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Immigration and Legal: Green Card
Employment-Based Preferences | Green Card Lottery
Green Card

What is a Green Card?

A "green card" is the commonly used term for an Alien Registration Receipt Card. The main purpose of a green card is to identify the holder as a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States. LPRs have more rights than holders of non-immigrant visas, such as tourist or exchange visas, yet they have fewer rights than U.S. citizens. LPRs are required to make America their permanent home, or they risk revocation of their green cards. Note: A cardholder is permitted to travel outside the U.S. with some restrictions.

How can an international student get a green card?

There are numerous ways for an international students can obtain a green card. However, the two most common and simple ways are:

  1. Employment-Based Preferences
  2. Green Card Lottery
Why is it called Green Card?

As you may suspect, the design of the "alien registration" card has changed over the years for various reasons, not the least of which is preventing forgeries. In fact, the original Alien Registration Card (Form AR-3) wasn't green either, but the 1940 law requiring all foreign nationals to register didn't grant the same rights that today's green card does.

Initially, the AR-3 was designed to assist in tracking aliens living in the United States, but it didn't distinguish between permanent and temporary residents. After World War II, the first green "green card" (I-151)-the one from which the term derives-was created. Residents with AR-3s who could prove legal entry into the United States received this card.

In 1951, new rights were granted to green card holders, but because these new cards were so valuable, forged documents began to appear. In 1977, the current green card, which is now pink, was made machine-readable to prevent forgeries (I-551). This was the 19th version of the "green card." The cards have been issued in pale blue, dark blue, pink, and pink-and-blue.

Source: Why Isn't the Green Card Green?

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