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A visa is a legal document that gives immigrants the contingent right to enter the United States. A green card, on the other hand, grants a foreign national lawful permanent residence in the U.S, the right to live here indefinitely, and to work at any job they select.

An immigration attorney can help you assess your options for applying for visas vs. green cards in Bolingbrook. They could also advise what type of immigrant document you are eligible for and guide you through the complexities of the application process.

Eligibility Factors for Visas vs. Green Cards

The requirements for eligibility for a visa as opposed to qualifying for a green card in Bolingbrook are very different. First of all, there are many types of visas one can apply for and several categories of green cards.

U.S. visas can be divided into two general classes: immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. An immigrant visa is an authorization that allows an individual of foreign origin to reside and obtain employment in the U.S. for an unspecified duration of time. After an individual secures an immigrant visa and moves to the U.S., the government will issue them a green card. The foreign national must secure their immigrant visa before they can enter the U.S., but they will only receive their green card once they are in the country.

What are the Categories of Visas?

There are numerous categories of immigrant visas. Some of the most common include visa for the K-1 for fiancés, employment-based for priority workers or workers with advanced degrees, the husband or wife of a U.S. citizen, and certain religious workers.

Nonimmigrant visas are issued to persons who intend to travel to the U.S. and stay for a short period of time. For instance, a foreign national may apply for a nonimmigrant visa if they intend to travel to the U.S. for tourism, study, or specific business reasons.

There are several eligibility classes that could qualify someone to apply for a green card and obtain lawful permanent residency. One of the most common ways a foreign national may qualify for a green card is through a family member. Certain family members of U.S. citizens are given precedence when applying for a green card, such as the citizen’s spouse or parent. However, foreign nationals who do not qualify for a green card through a family member could secure eligibility in other ways, such as through employment. A Bolingbrook immigration representative could help an individual who is considering applying for a visa or green card determine their eligibility status.

What are the Rights and Responsibilities of Visa Holders vs. Green Card Holders?

There are distinct rights and responsibilities attached to holding a visa vs. a green card. One of the most notable distinctions of the rights afforded to green card holders is that they can remain in the U.S. on a permanent basis and generally work in whatever professional field they desire.

A green card holder will not lose their permanent status unless their card is revoked (i.e. due to criminal conduct) or they relinquish their status by taking up residence in another country. Once the foreign national has held a green card for five years, they can apply to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. Green card holders must submit to federal, state, and local laws and comply with local and federal tax requirements. Adult males aged 25 and under must also register with the Selective Service System.

A green card is the most common route to citizenship; however, some temporary or nonimmigrant visas may also provide a pathway to eventually securing a green card and later applying for naturalization. While nonimmigrant visas are designed for temporary stays with a defined end date, in certain cases they can be extended.

Those holding a U.S. visa may not secure employment unless their visa allows them to do so. Visa holders must comply with federal, state, and local laws and refrain from criminal conduct. A foreign national holding a U.S. visa may act within the scope of the conditions of their immigrant status and must likewise ensure they do not breach any of these terms and thereby endanger that status.

Ask a Bolingbrook Lawyer for Assistance Applying for a Visa or Green Card

The laws surrounding visas vs. green cards in Bolingbrook are highly complex and diverse. Numerous factors will ultimately determine whether you qualify for a visa or a green card. It could be beneficial to talk with an experienced attorney who has a thorough understanding of immigration law and can render assistance throughout your case. Reach out to our office today for more information.

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