Visas and Green Cards FAQ

There is no such thing as a work visa. Some visas allow you to work without any additional work authorization from the INS.

For example, H visa and L visa holders may work for the employer who petitioned for them without applying for work authorization. Other visa holders may not work at all for a US employer. For example, B Visa holders may not work for a US employer and are not eligible to apply for work authorization.

Other kinds of visa holders are eligible to apply for work authorization. For example, in some circumstances, students may receive permission to work from designated officials at their school. In addition, those who have filed applications for green cards may apply for work authorization.

To apply for a green card you must meet two requirements: 1) you must be eligible to apply and 2) you must be admissible to the United States. Most people become eligible to apply for a green card based on either their relationship to a family member who is a U.S. citizen/permanent resident or based on an approved petition by an employer. A small number of people become eligible to apply for a green card on another basis. For example, some people become eligible to apply for a green card by receiving a grant of asylum or by being selected for the diversity lottery.

In addition, you must be admissible to the United States. Some people are not admissible to the U.S. because of convictions or violations of the conditions of their visas. Others are not admissible because of misrepresentations they have made to government officials.

No, you are only eligible to apply for an extension of your visa or to change to another visa if you are in status. There may be an exception to this rule for those who are currently eligible to apply for a green card.

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