What Is a Green Card? An Overview of EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 Visas

Last Updated on June 20, 2024

What Is a Green Card?

A green card is officially known as a Lawful Permanent Resident Card. By having a green card, individuals can live and work permanently in the U.S.

An individual who has a green card is also referred to as Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).

What Are the Benefits of a Green Card?

In addition to being able to permanently live and work in the U.S., lawful permanent residents enjoy many other benefits. These include:

  • Eventual ability to pursue U.S. citizenship after meeting the legal requirements
  • Additional legal rights
  • Can collect Social Security after a period of time
  • Can sponsor certain relatives for their own green card

Types of Green Cards

These are the three most common immigrant visa categories that are the basis for an employment-based (EB) green card application. They are:

  • EB-1: Priority Workers
  • EB-2: Advanced Workers
  • EB-3: Skilled or Other Workers

What Is the EB-1 Visa?

Individuals must meet the following eligibility criteria for the EB-1: Priority Worker category:

  • Workers of extraordinary ability (such as individuals with expertise in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics).
    • The beneficiary must be nationally or internationally known for his or her achievements.
  • Outstanding university professors or researchers.
  • Executives or managers of multinational companies.

What Is the EB-2 Visa?

Individuals must meet the following eligibility criteria for the EB-2: Advanced Workers category:

  • Professionals who hold advanced degrees or a combination of a bachelor’s degree and five years of post-bachelor work experience.
  • Foreign nationals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business.
  • Professionals whose work benefits the national interest of the U.S.

What Is the EB-3 Visa?

Individuals must meet the following eligibility criteria for the EB-3: Professionals, Skilled or Other Workers category:

  • Professionals with a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent who are filling a role that requires a college degree. Examples include engineers, architects and teachers.
  • Skilled workers include foreign nationals with at least two years of training or work experience who may or may not hold a college degree.
  • Other or unskilled workers are those filling a job that requires less than two years of training or experience. Examples include nannies, housekeepers, groundskeepers and nurse’s aides.

How Much Does a Green Card Cost?

Please see the fee glossary in our ABCs of Immigration Guide for more details.  

How Long Does a Green Card Last?

Lawful permanent residents can work and live in the U.S. indefinitely. Individuals need to renew their physical green card every 10 years.

More so, 90 days before their fifth anniversary as a lawful permanent resident, a green card holder is typically eligible to apply for citizenship.

Envoy Global can help you navigate the green card and permanent residency process and other immigration matters by combining top immigration law firms and a robust technology platform. If you want to simplify your company’s immigration program, contact us to learn more.

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Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.