What is The Green Card Number and How to Locate It Quickly

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A Green Card, officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document that provides proof of an individual’s lawful permanent residency in the U.S. One of the most important pieces of information on it is the Green Card Number.

Understanding Your Green Card Number

The green card number is a unique identifier assigned by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to track your case before the green card is issued. It’s crucial for lawful permanent residents, especially when applying for citizenship or completing other government forms. Understanding where to find and how to interpret this number is important.

green card number highlighted

Where is The Green Card Number Located?

The number is located on the back of your Green Card. It is a 13-digit number that is usually located at the bottom of the card, in the first line of a long string of 90 characters. The less than symbols are there simply as space holders.

How to Read Your Permanent Resident Card?

Reading a green card involves understanding the information presented on both the front and back sides. The front side displays the personal details of the individual, while the back side contains the green card number and additional information.

The most important information on the Green Card, however, is the green card number. It is crucial for tracking your specific green card application and differs from your alien registration number (A-number) or USCIS number. Understanding this format is key for lawful permanent residents, especially when applying for citizenship or filling out government forms.

How Do You Read the Front Side of Your Green Card?

To read the front side of your green card, focus on the personal information it displays. This includes your full name, photograph, signature, and the green card’s issue and expiration dates. The dates on the card are commonly written in the MM/DD/YYYY format.

The front side also features two important numbers: the alien registration number (A-number) and the USCIS number. The Alien Registration number is different from the Green Card Number. The A-number, usually starting with “A,” differs from your permanent resident number but is a key identifier in the immigration system. 

Additionally, the card shows your country of birth and the date you became a permanent resident. Understanding these details is vital for managing your status as a permanent resident in the U.S.

The Category Section

The category section is significant on the front side of a green card. It specifies the immigrant visa category used for the holder to reside permanently in the U.S., often referred to as the “class of admission” in other USCIS documents. This section indicates the immigrant visa category that was used to allow an immigrant to permanently reside in the U.S. or become a conditional permanent resident. This category typically comprises one or two letters followed by a number, providing essential information about the basis of the individual’s permanent residency status.

The Signature

Not all green cards contain the holder’s signature. USCIS may waive the signature requirement for children under a certain age, individuals with disabilities that prevent them from signing, and new lawful permanent residents who entered the U.S. after February 2015. 

In such cases, the card will indicate that the signature is waived. However, the claim about green cards issued between 1979 and 1989 not having an expiry date and the specifics about renewal requirements are more nuanced and would need to be verified with the most current USCIS policies and guidelines.

How do You Read the Back Side of Your Green Card?

Reading the back side of your green card, where the PRC number (Permanent Resident Card number) is located, involves understanding the specific format of the data presented. The PRC number is part of a 90-character string, beginning with a “C1” or “C2” code, indicating your residence status. 

Following this are the letters “USA,” your alien number, and then the PRC number itself, which starts with three letters representing the service center that processed your card. The next two numbers indicate the fiscal year of application receipt, followed by a three-digit computer workday and a unique five-digit case number. This detailed format helps identify and process your green card application.

First Line Characters

Between the myriad of letters, numbers, and symbols lays the key to deciphering important information regarding your Green Card. The following list unlocks the meaning behind them.

  1. The first line on the back of the green card starts with “C1” or “C2”, indicating whether the holder is a permanent resident in the U.S. (C1) or a commuter from Canada or Mexico (C2). 
  2. The string “USA” 
  3. The next 5-6 letters denote the Alien Registration Number,
  4. The last 13 digits are the green card number. 
  5. << less than symbol denotes placeholders, and you do not need to read.

Understand the information of the 13-digit number format in the permanent resident card number.

In order to have a better understanding of how the number is parched, will take the number ‘CSC 17 012 34567’. We’ll divide it and subsequently explain, bit by bit, what each part represents.

There are three letters that are used to identify the service center that handled the case. For example, in the permanent residence card number CSC 17 012 34567, this case was received by the California Service Center.

Below are the different service centers with three-letter codes:

  • CSC – California Service Center
  • EAC – Eastern Adjudication Center (now known as Vermont Service Center)
  • IOE – ELIS (efile)
  • LIN – Lincoln Service Center (now known as Nebraska Service Center)
  • MSC – Missouri Service Center (now known as National Benefits Center)
  • NBC – National Benefits Center
  • NSC – Nebraska Service Center
  • SRC – Southern Regional Center (now known as Texas Service Center)
  • TSC – Texas Service Center
  • VSC – Vermont Service Center
  • WAC – Western Adjudication Center (now known as California Service Center)
  • YSC – Potomac Service Center

CSC 17 012 34567

The following two digits represent the fiscal year in which the case was received. Government agencies use a fiscal year that goes from October 1st to September 30th. This means that cases that are received between the months of October and December will not state the actual calendar year the case was received. For example, in the permanent residence card number example bolded above, this case was filed between October 2016 and September 2017.

CSC 17 012 34567

The next three numbers represent the work day that the case was opened. For example, in the permanent residence card number example bolded above, this case was opened on the 12th workday of the 2017 fiscal year. 

CSC 17 012 34567

The final five numbers represent the case number that is specific to you.

Second Line Characters

  • The second line will have the information of your birthdate in YY/MM/DD format
  • The Next one-letter abbreviation denotes your gender
  • The next will have the information on the Green Card expiration date in YY/MM/DD format.
  • The next is << placeholders.

Third Line Characters

The final line in your green card represents your last name, first name, your father’s first initial, your mother’s first initial, and placeholders.

Summarizing the Key Aspects of Understanding Your Green Card

Understanding the details of your Green Card, especially the Green Card Number, is crucial for various legal and administrative processes. This number not only verifies your status as a permanent resident but is also essential for applications like obtaining a driver’s license, accessing government benefits, and tracking your immigration history. 

Navigating the green card process can be streamlined with the right legal support and tools like ImmigrationDirect software, which assists in accurate application preparation and submission, ensuring a smoother path to lawful permanent residency in the U.S.

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