What is
A Green Card? Let’s find out

A green card is an identification card that makes you a lawful resident of the USA. You can receive it when you are authorized to work and live in the USA. The green card is also essential in obtaining and applying for US Citizenship, as most green card holders are able to do so.

The green card reduces the hassle of getting visas and obtaining green cards into a single process. There are almost 1 million people that apply for green cards every year. Obtaining the green card through the US DV program makes up for 5% of the total people that apply for the green card per year.

Check your eligibility

Definition of a green card

What is the difference
between a green card
and citizenship?

The following chart will quickly review some of the differences between a green card holer and a citizen of the U.S. Details are shown below.

As a green card holder, you can

  • Apply for visas for your husband or wife and unmarried children to live in the U.S.
  • Be eligible to receive social security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicare benefits.
  • Serve in certain branches of the U.S. military.
  • Be eligible for federal benefits such as food stamps, Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. This will depend on how long you have been in the U.S. and how much money you make.
  • Travel outside of the U.S. Trips that last for less than one year are usually okay, but longer trips could hurt your green card status.

As a U.S. citizen, you can

  • Run for office in a public election.
  • Vote in local, state, and federal elections.
  • Apply for visas for your relatives to live in the U.S. Unlike green card holders; citizens can apply for visas for their brothers and sisters. And their immediate relatives—their husbands or wives, unmarried children under age 21, and parents—don’t have to wait in line for a visa to become available.
  • Get citizenship for children born abroad.
  • Travel outside of the U.S. with a U.S. passport. Many countries won’t make you get a visa to enter if you have a U.S. passport. And you can seek protection or assistance at any U.S. embassy or consulate while abroad, using your passport as proof of your U.S. citizenship. For example, if you have a medical emergency, if your passport is lost or stolen, or if you are a victim of crime, you can get help at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • Apply for certain federal jobs—many federal agencies require applicants to be U.S. citizens.

Both green card holders and U.S. citizens can

  • Own or rent property in the U.S.
  • Apply for a driver’s license.
  • Go to public schools and colleges.
  • Get bank accounts.
  • Get a social security number, which you will need to apply for a job.
Also, both green card holders and U.S. citizens must: file federal and state income tax returns.


Register with the Selective Service if you are a man between the ages of 18 and 25

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