You will be asked to give your Alien Registration Number on any of the forms, petitions or applications you will file with USCIS. The other names for your Alien Registration Number are “A-Number” and “USCIS Number”. We will use the terms “A-Number” or “Alien Registration Number” interchangeably in this article.
Your Alien Registration Number is a 7, 8 or 9 digit number assigned specifically to you. All non-U.S. citizens are given an Alien Registration Number by the Department of Homeland Security if they apply for a green card. This number will help you and USCIS identify you in all of your communications with them. Your Alien Registration Number will stay the same for life.
An “Alien Registration Card” is simply another name for a “green card” or “Permanent Resident Card”. The reason a green card or Permanent Resident Card is sometimes called an “Alien Registration Card” is that your A-Number is printed on the front of your green card. This is where the front of your green card says “USCIS #” with 9 digits below it. Those 9 digits are your Alien Registration Number.
Who Is Given An Alien Registration Number?
An Alien Registration Number, or A-Number, is given to any non-U.S. citizen when they apply for a green card. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for permanent residency through marriage, employment, as a refugee, or any other way. Any person who plans to immigrate to the U.S. to live permanently will receive an Alien Registration Number when they apply for a visa.
Usually, people who are only visiting the United States don’t receive an Alien Registration number. This is because they don’t plan to live in the U.S. permanently.
Additionally, international students in the U.S. on F-1 Student Visas with the right to work, are assigned A-numbers.
When Will I Be Assigned My Alien Registration Number?
Most non-U.S. citizens are given their Alien Registration Number when they apply for a green card. As we said above though, if you already have a F-1 Student Visa with the right to work, you should have an A-Number. There are three types of employment that F-1 Students can have, CPT, OPT, and STEM OPT. If you worked with any of these three types of employment, you probably already have an A-Number.
If you’re already in the United States and you’re applying for a marriage-based green card through adjustment of status your A-number should be on the receipt notice from USCIS. USCIS will mail this receipt notice to you shortly after they get your application. How quickly you get your A-Number in this situation depends on if you’re married to a U.S. citizen or a green card holder.
If you are married to a U.S. citizen you will apply for permanent residency using Form I-485. In this case you should receive your Alien Registration Number about 30 days after you send your application.
If you are married to a green card holder it will take longer. This is because you have to file I-130 and then wait for a visa to become available on the Visa Bulletin before you can file your Form I-485. Due to this wait, it could take between 9 -12 months for you to get an A-Number.
If you live outside of the United States and you’re applying for a marriage based green card, you will do this through Consular Processing. This means you will have to attend a green card interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. At this interview you will receive some documents that will have your A-Number in them. If you receive a visa-stamp in your passport at this meeting, it will also have your A-Number.
Where Is My Alien Registration Number?
Any Documents From USCIS
When you apply for your green card, your A-Number will be on any document that the USCIS sends you from then on. Your A-Number should be listed on the first receipt you ever receive in the mail from USCIS.
Your Alien Registration Number is usually going to be the letter “A”, followed by a 7,8 or 9 digit number. Your A-Number should usually be listed in an obvious space at the top of the documents you receive from the USCIS.
If your green card application is approved, you will receive your physical green card in the mail. On the front of the actual card there will be a place that reads “USCIS#”. Below this there will be a 9 digit number listed with dashes every three numbers like this: “000-000-000”. This is your Alien Registration Number. Your USCIS#, A-Number, and Alien Registration Number are all the same number.
On the back of your green card, at the bottom, there is a combination of 90 characters, in three rows. Each row has 30 characters and your Alien Registration Number will be in the first row of characters. The first thing you will see is either “C1” or “C2”. The next thing you see is “USA”, after that, there is a 9 digit number which is your Alien Registration Number.
So it will look like this: “C1USA000000000”. Those 9 digits are your A-Number. If your A-Number is less than 9 digits, it will have one or two 0’s before it.
What If I Lost My Alien Registration Number?
If you cannot find your A-number and you have no documents from USCIS where your A-Number might be listed, you can request records using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
What’s The Difference Between My A-Number and My Green Card Number?
Your Alien Registration Number and your Green Card Number are not the same even though they both appear on many of the documents from USCIS. Your green card number and your A-number look different and also have different uses. It’s important to know how you can tell the two apart.
Your Alien Registration Number (A-Number) usually has an “A” in front of it. This is one of the easiest ways to identify your A-Number. Also, your A-Number is 7,8 or 9 digits long. Altogether, your A-Number will begin with an A and be followed by 9 numbers: “A009876543”. Your A-Number will always stay the same throughout your life.
Your green card number is also called a “receipt number”, “permanent resident number” or “USCIS case number” by USCIS. You will need your green card number to check the status of any of your applications online. Your green card number is a 13 character code and always begins with three capitalized letters such as “VSC”, “EAC” or “LIN”. Altogether, your green card number will contain letters and 10 numbers: “VSC2219712345”.
One thing that can be confusing is that sometimes USCIS calls your Alien Registration Number your “USCIS Number” and sometimes calls your green card number your “USCIS case number”. Be careful to look for the word “case” to identify the number.
Are the Alien Registration Number and Form I-94 The Same?
No, Form I-94 is attached to your passport when you enter the U.S. The purpose of Form I-94 is to inform you of the date by which you must leave the U.S. The admission number on Form I-94 is 11 digits long and contains no letters. Your Alien Registration Number begins with an “A” and will be followed by 9 digits.
If you’re nearing the end of your 2-year visa and need to renew your DACA you will need your A-Number when filing for renewal. If you’ve already been approved for DACA before, your A-Number should be printed on the first approval that you received.
Your Alien Registration Number, also called your A-Number, will most likely be written on any communication you’ve received from USCIS.
Can I find My A-Number On My Passport?
If you applied for a green card through Consular Processing from a country outside of the U.S., and you were approved to come to the U.S. then your passport was stamped in your green card interview. That stamp, inside your passport, would have your A-Number.
How Can I Get An A-Number?
The most common way for a person to be given an Alien Registration Number (A-Number) is by applying for a green card. When a person applies for a green card they should automatically be issued an A-Number which will appear on their first receipt notice from USCIS.
As mentioned above, if you already have a F-1 Student Visa with the right to work, you should have an A-Number as well. You may also have an A-Number if you are in the U.S. with a DACA visa.
You do not seek out an Alien Registration Number by itself. Instead, it is a number you receive as part of the process of applying for an extended visa in the U.S.A.
Will My A-Number Always Stay The Same?
Yes, your A-Number will always remain the same for the rest of your life and never expire. After it’s been issued to you it will never change, even if your green card expires or your immigration status changes. Your Alien Registration Number (A-Number) is a number used to specifically identify you by USCIS.
Is My A-Number On My Employment Authorization Document?
Yes, and it is printed the same way that it would be printed on a green card. The front of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) should say “USCIS#” and below that, there are 9 numbers. Those 9 numbers are your A-Number.
Do I Need My Documents Translated Into English?
Yes, if you are applying for a green card or any other extended visa in the U.S., you will need to include some documents. You will need a certified translation of these documents. Some documents that commonly need to be translated are these:
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