What Exactly Is an Alien Registration Number

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Once you’ve applied for a green card, you’ll have to provide your Alien Registration Number on any additional petitions or forms that you file with the USCIS. But, what is your Alien Registration Number, and how do you find it? 

Put simply, your Alien Registration Numbers is how the USCIS identifies you and keeps track of your submissions. Every U.S. immigrant receives one of these numbers, and each one is unique.

What is an Alien Registration Number?

Alien Registration Numbers (also called A-Numbers) are numbers that the USCIS gives to immigrants who apply to live in the U.S. These numbers can be seven, eight, or nine digits long. Your Alien Registration Number gets used by the USCIS to track all of your immigration files (also called alien files). Your A-Number is extremely important — you’ll have to include it on almost every immigration document that you send to the USCIS. Luckily, it’s usually easy to find your A-Number; it appears on various documents like your green card, work permit, and visa

Related: Immigration FAQ

USCIS Case Numbers vs. Alien Registration Numbers

Your A-Number isn’t the only number you’ll find on your USCIS notices; you’ll also see a USCIS case number (also called receipt number). Your receipt number gets used to track your application and check its status. There’s an easy way to understand the difference: your A-Number gets assigned to you as a person, and your USCIS case number gets assigned to your application.

Your Alien Registration Number will always be 7-9 digits, while your receipt number will have three letters followed by ten digits. 

Here’s where it can get confusing: you might sometimes see “USCIS#” or “USCIS number” without the word “case” on a document — these refer to your A-Number, not your receipt number. It’s important to double-check when filling out papers to ensure that you use the correct number in the correct spot.

A-Numbers vs. EAD-Numbers: Are They the Same Thing?

Yes! Your work permit or EAD card has two crucial numbers on it:

  1. Your Employment Authorization Number. You can find this nine-digit number on your EAD card where it says “USCIS#.” This number is your Employment Authorization Number, and it is the same as your A-Number.
  1. Your EAD card number. On your EAD card, you’ll see “Card#.” This number is not your A-Number; it’s your USCIS case number that we talked about above.

It’s also important to note that your Social Security number and Alien Registration number contain the same amount of digits, but these are not the same thing. Your A-Number identifies you with the USCIS, while your Social Security number tracks your income, benefits, and taxes with the IRS.

Who Gets an Alien Registration Number?

A woman pointing at you

Anyone who applies for a green card gets an A-Number, regardless of the reasons they are eligible for the green card. Any immigrant who wants to permanently live in the U.S. will receive a unique Alien Registration Number from the USCIS. Non-citizens who come to the U.S. temporarily, like on business or tourist visas, do not get an A-Number since they are only short-term visitors.

The exception to this are students with F-1 visas who apply for work authorization. They still get an Alien Registration Numbers, even though they aren’t in the process of obtaining a green card.

Where to Find Your Alien Registration Number

If you’re unsure what your A-Number is, don’t worry; there are multiple documents that you can find it on. Here’s where you can find your Alien Registration Number:

  • On your green card. If you’ve obtained your green card already, you can find your Alien Registration Number in two places on it: on the front of your card underneath  “USCIS#” and embedded on the back of your green card.
  • On your EAD card. If you don’t have a green card, but you do have a work permit (EAD card), you can find it printed underneath “USCIS#,” just like on a green card.
  • On your immigrant visa. You can also find your Alien Registration Number on your immigrant visa in the top right of your card underneath “Registration Number.”
  • On a Notice of Action. Some, but not all, Notice of Actions from the USCIS will have your A-Number located on it, typically labeled “USCIS#.”
  • On your Immigrant Data Summary. If you applied for a green card at a U.S. consulate or embassy, you probably received an Immigrant Data Summary. If you did, you can find your Alien Registration Number at the top of the paper labeled “A-Number.”
  • On your Immigrant Fee handout. This is another document you may have received if you applied through a U.S. consulate or embassy, and you can find your Alien Registration Number on the top of your handout labeled “Alien Registration Number.”

Still can’t find your Alien Registration Number? Brudner Law can help you file the correct forms with USCIS to get a copy of your A-Number!

I Can’t Find My A-Number! Now What?

A man filling out paperwork

If you don’t have any documents that show your Alien Registration Number, and you don’t have it saved anywhere, it’s not a huge problem. You can request your A-Number from the USCIS by filing a Freedom of Information Act request with Form G-639. There are no fees associated with this request, but it can take two months or longer to receive your A-Number after sending in the files.

What if My A-Number Doesn’t Have 9-Digits?

When filling out immigration paperwork, you’ll often have to submit your Alien Registration Number in a nine-digit format, but what if your A-Number only has seven or eight digits? It’s not uncommon, and the solution is extremely simple; don’t worry. All that you have to do is add “0’s” in front of your A-Number until you reach nine digits. For example, if your A-Number is “1234567,” you’ll write it as “001234567.” That’s all there is to it!

Have you applied for a green card and have more questions about your Alien Registration Number? Get in touch with Brudner Law — we’re here to help!

Related: When You Need an Immigration Lawyer