Green Card and Visa Difference
A green card is proof of permanent residence in the US. The green card is a plastic card that provides identification of a person who is a permanent resident of the US. A green card holder is entitled to stay permanently in the USA and can stay anywhere and work in the USA.
The green card is valid for 10 years after which it has to be renewed. A green card holder would be eligible to apply for US citizenship. The green card is issued for those who want to permanently live in the US and become citizens. The green card status can be rescinded if the holder does not follow laws and regulations prescribed.
The Visa is an authorization that is placed on the passport allowing them to enter the United States. The visa is granted to foreigners who want to visit the USA for travel, study, or any other purpose. The visa is valid for a particular period of time after which it has to be renewed or else the visa holder has to leave the country. There are two types of visas - immigrant and non-immigrant. Non-immigrant visa holders can stay for a limited time. Immigrant visa holders can apply for a green card.
Differences between Green Card and Visa
Both the green card and visa are issued to foreign nationals and are issued by the USCIS – the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. There are many differences between the green card and the visa. The differences between the two are:
The Green card provides a permanent resident status. The holder of the green card can stay permanently in the USA and has the right to work in the USA. A visa is a temporary permission to stay in the USA for a particular purpose. It may be to work, study, travel, visit someone, or some other reason. Once that purpose is completed, they need to get the visa extended or leave the country.
The Green card holder can permanently stay in the United States, subject to following the laws and regulations. The card itself is valid for 10 years, after which it needs to be renewed, which is usually a formality. Visas, on the other hand, are issued for a particular period of time. For example, a student visa is issued only for the duration of study. On completion of this duration, the visa would expire.
The green card is a plastic card containing the identification details of the holder. The visa is a stamp on the passport.
4) Staying in the USA
Green card holders can stay wherever they want in the USA and forever. However, if they leave the USA for more than 364 days they need to take approval, else their green status can become invalid. Visa holders can stay in the US only for the duration specified.
5) Working in the USA
Green card holders can work in the USA in any job or place. Visa holders have many restrictions. A student visa holder can only work on campus for only 20 hours a week. Work visa holders can only work for the company that has sponsored their visa. Tourist visa holders are not allowed to work.
A green card holder can apply for citizenship after staying in the US for more than 5 years. A non-immigrant visa holder cannot apply for citizenship. An immigrant visa holder has to first apply for a green card and then can apply for citizenship.
There are significant differences between green card holders and visa holders that one needs to be aware of before traveling to the USA.
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