Misleading advertisement: Passports or green cards?

I happened to spot an online advertisement for a company that will help you enter the lottery for a United States Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as a Green Card (even though they card isn't green any more). The advertisement was illustrated with a picture of a United States passport.

Um, a Green Card is not the same as a passport, nor does a Green Card authorize you to obtain a passport. Passports are for citizens, not alien permanent residents.

Comments (20)
  1. Raphael says:

    Interesting fact: Green cards have been green again since May 2010.

  2. Romme says:

    Umm, you seriously expected online advertizing to be honest?

  3. Mott555 says:


    Umm, you seriously expected advertising to be honest?


  4. Brian Marshall says:

    For many people, permanent residency is the first (well, okay, next) step towards citizenship. Getting a green card begins the clock on a time period of, I believe, five years (IANAL), after which you can apply for citizenship if you kept your nose clean. So I wouldn't say the picture is entirely misleading.

    I believe the really misleading part is that the real US lottery page is open and free to anybody, but these companies charge you a fee and all they do is go to the US government page and enter you into the lottery. Which you could do yourself. The lottery page even has a "Check My Entry" feature, so you can verify that your entry is in the lottery correctly. The ultimate in unnecessary middle-man services. I'm guessing by the time you enter all the data plus your credit card info, you've done more work on the third party site than you've done on the US government site, and paid for the privilege.

  5. Mark (The other Mark) says:

    Green cards are green again- Although, they may not have been when you wrote this entry.  The new ones were released May 11 of 2010.

  6. James says:

    You can probably enter the lottery without paying a 3rd party too.

  7. John says:

    You "happened to spot"?  More likely the ad managed to circumvent the popup blocker.

  8. Gabe says:

    The only possible value-adds that somebody can reasonbly perform are translation services (i.e. you fill out a form in your native language and somebody else enters it into the English US Government web site) and asynchronous notification. It seems that the only way to know if you've been selected in the lottery is to poll, so it might be nice to have somebody else do the polling for you.

  9. You can probably enter the lottery without paying a 3rd party too.

    As the warning Raymond links to points out, entering the lottery twice is against the rules.

  10. Bob says:

    Sort of like those companies that will file your Homestead Exemption for a fee.

  11. assport says:

    If I remember correctly, Microsoft was one of the most prominent companies to try to sell passport to people.

  12. Michael G says:

    Green card lottery will always remind me of Canter & Siegel.  Ah, those were the days.

  13. James Curran says:

    IBM produced a card listing the OpCodes and other developer information about their 360 mainframe.  It was printed on green cardstock, and was generally known as a "Green Card".  When IBM created the 370, it switched to yellow cardstock.  Nevertheless, programmer continued to call them Green cards even though many had never seen a green one.  

    Hence we have two different non-green documents known as "green cards".

  14. JustSomeGuy says:

    @James, old-timers also refer to 3390 disks and object "decks" despite the fact that the underlying disk hardware is vastly changed and that a deck of puched cards hasn't been spotted in the wild since the 70s :-)

  15. Simon R says:

    Am I the only one who finds the term 'alien' somewhat offensive when used describe someone who's living in the country but happens not to be a citizen? Citizens of foreign countries are after all just as much human as are US citizens, but to my ears the word 'alien' carries connotations of non/sub-human.  If I have to make the citizen/foreigner distinction, I'd simply refer to people as 'foreigners'

    (It's possible this may be a dialect difference – I'm from the UK. I haven't heard the term 'alien' used nearly as often here as I see it used in the USA, so perhaps it doesn't carry the same connotations there?)

  16. kbiel says:

    > Am I the only one who finds the term 'alien' somewhat offensive

    Short answer, yes: http://www.google.com/search

  17. answerbyexample says:

    > Am I the only one who finds the term 'alien' somewhat offensive


  18. Gabe says:

    The US has used the term "aliens" for hundreds of years to mean citizens of another country. The use of the term "aliens" has only be used to mean non-humans (extraterrestrials) since 1953 (according to http://www.etymonline.com/index.php).

    Incidentally, the term "computer" has also been used to refer to humans for hundreds of years, and has only come into common use to refer to non-humans since the last century.

  19. shadowfixer says:

    In reply to Simon R, we also have Aliens in the UK, a few of my friends back in Uni ('90s) were American, and had to register as legal aliens…  i guess what comes around goes around!

    As an aside, not everyone is able to apply for a green card through the Green Card Lottery – in fact, if you are English, despite the "special relationship" that gets harped on about, you cannot apply through the Green Card Lottery, as in fact it is actually a "Diversity Immigration Visa", and being English (although not British), there are too many English people in the USA, so allowing more in doesn't add to any ethnic diversity….

  20. Gabe says:

    shadowfixer: It's not that there are too many English people in the USA, it's that too many English recently immigrated to the USA (over 50k in the last 5 years). If Englishmen would stop getting jobs in the US and bringing their wives and kids over, they would become eligible for the lottery.

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