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When applying to enter or stay within the United States, there are certain forms of identification that you should be familiar with. Experienced legal counsel could explain to you the differences and similarities of visas vs. green cards in Aurora. If you find either of these two forms of identification confusing, you may want to talk to a green card attorney who is well-versed in the nuances of immigration.


A key difference between visas and green cards is the manner in which they are issued. A visa, rather than being a separate document, is affixed to a passport by the country a person is seeking to enter for a period of time.

Nonimmigrant Visas

A nonimmigrant visa (NIV) is issued to those who are permanent residents or citizens of another country but desire to enter the United States on a temporary basis. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there are 20 types of nonimmigrant visas specialized for different purposes, including :

Speaking with an experienced visa attorney could help a potential future visa holder better understand the significance of each.

Immigrant Visas

By contrast, a person could seek an immigrant visa if he or she wishes to live permanently in the United States. This type of visa allows a person to be in the country while pursuing a green card. According to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, the two major kinds of immigrant visas are immediate relative visas and family/employer-sponsored visas.

Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is managed by the Department of Homeland Security. Under certain circumstances, it allows persons from 38 named countries to visit the United States for up to 90 days without a visa for reasons of either business or leisure.

Green Cards

One distinction of a green card versus a visa is the length of time for which it is valid. Additionally, green cards are either conditional—meaning that an immigrant may possess a green card under certain conditions—or permanent. No matter the type, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advises green card holders aged 18 or older to keep the document with them at all times.

Conditional green cards are valid for two years. If they so choose, holders may apply to have the conditions removed during the 90 days prior to the end of the two years. There could be numerous conditions attached to a conditional green card, including a restriction on the place of residence.

If a green card is effective for ten years, it must still be renewed, ideally within the six-month period prior to the expiration date. Finally, some green cards do not expire, and if one is lost or stolen, USCIS provides Form I-90 to acquire a replacement.

Benefits of Green Cards

There are numerous benefits that accompany green cards, according to USCIS. For instance, someone may use his or her green card to prove employment eligibility. Moreover, a green card holder may present it when applying for social security benefits or a state-issued driver’s license.

Speak with an Attorney About Green Cards Versus Visas in Aurora

A knowledgeable attorney may have further information on distinctions between visas vs. green cards in Aurora. Contact one today to discuss the choices and options that may be viable for your situation.

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