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An Alien registration number (A-number) is a unique seven to nine-digit number that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) assigns to foreign nationals for identification purposes.
The U.S.C.I.S. uses alien registration numbers to identify immigrants who have applied to permanently live and work in the United States. A-numbers are also used to track the noncitizen’s immigration files (A-files) and must be provided when submitting immigration documents.
However, the A-number is not the same as a U.S.C.I.S. case number or a U.S.C.I.S. online account number.
If you applied for a permanent resident card or immigrant visa, you will receive an Alien Number. It will remain unchanged even if you change status or switch to a different type of immigrant visa. Alien numbers do not have an expiration date and will stay effective regardless of your immigration status.
A-Numbers begin with the letter “A” followed by eight or nine numbers (e.g., A012345678). They may appear on various immigration documents, including:
For example, if you are a green card holder, you can find your alien registration number in the upper right-hand corner of your green card (also known as an alien registration card).
The alien number on an employment authorization document is usually under the “# U.S.C.I.S.” on the information area on the front of the E.A.D. card or work permit.
An Alien registration number may be used for the following purposes:
Individuals who apply to permanently live in the U.S. are eligible for an A-number irrespective of the type of green card they applied for (e.g., family, marriage, employment).
Foreign nationals who intend to come to the U.S. temporarily for business or tourism will not be given an A-number. The only exception is students on F-1 visas. F1 visa holders will receive alien registration numbers despite not applying for a green card.
Most individuals will get an alien registration number after the U.S.C.I.S. receives their Application to Register Permanent Residence. Others, like F1 student visa holders, may receive their number after completing Optional Practical Training (O.P.T.).
Immigrants do not need to be present in the U.S. to receive an A-number. They can receive the number at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country, where they attended their consular interview.
Those who submit a marriage-based green card application as the spouse of a U.S. citizen can expect to receive their A-number within four weeks (approximately thirty days).
H-1B visa holders working in the United States will not receive an Alien registration number until their employer files Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker, on their behalf. If the U.S.C.I.S. approves their petition, the employee will receive an alien number.
However, dependents of the H-1B visa holder on an H-4 visa will not be issued an Alien number.
Immigrants who have lost their green cards and other immigration documents may use the online Freedom of Information Act (F.O.I.A.) online tool to access their A-number and other available immigration forms.
If you cannot find your Alien registration number, simply contact the U.S.C.I.S., and they will help you recover it quickly and easily. They may require evidence of identification or proof of your immigration status before providing you with the number.
An alien number is sometimes referred to as a U.S.C.I.S. number, but it should not be confused with a U.S.C.I.S. case number.
Your alien registration number is different from your U.S.C.I.S. case or receipt number, even though it may be found on your green card. The U.S.C.I.S. case number has thirteen characters, including three letters and ten numbers (e.g., EAC1234567890).
Each immigration application is assigned a unique U.S.C.I.S. case number, which varies with every new application. It should not be confused with an alien registration number which remains constant across your applications.
An A-number cannot be used to check your immigration status with the U.S.C.I.S. Instead, you will need your U.S.C.I.S. case number to monitor and track your immigrant application on the U.S.C.I.S. website.
An Alien number is a permanent identification number that stays with an individual and has no expiration date, regardless of immigration status.
For example, a lawful permanent resident will need to renew their green card after ten years but not their A-number. Immigrants with conditional permanent resident status will need to renew their resident status after the two-year conditional period expires, but they will keep the same A-number.
The A-number will never change, even if you switch from one type of visa to another or become a U.S. citizen through naturalization. It is the only way to track your immigration history, so it’s important to keep it safe and secure at all times.
Our lawyers can review your immigration documents to ensure they are accurate and help you obtain an alien number from the U.S.C.I.S.
Whether you are uncertain about your eligibility for an alien registration number or have inquiries about the immigration process, our experienced immigration lawyers at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law can guide you.
We have many years of experience practicing immigration law and assisting in a vast array of issues, including:
Our legal team will keep you updated on immigration policies and prepare you for all immigration proceedings. If you are in the process of applying for a green card, we can assist you with any or all aspects.