The main difference between work visa and green card is that work visas allow a temporary stay while green cards allow permanent residency.
Work visas and green cards are two pathways that allow you to enter the United States and gain lawful employment. You have to obtain a work visa before you enter the country, but a green card can be obtained once you enter the country.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is a Work Visa
– Definition, Features
2. What is a Green Card
– Definition, Features
3. Relationship Between Work Visa and Green Card
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Work Visa and Green Card
– Comparison of Key Differences
Green Card, Visa, Work Visa
What is a Work Visa
A work visa is a form of visa that grants the holder authorization to work in a foreign country. Work visas may be issued in the passport or as a separate document. If you are planning to shift to another country and work there, you need a work visa. The rules and regulations regarding work visas may differ from country to country. In some countries, work visas are highly specific, and you need a special form of visa for a particular job, and once you start work in that country, you cannot take any other job apart from the one your visa allows.
Work Visa Categories in the US
In the US, temporary work visas fall under the H nonimmigrant visa classification. Potential employers have to file a petition for this type of work with the USCIS (with US Citizenship and Immigration Services), and the employee still needs to apply for a visa before coming to the country. There are different categories under the H classification.
H-1B – for employees in a specified professional or academic field or with expertise having a college degree or higher or the equivalent in work experience. H-1B visas typically have a residency cap of three years.
H-2A and H-2B – for seasonal, or peak load, temporary employees. H-2A is for workers in agriculture, while H-2B is for workers with a non-agricultural background. These visas do not typically extend beyond a year.
H-3 – for people seeking training in any endeavor (except graduate medical school or training). This visa classification is for those who want training within the country but will be pursuing their careers outside of the country.
Read more on: How to Apply for US Work Visa
What is a Green Card
A green card is an identity document that shows a person has permanent residency status in the United States. It is also known as a permanent resident card, and card holders are formally known as LPRS or lawful permanent residents. A green card is a type of visa that allows immigrants to live and work in the US. After three or five years of lawful permeant resident status, green card holders can become US citizens. Green Card holders can also sponsor their close relatives (spouse, children, etc.) to get a Green Card and live and work in the US.
Green Card Visa Categories
There are different types of green card visas, including family-based green cards (for close relatives of US citizens), employment-based green cards (for certain types of workers), and humanitarian green cards (refugees, asylum seekers, and victims of crimes and abuse). The US government also holds a green card lottery each year and randomly selects applicants from geographical areas like Africa, Asia, and Oceania for permanent residence in the US.
When considering employment-based green cards, there are three common immigrant visa categories:
EB-1: Priority Workers – workers of extraordinary ability, with expertise in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, nationally or internationally known for their achievements. For example, famous researchers, university professors, managers of multinational companies, etc.
EB-2: Advanced Workers – professionals with advanced degrees or a combination of a Bachelor’s degree and five years of post-Bachelor’s work experience, with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts of business, and professionals who can work for the benefit of the national interest of the United States.
EB-3: Skilled or Other Workers – Professionals with a Bachelor’s degree or those equivalent filling a role that requires a college degree. For example, architects, engineers, and teachers. They require at least two years of training or experience.
Relationship Between Work Visa and Green Card
- Both work visa holders and green card holders can work in the United States.
- A holder of a work visa can apply for a green card once they are in the United States.
Difference Between Work Visa and Green Card
A work visa is a form of visa that grants the holder authorization to work in a foreign country, while a green card is an identity document that shows a person has permanent residency in the United States.
Work visas allow a temporary stay, while green cards allow permanent residency. Moreover, work visas are not a path to citizenship or permanent residency.
Furthermore, work visas are only for employment purposes, while green card visas have many categories, for example, for immediate relatives of US citizens, refugees, etc.
A work visa should be obtained before entering the country, but a green card can be applied for after entering the country.
A green card is a physical card, while a work visa may be stamped in the passport or issued as a separate document.
Work visa grants the holder authorization to work in the United States, while green cards allow a person permanent residency in the United States. This is the main difference between work visa and green card. However, a holder of a work visa can apply for a green card once they are in the United States.