(312) 767-8611

What Is the Difference Between a Green Card and a Visa?

Grey Ibrahim logo

What Is the Difference Between a Green Card and a Visa?

In 2021, 740,000 immigrants became lawful permanent citizens of the US via a green card. Around 1 million temporary immigrant visas were issued the following year. You may be wondering what the difference between a green card and a visa is. If so, you’re in the right place!

Green cards and visas differ in many ways, which we’ll explain below. Each has a different meaning, application process, and set of requirements. Depending on a person’s long-term goals, a green card may or may not be appropriate.

If you are struggling to obtain a visa or green card and would like to speak to an experienced immigration attorney, we encourage you to request a consultation with Ibrahim Law Office at 312-767-8611.

What’s a Green Card?

green card is a permanent residency permit for the cardholder to live in the United States. A green card is a physical card issued to immigrants who receive this status. A green card allows the holder most of the same rights as a US citizen, such as the right to work and reside in the country.

After someone holds a green card for three to five years, they may apply for citizenship. Foreign nationals cannot apply for a green card while living abroad, they must reside in the US with a current visa.

Types of Green Cards:

There are different situations that allow someone to apply for a green card. These include:

  • Family green cards
  • Employment green cards
  • Diversity visa green cards
  • Returning resident green cards
  • Lottery green cards
  • Humanitarian green cards

Green cards are issued for humanitarian reasons to refugees, asylum seekers, human trafficking victims, and criminal or abuse victims. Immediate family members of persons holding a green card or citizenship status may apply for green cards for themselves.

How Do I Get a Green Card?

The first step is to determine if you are eligible for a green card. Then, depending on the reason for the green card, there are next steps to take. The process is different for everyone and some people require sponsors.

If you are unsure how to proceed with a green card application, we recommend you speak to an experienced immigration attorney. Call our office at 312-767-8611 to request a consultation with our knowledgeable attorney, Michael Ibrahim.

How Can a Green Card Lawyer Help?

Applications for residency in the US are often complicated and tedious. There are many steps required and no room for mishaps. Clients who work with a green card lawyer streamline the process and ensure there are no issues in the application.

At Ibrahim Law Office, our experienced attorney has the immigration law knowledge his clients need to get their green cards quickly. If you are in the process of applying for residence and need assistance, we want to help. Please contact us to request a consultation.

What’s a Visa?

A visa is an entry permit to the United States. There are numerous types of visas with varying conditions that fall into immigrant and non-immigrant visa status. A visa allows a foreign national to travel in the US for a specified length of time.

Types of Visas:

Someone can obtain a visa from the US embassy or consulates in their home country. Visas are often issued as a stamp on a person’s passport. The types of non-immigrant visas available include:

  • B-1 visas for business trips
  • B-2 visas for tourists
  • A combined B-1 and B-2 visa
  • H visas for temporary workers
  • Student visas
  • Exchange visitor visas

An immigrant visa allows the holder to move to the US. Immigrants must obtain this type of visa before moving to the US, which involves completing a complex application and may require sponsorship. Most people must hold a visa in order to apply for a green card.

How Do I Get a Visa?

To obtain a visa, you must apply for one through your local US embassy or consulate. You’ll likely have to complete an interview at that location before being issued a visa. During the interview, applicants are asked about their travel plans, study program, or work plans. Applicants may or may not be required to show proof of finances or other documentation depending on the type of visa being requested.

How Can a Visa Lawyer Help?

Applying for a visa can quickly become confusing and frustrating. There are many types available with individual requirements for each. Clients who work with a visa attorney are able to understand the visas they are eligible for and the application process. When working with Michael Ibrahim, clients know they are completing the process correctly. They not only gain his expertise, but also peace of mind.

Benefits of a Green Card:

A green card gives an immigrant most of the same rights as a US citizen. It also allows the green card holder to travel freely to and from the US and gives them the opportunity to become a US citizen in three to five years.

Benefits of a Visa:

A visa is the first step in becoming a US citizen, if that is the ultimate goal. A visa allows the holder entry into the US for a specified period of time. A visa allows someone to travel, work, or study in the US lawfully.

Green Cards vs. Visas: FAQs

Many people are confused by green cards and visas. They are not the same thing, as noted above. Our most commonly asked questions are:

Do I Need a Green Card or a Visa?

We cannot answer this question without knowing your specific situation. Some people may need a visa while others need a green card. In short, immigrants wishing for a short stay in the US probably need a visa. Immigrants who ultimately want to live in the US and already hold a visa probably need a green card.

However, many factors are involved that are best discussed with an immigration attorney. Ibrahim Law Office wants to help and encourages you to request a consultation at 312-767-8611.

Do I Need the Help of an Immigration Lawyer?

You may or may not need the help of an immigration lawyer. Every situation is unique and requires a personalized approach. We recommend you reach out to Ibrahim Law Office to request a consultation to discuss if an immigration attorney would be beneficial for your specific situation.

However, clients who work with an immigration lawyer do see faster application processes and fewer mistakes. An attorney helps their clients through the process, offering advice on their legal rights while guiding them in the application process for a green card or visa.

Advantages of Hiring Ibrahim Law Office:

Immigration laws are constantly changing with new requirements or guidelines. Ibrahim Law Office helps clients to navigate these changes while achieving their goals. Read more about the benefits of working with Michael Ibrahim below:

Protect Your Legal Rights

As an immigrant in the US, you have legal rights. When Ibrahim Law helps clients with their immigration legal needs, we ensure their rights are protected. We guide clients throughout the process to obtain green cards, citizenship, visas, and more while offering protection of their human rights.

Legal Advisement

Ibrahim Law Office advises clients on immigration law. We help clients to file documents or applications, navigate deportation situations, obtain asylum, and request appeals to reopen cases.

Our team is well-versed in immigration laws, and their constant changes, so we provide updated, current advice to our clients to ensure they complete the processes correctly the first time. We strive to make our client’s dreams come true and work tirelessly to achieve their goals.

Vast Legal Knowledge

Michael Ibrahim has vast legal experience and knowledge. After receiving his Juris Doctor, he worked with legal aid offices, was a clerk at a US Attorney’s Office, and worked as an attorney at a prominent removal defense firm.

He has helped thousands of clients with their immigration legal needs. He has experience in:

  • Residency applications
  • Citizenship applications
  • Visas
  • Asylum seekers
  • Deportation defense
  • Appeals

As the son of immigrants, Michael Ibrahim wants to help as many immigrants as he can to achieve their dreams of living in the US. He understands his clients needs, desires, and challenges. Michael is passionate about immigration law and is eager to assist clients however he can.

Experienced Immigration Attorney

Michael Ibrahim is well-versed in immigration law and has achieved many successes. He has aided thousands of clients with their immigration legal needs while showcasing compassion and ongoing support.

Since opening his office, he has helped 500+ clients avoid deportation and won green cards for 1,000+ clients. He speaks four languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, Syrian) and serves immigrants in 135 countries.

Call Ibrahim Law Office for Your Immigration Legal Needs Today

Now you understand the difference between a green card and a visa. If you are an immigrant and need assistance obtaining one or the other, we want to help. Our experienced immigration lawyer has helped numerous clients receive permanent residency. Contact our office today to request a consultation to discuss your immigration situation.

How Can We Help?

Contact Form Spanish and English

*Please note: We require a consultation fee. The consultation fee will be credited towards our service fees.*

Our Services

More Immigration Blogs

Immigration Testimonials

Hear From Our

  • Five Star Rated Immigration Attorney Ibrahim Law

    "One of the top immigration lawyers in Chicagoland. Michael Ibrahim is attentive, supportive, and knowledgeable. One of his best abilities is his availability. He responds to emails with attention and detail, often on the same day. Don't underestimate that in dealing with any immigration matter. He is personable; he does not simply collect fees and treat you like a client but rather like a friend. Your success is his success, and he understands that. If Michael were a surgeon, accountant, or another lawyer in any other field. I would want him. You cannot replicate him.." -Yousef S.

  • Five Star Rated Immigration Attorney Ibrahim Law

    "My wife and I are very thankful for Micheal Ibrahim. Before we hired him, we approached many immigration lawyers over ten years to duplicate documents that were destroyed in a fire. The results were disappointing. Micheal was able to find the lost documents. My wife got her permanent residency. He was always available for us during a stressful time. We would like to thank Michael for his knowledge, professionalism, and expertise. We would definitely recommend Michael for immigration services." -Farzad D.

  • Five Star Rated Immigration Attorney Ibrahim Law

    "Michael took over my case, which had been in immigration proceedings for many years, and I am so glad that he did. He is very professional, kept my husband, and I informed of every step of the process, and gave us the most honest and beneficial advice! Highly recommended for anyone who is in need of a great immigration attorney! Thank you again, Michael!" -Nida F.

Contact Form Spanish and English

*Please note: We require a consultation fee. The consultation fee will be credited towards our service fees.*