The US visa and the permanent resident card, better known as the Green Card, are two different ways to enter and live in the United States.
Their differences are in their purpose, duration, eligibility, rights and benefits they provide, as well as the process of applying for them. Here we explain what each consists of.
What is a Green Card?
A permanent resident card or Green Card allows an individual to live and work permanently in the United States. It has no expiration date and is usually valid forever as long as certain conditions are met.
Eligibility for a Green Card is usually based on family, employment, refugee or asylee status, investment in the United States, or the visa lottery. Obtaining a Green Card is often more complicated than obtaining a temporary visa, and may require approval of an immigrant petition.
Does the Green Card grant permanent residence in the US?
Green Card holders have more rights and benefits than visa holders. They can live and work legally in the US without restrictions from an employer. They can also apply for federal benefits, such as Social Security, and become eligible for US citizenship after a period of permanent residence.
How to apply for a Green Card? These are the requirements
There are several ways to apply for a Green Card, including the diversity visa lottery – which does not require a sponsor – and drawn by the United States Department of State.
Through a family member
US immigration laws allow foreign national relatives of US citizens to become legal permanent citizens (get a Green Card) based on their family ties.
To apply in this category you must be the spouse, minor child or parent of a US citizen. More information on residences in the United States page.
Through an employer
The United States also allows foreigners to obtain a Green Card through employment.
However, not all jobs are available. Some of the people who can apply for this permit are workers with exceptional abilities in science, art, education, business, or sports. As well as specialized and professional workers. More information for permanent residence for immigrants through employment.
Refugee or asylum
Another way to get a Green Card is to suffer persecution or show fear of suffering persecution because of:
- Belongs to a particular social group.
- Political opinion.
This request can only be submitted if the interested party is physically present in the United States and is not a US citizen. More information for humanitarian asylum.
Green Card through the Immigrant Visa Lottery
Each year, the United States government grants up to 55,000 diversity visas to allow permanent residence or Green Cards to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
This diversity visa program is known as the “visa lottery.”
To participate you must be a citizen of an eligible country.
To determine if a person is eligible, every year the US State Department publishes a list of eligible and ineligible countries (in English). This list may change every year.
What is it and what can you do with an American visa?
Visas are temporary permits that allow Mexican citizens to enter the United States for a specific purpose, such as tourism, study, temporary work, or visiting family. They have a limited duration and must be renewed or extended if you wish to stay in the country beyond their validity period.
Temporary visas generally provide limited rights and specific benefits depending on the type of visa. For example, a tourist visa does not allow work in the United States, while a temporary work visa generally allows work only for the specific employer that sponsors it.
What are the types of US visas?
The embassy of the United States describes that there are at least six different types of visas whose categories are:
Tourist and Visitor Visa
This is the visitor visa (B-2) by which a foreigner can travel to the United States for tourist purposes.
This document specifies that the stay is short for vacations, visiting family and friends or, in some cases, receiving medical treatment.
Student visa and Exchanges
Students process a different type of visa, such as those entering exchange programs.
This is the FM visa and is focused on academic and vocational studies, while the J visa is for exchange visitors.
Those traveling to the United States to do temporary business need a B-1 visa. This category includes attending business meetings or consultations, attending a business convention or conference, and negotiating contracts.
Citizens of Canada and Bermuda generally do not need visas to conduct temporary business, but some business trips may require a visa.
They are the type of immigrant visa based on family ties, employment, adoption, special categories of immigrants and diversity visa.
Family relationships are granted to certain family members of US citizens and legal permanent residents, while adoption is for the adoption of orphans who are currently outside the US.
This type of visa is required for those who want to work temporarily in the United States. It is divided into temporary jobs, exchanges involving teachers and students, visits for foreign media and the trade agreement visa for managers, important or commercial workers.
In addition to these categories there are other types of visas that include: transit, medical treatment, official government travel, religious worker visa, crew visa, special humanitarian situations and the participation of refugees and asylums.
How much does a US visa cost 2023?
- Cost of tourist visa: 185 dollars
- Cost of business visa (B1/B2 and BCC): $185
- Cost of student visa: 185 dollars
- Cost of exchange visa: 185 dollars
- Visa fee for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q and R): $205
- Visa cost for entrepreneurs, investors and special occupations (E): $315
How to process US visa? These are the requirements for a tourist visa
- Valid passport
- The visa application involves filling out the DS-160 form and uploading the visa photo online
- Schedule an appointment at the embassy or one of the consulates
- Make the payment through the requested form, after registering in the Teaching System
- Go to an interview appointment at the Consular Section.