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Visa or Green Card-Which do I need?


Whether you should pursue obtaining a visa or a green card depends on your needs, since these documents have different purposes. No matter why you desire to enter the U.S. or how long you intend to stay, you should first consult with a Dallas immigration lawyer first to ensure you proceed correctly and waste as little time as possible.

Understanding the Difference is Key

Visas and green cards have different but sometimes overlapping uses. A visa allows entry into the U.S. in the form of a stamp in your passport. Getting this stamp from a U.S. consulate or embassy means you will be able to come to the U.S. A green card on the other hand is a colloquial term referring to the photo identification card a person receives upon becoming a lawful permanent resident.

Obtaining a green card can come by more than one means, such as:

  • Through a family member who is a citizen such as a spouse
  • By means of a job offer or financial investment
  • If you are a refugee or asylum seeker
  • Those falling into other categories such as being a K Nonimmigrant or part of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

Anyone granted a green card or permanent residency is allowed to live and work in the U.S. and such a person is then granted a permanent resident card, also knowns as a green card, as proof.

Where people are often confused between green cards and visas is when they attempt to use a green card to visit the U.S. on a somewhat regular basis. Green cards are not for the purpose of limitless travel to and from the U.S. without having to reapply for visas.

If you plan to remain living primarily in a foreign nation, this is incompatible with a green card and if the U.S. government finds out, they may cancel your green card. You are required to forsake your home country, so to speak, when you apply for a green card and legal permanent residency.

For further questions regarding green cards and visas, call Mathur Law Offices, P.C. and an attorney can answer each of your questions so you make the right choices for your trip to the U.S.