When someone emigrates to the United States of America, one of his or her long term goals may include attaining the United States citizenship. However, attaining the United States citizenship is not an easy task, by any stretch of the imagination. Before applying for United States citizenship, an immigrant should achieve a green card or in official terms – Form I-551. It is the most important status an immigrant achieves before he or she eventually applies for the United States citizenship. Until getting the United States citizenship, the green card is one of the most important documents for an immigrant. The validity of Form I-551 is 10 years. If an immigrant wants to remain a permanent resident in the States or obtain United States citizenship, he or she must renew the green card.
What is an I-551 Form?
I-551 is the official name given for greencard by the United States Immigration department. It is the most important stamp required if you are travelling to US as a greencard holder. In addition to that, a non-expired green card is essential in case if you want to travel abroad for less than a year and may want to re-enter the country. A green card or confirmed I-551 temporary evidence status is required for work authorization and driving licenses as well. So we understand the green card is very important to an immigrant. How can he or she avoid certain problems like a lost, stolen or expired green card? In order to avoid these problems, the immigrant could use a temporary evidence stamp ( I-551 Stamp).
What To Do If My GreenCard Gets Expired, Stolen or Lost?
When an existing green card is set to expire, an immigrant should use Form I-90, the application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. This process could take up to 6 months or even longer. In these cases, one may see oneself in a situation where he or she needs proof of his or her permanent residence status while the actual green card has expired. In these cases, the I-551 stamp can be used as temporary evidence of a person’s status as a lawful permanent resident. However, you should only try to use the I-551 stamp as the last resort to prove our status. you should always apply to renew our green card well before the expiration date is due.
The temporary evidence stamp also helps in other situations. You can apply for it if your card is missing, stolen, or damaged.
How to obtain the I-551 Temporary Evidence Stamp?
The local USCIS office responsible for your jurisdiction can issue a temporary I-551 stamp in your passport. However, the stamps are issued on the basis of the situation the applicant is in. The usual validity of such a stamp ranges from 6 months to 12 months.
You can get the Stamp by visiting the local USCIS office. To do it, you should obtain an InfoPass appointment from the USCIS website. The USCIS also approves walk-in appointments – in case you are short on time.
Alternatively, applications may be filed in person at a local USCIS office or filed via mail. However, scheduling an InfoPass appointment is recommended.
Documents required for obtaining an I-551 Temporary Evidence Stamp
- A valid passport
- An InfoPass appointment notice, which can be obtained from the USCIS website (if applicable).
- Form I-90 receipt notice (issued by USCIS).
- Proof of residence with the jurisdiction of the USCIS office.
- A copy of the Green Card the applicant is attempting to replace (if available).
- A copy of a date-stamped ASC appointment notice that proves biometrics have been obtained (if applicable).
A permanent resident seeking to obtain an I-551 stamp may also be asked to provide required additional documentation demonstrating their needs for a temporary evidence stamp in the case of an emergency, like the death of a family member in another country or a necessary medical procedure abroad.
In addition to that filing a I-90 form is much more costlier than applying for I-551 temporary stamp. So, most of the greencard holders will only go for I-551 in most cases.
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