Green Card, visa holders must carry document, or else be fined, jailed: USCIS rule

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NEW YORK: While most Green Card holders and visa holders, like those on H-1B, L-1, J or F-1, H4 visa, and even those having an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) know it’s imperative to carry that piece of document and related papers when traveling in and out of the country, many may not know that it’s also legally necessary to carry that piece of evidence at all times within the United States, or face the risk of being fined or imprisoned, or even both.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services rule says in this respect: ‘Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d). Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.’

Another sub-section of the rule says: ‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Attorney General is authorized to require any alien to provide the alien’s social security account number for purposes of inclusion in any record of the alien maintained by the Attorney General or the Service.’

With a large-scale immigration crackdown on undocumented foreigners imminent after President Donald Trump’s new executive orders, it’s important for all documented residents in the US to keep proof of their legal status in the country.

And for those in the pipeline for a Green Card, a misdemeanor charge could have terrible repercussions when it comes to being adjudicated for legal permanent resident status. The same applies for Green Card holders who wish to become US citizen.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. That’s a BS because Green Card or these types of visa authorize you to issue the ID or Driver License. Of course you don’t have to carry it and risk loosing it.

  2. It is true

    Alright this is official now

    https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-8289.html

    from section (e)

    *Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d). Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.*

    Must carry GC or i94 or copy of visa all the times

  3. Not necessarily fake news. For a very long time, if you are traveling through parts of Texas and New Mexico there are mandatory Boder Patrol inspections ( not at a border crossing; these are in the US) you are asked status and if you are not a US citizen you have to show proper documentation. These are trained border agents who can tell easily if people are being honest or not. Best not to be deceitful, not sure what the consequences are if it’s a fine or not.

  4. No, it is mandatory to carry it with you. This is not fake news.
    Section 264(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) requires all lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to have “at all times” official evidence of LPR status.
    Failing to have your green card with you is a misdemeanor and if you are found guilty you can be fined up to $100 and put in jail for up to 30 days. (I.N.A. Section 264(e).) A copy is not good enough, because the law does not use the word “copy” or refer to “other evidence” of LPR status.
    The official evidence of LPR status that most people eventually receive is an “alien registration receipt card,” also known as Form I-551 or, more commonly, a “green card.” Sometimes, people do not have their green card, but are already LPRs. For example, when somebody first arrives in the U.S. with an immigrant visa, they first receive an “I-551 stamp” in their passport. Weeks later, they receive the actual green card in the mail. In the time before receiving the green card in the mail, the LPR would have to carry his or her passport “at all times” or risk breaking the law.
    If you decide to carry a copy of your green card instead of the original because you want to keep the original safe, you will be violating the law. Will you actually be stopped by immigration, prosecuted and fined or jailed for not having your original green card with you? It’s unlikely. Like any other government agency, immigration authorities have limited resources and cannot spend precious government time and money on prosecuting people for not carrying their green card “at all times.”
    But there have been cases where LPRs are detained or arrested during workplace enforcement actions for not having their green card on them. So to be on the safe side, and obey the law, you should actually carry your green card with you everywhere you go. And it probably goes without saying that if you will be traveling internationally, you should take your original green card with you to board a plane or boat back to the U.S. and to reenter the U.S. as an LPR.

  5. This is not fake….see Section 264(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

    Also, a State issues driver’s license or Id card is not proof of being a lawful permanenr resident. There are many people with valid State licenses and immigration status such as TPS, in deportation process, Tourists, Asylum Applicants, parolees. Section 264e applies to permanent residents over 18 years old. Here’s a link to Law.

    https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-8289.htm

  6. Section 264(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act [8 USC 1304(e)], a provision that has been “on the books” for decades, requires every alien 18 years of age and over to “at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession” the “certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card” issued to him or her by DHS. The registration document is usually Form I-94 for nonimmigrants, or Form I-551 “greencard” for lawful permanent residents.

  7. But it has not been enforced.. and there is no notification or instance of enforcement recorded anywhere.. so no need to spread panic.

  8. It better to have the Green Card with you than not having it. The way things are going right now nobody know what can happened. Plus a ID and Licence cannot appove your status here in the U.S.
    Anybody can be deported to there country for just any reason now if you are a born here in the United States. Everyday is a different issue with Home Land Security.
    So it best to carry it.

  9. The rule here is section 264(e). It requires all lawful permanent residents aged 18 or older to at all times have official evidence of LPR status

  10. I agree with the above, you need to carry GC per law. The way things are now, it would be foolish not to and then risk a misdemeanour, a much more expensive proposition that comes with significant costs – both financial and emotional – and all becaus,e in your smart thinking, you thought this was unnecessary. And, stop calling these ‘fake news’, you can try explaining that to the immigration officer when he/she locks you up. The climate in the US is very unstable and it is not the time for making undue assumptions.

    https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-8289.html

  11. Section 264(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that all permanent residents must have “at all times” official evidence of permanent resident status. A photocopy is not acceptable.

    Not reasonable, but not fake.

  12. That don’t see the reason of traveling with a green card in your pocket when you have your ID already and you

  13. Fake news. Only in certain state it is mandatory like Arizona where they have rampant illegal immigrants. Any case it’s always good to have a copy of the document to be on safe side with all this immigration reforms happening.

  14. I also think it’s a BS. How can they tell who is a citizen, resident or illegal immigrants? If green card holders need to carry around their documents then citizens would need to do the same because there is no way of telling.

  15. Title 8, Section 1308(e) of the United States Code, states: (e) Personal possession of registration or receipt card; penalties
    Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d). Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

    This is not a USCIS rule, it is a federal statute.

  16. It is not fake news.
    https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-8289.html
    (e) Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d). Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

    (f) 1/ Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Attorney General is authorized to require any alien to provide the alien’s social security account number for purposes of inclusion in any record of the alien maintained by the Attorney General or the Service.

  17. https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-8289.html

    (e) Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d). Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

    (f) 1/ Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Attorney General is authorized to require any alien to provide the alien’s social security account number for purposes of inclusion in any record of the alien maintained by the Attorney General or the Service.

  18. https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-8289.html
    (e) Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d). Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
    (f) 1/ Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Attorney General is authorized to require any alien to provide the alien’s social security account number for purposes of inclusion in any record of the alien maintained by the Attorney General or the Service.

  19. Stop creating news. When someone is issued a state ID or DL they give all the documents to get it and it is sufficient if asked.

  20. This is correct. I’m a Green Card holder that’s exactly what the information that cane with it said.

  21. I don’t understand what is the problem in carrying the green card in the wallet? If someone is not capable of taking care of their belongings, then it is their loss. I want the INS to strictly enforce this rule and make sure all the foreigners carry valid visa papers.

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