As we have discussed many times in the past on this blog, there are many different visa programs that offer access to the United States for a set temporary period of time or for permanent residency. Most employment or educated-based visas are temporary, providing a set period of time during which a person can stay in the United States to work or learn and requiring renewal at the end of the term.
Permanent residency, on the other hand, is nearly irrevocable absent conviction for certain types of crimes. Permanent residency also gives immigrants access to U.S. citizenship after five years of continuous residency in the United States. Permanent residence is available through family immigration and through other programs like the U visa for crime victims. Permanent residency is also available through the Green Card Lottery, also known as the diversity visa, which admits about 50,000 people each year.