DEFINITION of 'Green Card'

Green card is a colloquial name for the identification card issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to permanent residents, who are legally allowed to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.

BREAKING DOWN 'Green Card'

Individuals can be eligible for a green card through family, work, refugee or asylee status, or a variety of special programs. These include the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which makes 50,000 visas available each year through a lottery system targeted at underrepresented countries. Making investments above a certain threshold can entitle an investor to permanent resident status. The Director of Central Intelligence can also grant green cards. 

Green cards got their nickname because they were green in color from 1946 to 1964. In 2010 they became green again, but the nickname persisted during the intervening decades of blue, pink and yellow "green cards." 

Permanent residents who are 18 or older are required to carry their green cards at all times or face a fine or jail time. The cards expire after 10 years and must be renewed, except for those issued from 1977 to 1989, which never expire. Conditional permanent residents, who obtain legal status through a recent marriage or investment, must renew their green cards after two years.

 

 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Green Investing

    Investment activities that focus on companies or projects that ...
  2. Green Fund

    Green funds invest only in sustainable or socially conscious ...
  3. Stored-Value Card

    A stored value card is a type of electronic bank debit card.
  4. Universal Default

    Universal default allows a credit card company to raise a card’s ...
  5. Card Recovery Bulletin

    A card recovery bulletin is published by credit card issuers ...
  6. Open Loop Card

    An open loop card is an electronic payment card that can be used ...
Related Articles
  1. Managing Wealth

    How the Green Card Lottery Really Works

    Here's how the popular green card lottery, run by the U.S. State Department, operates, including some tips on improving your odds of winning.
  2. Personal Finance

    What Happens When Your Credit Card Expires?

    Find out why credit cards have expiration dates, and why updating your credit card once in a while is a good idea.
  3. Investing

    Shades of Green Fixed Income

    While the green bond market continues to grow, it still lacks transparency and a formal compliance process.
  4. Personal Finance

    Credit, Debit and Charge: Sizing Up the Cards in Your Wallet

    Not all plastic is equal! Learn the difference among the three kinds, and how each can affect your finances.
  5. Personal Finance

    3 New Types Of Credit Cards To Look For

    These three types of credit cards are becoming popular with customers looking to pay less fees and build up their credit scores.
  6. Personal Finance

    Best Credit Card Features For Students

    Students should look for credit cards that charge no annual fees, have a low introductory interest rate and offer rewards or money.
  7. Personal Finance

    Credit vs. Debit Cards: Which Is Better?

    Credit and debit cards may look identical, but they're not. Be strategic about which type of card you use.
  8. Personal Finance

    How to Find the Right Prepaid Debit Card

    Prepaid debit cards have become very popular. Here are some tips for choosing the right one for your needs.
  9. Insights

    What Does It Mean To Be Green?

    Green investing is the new buzzword for companies and investors. Find out what it means.
  10. Personal Finance

    Credit Card or Cash: Which To Use?

    Credit cards are more convenient to use than cash, but they're not always the best choice. Here is why you should and shouldn't pay with a credit card.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Does investing in sustainable or "green" companies provide lower returns?

    To determine the kinds of returns that can be expected from investments in sustainable or "green" companies, the distinction ... Read Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between a prepaid credit card and a gift card?

    Although prepaid and gift cards are used in the same manner, a prepaid credit card can be used repeatedly, while a gift card ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center