connections with a citizen

As mentioned, one type of visa is designed for immigration purposes. Legal issues surrounding immigration, a green card or a visa can be complex and unnerving. As a consequence, a person facing an immigration issue or problem is best served by seeking professional assistance from an experienced immigration lawyer.