Green Card (Permanent Resident Card)


The term green card refers to a document issued by a government agency that grants the holder lawful permanent residence.  Green cards can be obtained in a number of ways, including through employment.


Also known as a permanent resident card and alien registration receipt card, a green card is a government issued document that bestows permanent residence on immigrants.  In doing so, a green card also allows the holder to work indefinitely. The primary difference between a visa and a green card is duration.  Visas allow an individual to say on a temporary basis (visitor status), while a green card allows an individual to stay permanently (immigrant status).

Green cards can be obtained in a number of ways, and while the most popular scenario is through family, it can also be obtained through the individual's job or employer:

  • Employment Petition:  requires a firm job offer and the employer must petition on behalf of the employee using Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker).
  • Specialized Jobs:  there are several job-types that may allow an individual to obtain a green card, including:  translators, broadcasters, religious workers, physicians, members of NATO, and employees of international organizations.

Note: Individuals holding advanced academic degrees or those with specialized skills are given preferential treatment when evaluating applications for green cards.

Related Terms

applicant pool, pre-employment drug testingemployment background checkemployee eligibility form, work visa