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why do they call it a green card

It's important to realize that the words visa and green card can mean more than one thing. In fact, while in some cases their meanings are quite distinct, in other situations, their meanings overlap a bit. Let s start with the narrow meanings. A visa gives you the right to present yourself at the border or port of entry and seek entry to the United States. (Ultimately, the U. S. Customs and Border Protection officer at the border or airport makes the final decision whether to allow you into the country. Nonetheless, having the visa is normally a good sign that you'll be allowed to enter. )
Physically, a visa usually appears as a stamp in your passport.

When you receive instructions to go to a U. S. consulate to pick up your visa, it means that you will be getting this stamp or an equivalent document that allows you to enter the United States. Green card is a slang term. In the narrowest usage, it is the plastic photo identification card that you receive when you become a U. S. lawful permanent resident. Now, for the broader meanings. The word visa may also be used in situations involving immigrants who are already in the United States and won t need an entry visa.

That is partly because someone in the deep dark offices of the U. S. State Department may have to allocate a visa number to these immigrants, though the immigrants may never even know it. When you read discussions about your visa eligibility or visa availability, they are not referring to the actual visa that you pick up overseas, but to the broader, theoretical visa that the State Department will allocate to you. The term green card also takes on broader meanings at times.

It is often used to refer to lawful permanent residence or lawful conditional residence. When you see the term green card application, it is actually referring to one of the application processes (adjustment of status or consular processing) that could lead to obtaining U. S. residence. In the outset of WWII, as babies were booming and Rosies were Riveting, the United States became more attractive to immigrants, and counterfeit green cards became a serious problem. To fight document fraud, INS redesigned the green card 17 times between 1952 and 1977, according.

In 1964, for example, it changed to pale blue. These color changes helped immigration officials more quickly identify new and expired versions. In 1977, the INS switched to centralized card production at the Immigration Card Facility in Texas, where the green cards formerly flimsy pieces of paper became more like driver licenses or credit cards, durable IDs that could be scanned by a machine. In addition to preventing the disintegration of a green card in the wash, this also made it easier for officials to access file data.

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