The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) assigns an Alien Registration Number to every immigrant. This important number is required on immigration paperwork and other official documents.
Depending on the type of visa or immigration documents you carry, you can find your Alien Registration Number in different places. Use our guide to determine where to find your A-number as well as when you might be required to show it.
What Is an Alien Registration Number or “A” Number?
“A” number is short for Alien Registration Number. It is a unique seven-, eight-, or nine-digit number assigned to a noncitizen. The nine-digit USCIS number listed on permanent resident green cards issued after May 10, 2010, is the same as the A-number. The A-number can also be found on the back of green cards.
Where Can I Find My Alien Registration Number?
A-numbers are generally listed on your immigration documents, such as an immigrant visa or permanent resident green card. However, different documents use a different notation for the A-number. This can be confusing, but the following images should clear up the issue.
Permanent Resident Green Card A-Number
On green cards issued after May 10, 2010, the A-number is the same as the USCIS number, found on the front of your green card.
Employment Authorization Document (Work Permit) A-Number
On Employment Authorization Documents (also called work permits), the A-number is the same as the USCIS number.
Immigrant Visa A-Number
On Immigrant Visas, the A-number is listed as the “Registration Number” and can be found on the front of the card.
What the Alien Registration Number Is Used For?
Just as a Social Security number is one way to keep track of and identify United States citizens, your A-number functions in much the same way. The government uses Alien Registration Numbers to:
- Keep track of how many resident immigrants are in the country
- Identify you in case of emergency
- Create a record of your activities, such as criminal charges
- Track all immigration paperwork related to you (including citizenship requests)
Essentially, your A-number is a bureaucratic tool used to ensure that you don’t get mistaken for someone else.
Losing Your A-Number
In some cases, you may lose track of your immigration paperwork (i.e. your visa, green card, or other documents) and may not know your Alien Registration Number by heart. If you cannot find documentation of your A-number, you can request it through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). We recommend taking photos of and keeping copies of your visas, EADs and green card so that even if you lose the original documents, you will have your A-number to help expedite the replacement.
Get Help With Immigration Paperwork and Alien Registration
United States immigration and citizenship law is complex and difficult to understand. This is especially true for people whose native language is not English.
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to apply for a green card, a work visa, an education-based visa, or a different form of lawful entry into the country. And you’ll need to know where to find your alien registration number on your immigration documents.
This process can be hard to navigate. At FileRight, we offer assistance in a variety of ways. You can download our packets with the exact forms you need for your situation. You also have access to instant error reporting, which tells you if you’ve made any crucial mistakes in your paperwork.
With lawyer review, you will also be told whether you need additional documents in order to obtain your visa or green card. If you are immigrating to the U.S. or seeking an adjustment of status, get in touch with FileRight today.