Alien registration numbers and USCIS numbers are often confused but differ slightly. To compare an alien registration number vs USCIS number, take an alien registration number with seven to nine digits while an USCIS number has nine.
Both are issued to non-American citizens who have applied for a green card and intend to obtain permanent residence in the United States
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issues both numbers to act as your identification number and monitor your immigration paperwork should you file a petition later. However, only some qualify for an alien registration visa.
For instance, tourists apply for a visa as they will temporarily be in the country. So let’s look at both in detail, alien registration number vs USCIS number:
Alien Registration Number
An alien registration number is also known as an A-number or alien number. It contains seven to nine digits separated by a hyphen. In addition, it is given to non-US citizens seeking United States Citizenship.
You get an alien number after applying for a green card. View USCIS Number on Green Card on the above image.
However, only some are eligible for an A-number, and some exceptions exist.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services determines whether or not you get the A-number. An A-number contains seven to 9 digits separated by a hyphen. Once you get it, you will have it forever, as it doesn’t expire.
Who Qualifies for an A-Number?
You are granted an A-number if:
- You have qualified for permanent residency in the U.S
- In addition, you have an immigrant visa
- You have an F-1 student visa
- Green card holders
- International students with work authorization
However, non-immigrants, like tourists, are not given the alien number but can visit the U.S. with a non-immigrant visa.
Where To Find Your A-Number
Your A-is often indicated in all documents you receive from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services such as:
- Your Green card
- Your work permit/ employment authorization document
- Immigrant visa
- Your notice of action
What’s the Alien Registration Number Used For?
The U.S. issues non-American citizens with alien numbers to:
- Monitor the number of foreigners in the country
- Locate you in case of an emergency
- Maintain data of your records, for instance, criminal records
- Monitor your immigration forms form i
The Alien registration number is a must-have as it’s your identity in the U.S. If your alien number gets lost, you can get another by requesting the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to process one.
However, it would help if you keep pictures of your documents to have the number still even if you lost all the documents. Losing your Alien registration number can hinder you from getting some services in the U.S. Moreover, with it, it may be easier to prove that you are in the country legally.
How Does The A-Number Look?
Most alien numbers are nine digits long. The number often starts with an A and is preceded by other digits, for instance, A023145678.
The USCIS Number
The number is also called the green card number or permanent resident card number. A permanent resident green card number has thirteen characters preceded by three letters, like EAC. It is a unique number given to non-residents and is what differentiates immigrant cases.
Therefore, it is sometimes referred to as your USCIS case number. The case number is very important in tracking your case if you have a complaint with immigration services.
A green card number is issued to everyone who applies for a green card from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Once you have your number, you key it online to check the progress of your case.
Additionally, with your permanent resident card number, you can enquire about any question about your immigration status.
Who Needs a USCIS number?
You need a USCIS number if:
- You want to enquire about your green card processing
- You need to Settle the USCIS immigrant fee
- Do you want to change your mailing address
- You want to get your case updates online
- You need information on your immigration documents
- You are an attorney, and you need access to your client’s case
The advantage of having a USCIS number is that you can follow up with any immigration services in the comfort of your own house.
How Do You Get a Green Card Number?
To be issued a green card number, you need to create your own USCIS account online. Your account makes it easier for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to confirm your identity. To create an account, you need the following:
- A copy of your passport
- A photocopy of your visa application
- Your visa
- Copy of the immigrant petition
Answering the questions is key to getting immediate access to your online USCIS account.
Where Do I Look For My USCIS Number?
For many people finding their number is a challenging task. First, you need to know exactly where to look. Nevertheless, it’s quite simple when you have been guided. On that account, you can find your number on the notice of action letter.
In addition, the account gives you peace of mind as you can track the green card process seamlessly.
Major Difference Between The Alien Registration Number vs USCIS Number
Alien Registration Number vs USCIS Number/ Permanent Resident Card Number
While an unknown number and the USCIS number differ, both mean the same thing on a green card. Green card is similar to a work visa, because they both allow you to work in the United States. The green card is a 7 or 9-digit number.
The number is written as USCIS# and is often found on the front side of your green card.
However, the Permanent resident card (alien registration card) number is different for all your applications, as it is issued to help you keep track of your green card application or case information.
Additionally, the alien and USCIS numbers on your Employee Authorization Document or work permit are the same.
How Do You Become a Green Card Holder?
You can become a lawful permanent resident of the United States when you get a permanent job offer. You automatically qualify to work and live in the U.S., but first, you must apply for a green card.
If you are a skilled worker or a recognized professional, then acquiring a green card will be easy since you are given top priority.
Additionally, when you are a permanent resident of the U.S., you get the right to invite your family or petition for your close family members to obtain permanent U.S. residency. However, committing a crime can lead to your Green card being revoked.
Steps to Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident
First, you must have an immigrant visa number to apply for a lawful permanent resident visa. Other ways you can become a green card holder include:
- An appeal from your company/employer
- Getting married to a citizen of the United States
- Being sponsored by a permanent citizen of the US
- Winning the green card lottery
Job applicants are often given top priority as compared to other applicants.
Why does the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services issue Social Security Numbers?
Whether you are a temporary resident or green card holder in the U.S., you are issued a social security number as it’s a requirement by the government. It Makes you eligible to receive benefits from the government.
What’s more, it makes it easy for the U.S. government to keep a record of the years you have worked in the country.
Additionally, it’s a way for the government to know your earning capability to determine benefits such as your health insurance limit. As a permanent or temporary resident of the U.S., you need a social security number to:
- Acquire a bank account
- Apply for a loan
- Inform the government that you are unemployed
- To get immigration benefits
- To acquire a driving license
- To gain a passport
To get a social security number, you are required to provide an account of your immigration status. It takes up to 4 weeks for your application to be approved and processed.
Green Card Renewal
Green card renewal application is a process that enables the holder of a green card to extend their stay in the United States. The process can be done by mail or online. An online green card renewal application can be submitted through USCIS website, while an application by mail can be submitted through the United States Postal Service.
A green card holder may also apply for a replacement green card if they lost their original one. Renewing a green card through mail may take 4 – 6 weeks. If you are over 18 but under 21 you will have to have a letter of support from your parents/guardian.
The United States is a country of immigrants. It is not just a place where people come to live, but it is also a place where people can become citizens. There are different ways to become citizens in the U.S., and they depend on the type of citizenship you want. There are three types of citizenships:
- derivative citizenship
Natural-born citizenship means that you were born in the United States or one of its territories (such as Puerto Rico).
Naturalized citizenship means that you have taken steps to become an American citizen after living in the U.S for 5 years or more and passing English tests, history tests, and other requirements set by Congress.
Derivative citizenship means that your parents were citizens when you were born so you automatically became an American citizen too even if your birthplace was outside of the U.S Citizens of the United States are American citizens by their birth if they were born in one of the 50 states, in Washington D.C., or U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam, or the Northern Mariana Islands.
F-1 Students (International Students)
In the past few decades, American universities have seen a drastic increase in international students. The number of international students has increased by more than 250% in the past 20 years.
In 2014, there were 1.08 million international students in US colleges and universities, which was a record high.
The number of international students studying in US colleges and universities has increased by more than 250% over the last two decades.
In 2014, there were 1.08 million international students enrolled at American schools and colleges, a record high that surpasses the previous year’s figures by 15%.
The F-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows international students to study at U.S. institutions. The F-1 visa is typically issued for the duration of the student’s studies, but can be extended if the student has a job offer from an employer in the United States.
The F-1 visa is typically issued for the duration of the student’s studies, but can be extended if the student has a job offer from an employer in the United States.
F-1 Student Visa Requirements for Non-Immigrant Students
The F-1 visa holder may not engage in employment in any capacity while studying at institution of higher education. Employment is limited to:
- Curricular Practical Training: The F-1 student may work for an employer in the United States during the program period.
- Not more than 20 hours of paid employment in school term per week and not more than 40 hours per week throughout the academic year.
- The F-1 student may also be employed by on-campus organizations, such as a research laboratory, or a service club that is affiliated with their institution and registered with the United States Department of Labor, provided that the student is not employed by a school.
What type of employment is allowed for an F-1 or J-1 Visa holder?
Student visa holders with visa type either F-1 visas or J-1 Visas are permitted to work on campus as long as the employment does not conflict with their status as a foreign student.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is an American law that allows citizens to ask for information from the federal government. The FOIA was designed to give any citizen the ability to access records from any branch of the federal government in order to verify the accuracy of disputed entries in a database of individuals and businesses”.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protected Status was created by Congress to give protection from deportation to certain people from countries where conditions were so dangerous that returning citizens would be unable to safely return home and instead would need to seek protection in the United States.
The US currently has Temporary Protected Status for citizens of seven countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan and Syria.
What is Refugee Status?
Refugee status is granted to people who are fleeing their home country and seeking refuge in a different country. They are granted refugee status if they are part of a group that is being persecuted by the government or by an organization.
In order to be granted refugee status, you must be able to prove that you have been persecuted in your home country and that you cannot go back because of the persecution. You must also show that you were not part of the persecution but just happened to get caught up in it.
The key takeaways for comparing alien registration numbers vs USCIS number are that the green card numbers and alien registration numbers are both issued to anyone who applies for a green card. However, the green card number is given to you by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services so that you can easily monitor your green card application process.
On the other hand, the alien number is issued to you once you have successfully qualified for a green card or permanent residency. Therefore, your alien registration number is your id while you are in the United States. It’s important since it’s proof that you are in the country legally.
In addition, the alien registration and the green card numbers are the same on your green card and your employment authorization document. Therefore, you can request your alien number through the Freedom of Information Act of the U.S. embassy if you misplace yours.
An easy way to differentiate the two numbers is that the Alien registration number has nine digits while the permanent resident number has thirteen characters, including three letters.
A foreign national any time in need of legal services or legal advice on immigration or their status, should contact a law firm that specializes in immigration, for legal advice.