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Houston Immigration Lawyers > Blog > Immigration > What Is The Difference Between A Permanent Resident Card And A Green Card?

What Is The Difference Between A Permanent Resident Card And A Green Card?


The United States allows immigrants from all across the world to obtain permanent residency. Upon obtaining permanent residency, every immigrant is given a card that some refer to as a “permanent resident card” and others refer to as a “green card.”

 What Is A Permanent Resident Card? 

A permanent resident card is an identity document. By possessing a permanent resident card, a non-U.S. citizen can demonstrate that they have permanent residency within the United States and, as such, can live and work within the country.

 What Is A Green Card? 

A green card is an identity document that a non-U.S. citizen receives when they become a permanent resident. Even though the term “green card” is distinct from the term “permanent resident card,” they are the exact same thing.

The reason why a permanent resident card is known as a “green card” is because, from the years 1950 to 1964, every permanent resident card.

For a time, permanent resident cards were other colors, such as blue and yellow. And, then, in 2010, permanent resident cards became green again, which is why the name continues to stick.

 What Are The Different Types Of Permanent Resident Cards? 

A wide variety of permanent resident cards exist. Each one of these permanent resident cards relates to specific categories that involve the applicant and their reasons for immigrating.

The most notable permanent resident cards are as follows:

  • A permanent resident card through family relations.
  • A permanent resident card through employment.
  • A permanent resident card through nonprofit religious work.
  • A permanent resident card through asylum/refugee status.

Every applicant possesses the ability to acquire one of these permanent resident cards. But, the specific permanent resident card that a particular applicant can acquire depends on which card they meet the requirements for.

For example, applicants who wish to acquire a permanent resident card due to their family relations must be one of the following:

  • The spouse of a United States citizen.
  • The parent of a United States citizen who is no younger than 21 years old.
  • An unmarried child who is under 21 and was born to a U.S. citizen.

Just as another example, a religious worker who wishes to acquire a permanent resident card must be one of the following:

  • Have been a member of a religious denomination with a non-profit religious organization status, in the United States, for at least two years before applying.
  • Seek to enter the United States as a minister or the religious vocation/occupation of their employer.
  • Have been working continuously, for at least the past two-years, as a religious minister or in a religious vocation/occupation in a professional or nonprofessional capacity.

Every applicant who meets the requirements for their respective permanent residency card can acquire permanent resident status. But, those who cannot meet the requirements of a particular permanent residency card will be unable to acquire permanent residency status.

 Speak With A Houston Immigration Lawyer 

Even though a permanent resident card and green card are often referred to in a way that makes them sound distinct, they are not. Rather, a permanent resident is an individual who possesses a green card, and a green card holder is a permanent resident.

Speak to a skilled Houston immigration lawyer today. We will assist you in determining which permanent residency card you are eligible for and, then, acquiring that permanent residency card.






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