Becoming a permanent resident of the United States can be very difficult especially these days. The wait can be short or long depending on your goals. Some people may choose a visa over a green card if it suits them, but there are costs associated with each option. Keep reading for more on visas and check back next week for a quick guide to green cards.
The Difference Between a Green Card and a Visa in the United States
The main difference between a green card and a visa is that a visa grants its holder the temporary right to stay in the United States. Also, a visa expires on a specific date. Conversely, a green card does not expire. Other differences include:
- Unless a person has a certain type of visa called a “work visa”, that person cannot legally work in the United States while a green card does allow it.
- In general, a visa is more quickly attainable than a green card.
- In general, a visa is less expensive than a green card.
Non-immigrant visas do not typically lead to citizenship in the United States. A few types of this visa are:
- Student visas – An “F” type student visa is for people wishing to attend school (including seminary) in the United States and then leave when the visa expires. An “M” type student visa is for those that wish to attend vocational school.
- Exchange students have to file for an exchange visitor visa.
- Business and tourist visas – This type of visa is for someone who wants to temporarily be in the United States for…you guessed it, business and tourism.
- Work visas – A person can apply for a work visa if they wish to work in the United States for a predetermined amount of time and then leave.
Immigrant visas are intended to lead to permanent residency. A few types of immigrant visas include:
- Spouse of a U.S. Citizen visas – This is reserved for people married to U.S. citizens and now includes same-sex marriages.
- Visa for Fiancé or K-1 visa – Intended for foreign individuals engaged to U.S. citizens. This visa gives the immigrant 90 days to marry the U.S. citizen before it expires.
- Certain Family Members of U.S. Citizens visa – Immediate family members of U.S. citizens can apply for this type of visa and eventually become permanent residents.
The requirements and details of each type of visa can be overwhelming. The process of attaining any type of visa is enormously complex. If you are trying to determine which type of visa is appropriate for you and your family, the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer in Plantation, Florida such as Elias Dsouza of Dsouza Legal Group is excited to offer you a free consultation today.