BizTerm Definition
green card
Full Definition

The well-known term for an Alien Registration Receipt Card. This plastic photo identification card is given to individuals who are legal permanent residents of the United States. It serves as a U.S. entry document in place of a visa, enabling permanent residents to return to the United States after temporary absences. The key characteristic of a green card is that it allows the holder to live permanently in the United States. Unless you abandon your residence or commit certain types of crimes, your green card can never be taken away. Possession of a green card also allows you to work in the United States legally. You can apply for a green card while you are in the United States or while you are elsewhere, but you can actually receive the green card only inside American borders. If you apply for your green card outside the United States, you will first be issued an immigrant visa. Only after you use the immigrant visa to enter the United States can you get a green card. Those who hold green cards for a certain length of time may eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. Green cards have an expiration date of ten years from issuance. This does not mean that your permanent resident status expires. You must simply apply for a new card.


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