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  • By: Serving Immigrants
  • Published: September 9, 2021

If you are new to the immigration process, there will be an overwhelming amount of information available to you. Your goal is likely to stay in this country. Visas and green cards are two (2) methods for achieving this. Because they are both different, their use and even the application process is going to be unique.

Different Types of Visas

The fundamental difference between a visa and a green card is that a visa expires. A green card is something someone carries to demonstrate they are legal permanent residents of the United States. Though they are not full-fledged citizens, they are entitled to stay here. And they can hold this status indefinitely while they apply for citizenship.

Though visas allow you to enter the United States and stay here, they expire. At which time, you will either need to return home or pursue another means to stay. Two (2) broad categories cover visas:

1. Non-immigrant visas

2. Immigrant visas

The difference between the two (2) is that a non-immigrant visa is for someone who only intends to live in the United States temporarily. Think of a college professor who wants to teach here for a semester. At the end of the school year, she plans to return to her own country where she has a job and an established life.

A non-immigrant visa would also apply to a foreign exchange student too. Another essential element of the visa is that it does not guarantee your ability to work. There are specific types of visas that will allow you to work, however.

Immigrant visas, on the other hand, are for people who wish to pursue legal permanent residency. These are more difficult to obtain. You need to apply for this before leaving your country. There will likely be interviews done through the U.S. consulate in your home country. In most cases, a family member who is in the United States is sponsoring your application.

Green Cards

People with green cards do not have the same rights as citizens, but they can stay here permanently. There are ways to lose it, such as committing crimes or fraud, however. Here are some of the ways people can obtain green cards:

    1. Through your employer or job
    2. Being a family member of someone who is a citizen or holds a green card
    3. Being an asylum seeker
    4. By winning the green card lottery (up to 50,000 people are selected randomly)

Cuprys & Associates

At Cuprys & Associates, we proudly work for immigrants who want to realize their American dream. Though the road is long and can be emotionally challenging, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation. We look forward to assisting you in your journey.

Image of Attorney Magdalena Cuprys, Esq with 4.7 start reviews

Attorney Magdalena Cuprys is a seasoned immigration lawyer based in Orlando and Coral Gables, Florida. With three languages under her belt and years of legal experience working with immigrants of all kinds, she brings considerable experience and insight to the field and works hard to explain immigration concepts, empower future citizens, and keep current and prospective immigrants up to date on US immigration law.

Connect with her firm, Serving Immigrants, to stay updated on the latest developments in United States immigration law and gain valuable insights needed to navigate the challenging legal landscape of immigration in Florida. 

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