Navigating the Path to the United States: Green Card vs. Visa

by: Attorney Noyes

8/10/20231 min read

If you're interested in traveling to the United States, it's essential to understand the distinction between a Green Card and a Visa.

A visa is an official document issued by the U.S. government granting permission to enter, stay, or leave the country for a specific period. You must apply through a U.S. embassy or consulate to obtain a visa. There are two main categories of tickets: nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas.

1. Immigrant Visas: This type of visa is intended for foreign citizens who plan to work and live in the United States permanently. It requires sponsorship from a family member or employer who applies with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once approved, the application is processed by a U.S. consulate or embassy to issue the immigrant visa. Immigrants must have this visa before traveling to the United States.

2. Nonimmigrant Visas: Nonimmigrant visas are for foreign citizens seeking short-term entry into the United States with a specific departure date. Examples include visas for work, medical treatment, tourism, or study. Unlike immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas do not grant permanent residency in the U.S. Applicants usually apply directly to a U.S. embassy or consulate for a B1 or B2 visa. Specific documentation is required based on the visit's purpose, and visa approval does not guarantee entry; Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conduct inspections at the port of entry to determine eligibility under U.S. immigration law.

For expert guidance in choosing the best immigration option for you and your family, consider contacting our highly qualified immigration attorneys. At Noyes & Associates, LLC, we assist clients worldwide in obtaining temporary or permanent status for themselves and their loved ones. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and embark on your new journey smoothly and confidently.