Alien Registration Number and the F1 Visa

Alien Registration Number

What is the Alien Registration Number?

An Alien number is a differently worded terms for the number that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS) provides to immigrants or refugees when they are visiting or seeking citizenship in America. Sometimes they are given out to non citizens too. they are usually between 7 and 9 numbers that are supplied to people who are seeking such documentation. This number is present on different immigration documents. It is used to keep track of their location and their status as a citizen.

Furthermore, it is also beneficial when you are filing other USCIS forms like for forms requiring immigration benefits, etc.  

Eligibility criteria for receiving an alien registration number:

As it is a number and a document that is being provided by USCIS, and given that the US has a lot of issues when it comes to its immigration policy, the Alien number given to migrants and others who want to live and operate in the United states. Most if not all persons looking to apply for a green card are prioritized when it comes to giving out this number.

Apart from this, few non-immigrants like the international students who have opted for OPT and CPT and are given the work authorization are eligible for the alien number. 

The individuals who come to the United States smaller periods lie 4-8 weeks, people like tourists, other people who are going on company trip, and other short-term workers who are not permanent residents are not eligible for the A – Number. 

When do you receive an alien registration number?

In most cases, An Alien number is supplied to you at the onset of your registration for a Green Card. It can be a Green card number that you obtained on the basis of a legally recognized relationship or employment based Green Card, there is no difference in the eyes of the federal government.

If the person you are married to is a citizen of the United States and is currently residing there, and you have now applied for a Green Card, an alien number will be dispatched to you within a month of the actual date of submission of the initial application. If you and your spouse have already been married, the alien number will be given to you within the year.

In case you are in contact with the United states immigration services, but are currently not residing in the US, you will receive your Angel Number during your the visit to the US embassy after you have taken care of the necessary documents.

On the off chance that you are an F1 visa OPT or CPT visa holder, you will get your A-number along with your employment authorization document. 

Do F1 visa holders usually have alien registration numbers? What is the exception to this rule? 

F1 student visa holders are not in the group that will be given their alien registration numbers, however, there are exceptions to this rule. Foreign students who are given work authorization in the United States are eligible for the ARN Number. This is only in cases where they have opted for OPT (Optional Practical Training) or CPT (Curricular Practical Training). This number appears on their work authorization document. 

Where can you find the Alien Registration Number on the different Cards (EAD card, Green Card number or on an immigrant visa, etc.)?

 You will recognize the A-number under the label ‘USCIS#’ or ‘A#’ in various documents. Below is a list of documents and where does alien number appear on them:

  1. Green card or permanent resident card: If you have a green card, The location is quite apparent, just look at the front of the card. you will find it on back card as well. It appears right below your ‘given name’ below the label ‘USCIS#’. In some cases, if the green card was issued in 2010 or prior, the alien number will be on top labeled ‘A#’. 
  1. Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or the work permit: If you have the EAD, your alien number will appear in the same place as that of of the card listed in the previous description. It is on the front side of the card under the label ‘USCIS#’ right below the given name.
  1. On your immigrant visa: an immigrant visa, also known as the visa stamp also has an alien number mentioned on it. It appears on the top right section of the card right below the case number. It is under the title ‘registration number’. 
  1. Notice of Action form: In this form issued by the USCIS, the alien number usually appears on the top right-hand side of the document under the title ‘USCIS#’. 
  1. Immigrant data summary document: This document is attached to your immigrant visa application packet when you apply for a green card through consular processing. The alien number on this document is located at the top of the document labeled as ‘A-number.
  1. Immigrant fee handout: This record is given out by the USCIS. It contains all the instructions related to the processes and the fees that an immigrant is required to pay. You can find the alien number on the upper corner of the page, on the right hand side, under the title ‘Your Alien Registration Number’. 
Alien Registration Number on Green Card

Does the Alien Registration Number have an expiration date? 

Yes, most alien registration cards have an expiration date. They are valid for either two years in some cases like for conditional permanent residence. In other cases, 10 years for others such as the permanent green cards. You are required to renew your card after this time passes.

The expiration date is mentioned on the backside of the card in the format MM/DD/YYYY. It is the 9th to 14th character in the second line on the white space of the alien registration card.

You need to file an i-90 application form on the off chance that you need to replace or renew your card in case it is about to expire. The i-90 application should be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). 

If you have a conditional permanent resident card and want to make a move and remove any amendments to it, then do not file an i-90 application. For this, you need to file Form I-751 for a green card that you have received on the basis of your legal relationship. You also have the option of apply for a Form I-829 for a green card received through financial investment in a business. 

Can you get a copy of your immigrant file? What are the steps required to apply for a copy of your immigrant file? 

It is possible to get a copy of the documents of your immigration or alien file. This is due to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). You can either obtain a specific record or document within your immigration file or a copy of the entire file itself.  There are several circumstances under which individual files for an FOIA request :

  • In case he needs to obtain a copy of his own immigration files.
  • To amend or make changes in the records or the documents.
  • In order to gain a copy for another person with full consent of the person.
  • To know what information the USCIS has in the records about the individual.
  • If they lose a copy of their immigrant file and want to obtain some information from those files.
  • To get immigration information about another person or a family member.
Copy of Immigration File

The steps involved in applying for a copy of the immigration file

  • In order to request the immigration-related documents or records from your immigration file. You need to first file a G-639 form. This form is issued by the USCIS which is the application for ‘Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request’. 
  • Be ready with the document you will need to request an FOIA. Although filing G-639 doesn’t need a whole lot of paperwork, you will still need a few basic things. Things like your identity proof in addition to any proof that shows your relationship with the person you are requesting the records from. If you have any other proof that will help the USCIS retrieve your information faster, bring that along too.
  • The form is divided into various sections. You need to fill the ‘type of request’, especially the list of the information you need, or you are requesting for. The consent of the person on whose behalf you are requesting the records is important too. If you are filing this form to request your own information, mention ‘yes’.
  • Apart from all the above steps, there are detailed instructions given on the USCIS website as well. 
  • You can either place a request online on the USCIS website or mail the form to USCIS. The mailing addresses are provided in the ‘Where to File’ tab on the USCIS website.
  • Last but not the least, make sure to enter all the details in the form accurately to avoid any delays.

Final tips

The general processing time for G-639 is about 20 to 25 days on a first-in and first-out basis. If you need the documents on an urgent basis. If you cannot wait that long you can also opt for the expedited processing or priority processing. In order to opt for expedited processing, you need to have a valid reason. You also need to give a valid statement to the USCIS explaining the reason for the priority or expedited processing. If USCIS is convinced with your reason, consequently, they will approve your request. Or else they will deny it and the process will be carried out on a regular basis. 

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Is the alien registration number the same as the social security number? 

No, the A-number and the social security number (SSN) are two different things. While the alien registration number is issued by the USCIS to the immigrants (and non-immigrant is in certain cases) who intend to stay in the United States permanently, the Social Security Number is issued to the immigrants who apply for it. 

Who is not eligible for the alien registration number?

Individuals who do not intend to stay in the United States permanently like tourists, business travelers, visiting students, temporary workers, etc. are not eligible for the alien registration number. 

Which category of non-immigrants is eligible for the alien registration number?

The foreign students who have opted for OPT or CPT and have the employment authorization document to work in the United States have an alien registration number mentioned in the EAD card.

Is the A-number the same as the EAD card number?

No, A-number and EAD card numbers are two different sets of numbers. While the EAD card number has 3 letters followed by 10 numbers and appears under the label ‘Card #’, the A-number on the EAD card is found under the label ‘‘USCIS#’. The EAD card number identifies the EAD card or the document alone and the A-number on the EAD identifies the person and helps track all the immigration files and records. 

How much cost is involved in filing the G-639 form?

The total cost of filing a G-639 application form will not cost you more than $25 USD. It totally depends on what kind of information you have requested. 

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