Help – Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues Permanent Resident Cards (Form I-551), commonly called green cards, to individuals granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.

The card is green in color and contains the bearer’s name, photo, fingerprint, card number, alien/USCIS number, birth date and card expiration date, along with several security features.

The document number, also called a card number, is printed on the back of the current version of the card. The expiration date, circled below in blue, is located at the bottom on the front of the card. Previous versions of the card featured the document number and expiration date on the front of the card.

Enter the document number exactly as it appears on the document. The document number, circled below in red, is exactly 13 alphanumeric characters (letters and numbers). You must enter three letters followed by 10 numeric characters. You may not enter any special characters. See below for instructions for older Resident Alien Cards that do not contain document numbers.

The current version of the card was introduced in May 2010 and features security technologies such as holographic images, laser engraved fingerprints and high resolution micro-images.


The Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) was first issued in December 1997 and was revised in May 2004 when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seal and a detailed hologram were added to the front of the card. These earlier versions may still be valid and are shown below.


Also in circulation are older Resident Alien Cards, issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service prior to December 1997. These cards are peach in color and contain the bearer’s fingerprint and photo. Resident Alien Cards do NOT have document numbers.

Since a Resident Alien Card does not contain a document number, enter three ‘A’s followed by 10 zeroes (i.e., ‘AAA0000000000’) so that you enter exactly 13 characters in E-Verify.

Cards issued between August 1989 and December 1997 contain expiration dates, but do not have document numbers and have since expired.


Cards issued between January 1977 and August 1989 do not have document numbers or expiration dates and are valid indefinitely.



After you enter the information needed to perform a case, review the information for accuracy. By ensuring that the information is submitted correctly the first time, you may eliminate additional steps to complete the verification process.