Temporary I-551 Stamp: How to Get an I-551 Stamp and Why You Might Need It

Temporary I-551 Stamp: How to Get an I-551 Stamp and Why You Might Need It

When you’re immigrating to a new country, you will encounter a confusing, fast-paced world of legal terms and documents with strange abbreviations, such as an I-551 stamp. Keeping these terms straight can be challenging. What is an I-551 stamp, and why does it matter?

The immigration experts at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. can help. We are here to assist you and your family during your immigration journey. Let’s start with defining an I-551 stamp.

What Is an I-551 Stamp?

The I-551 stamp provides temporary proof of lawful residence within the United States. It is placed within a passport or on an I-94 card, which is an arrival and departure card given to non-residents when adjusting or extending their stay. It appears as a 13-digit code on a permanent resident card.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also refers to the I-551 stamp as an ADIT stamp (Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunication).

Example of a Temporary I-551 Stamp

Why Is an I-551 Stamp Important?

The I-551 stamp provides temporary proof that you have government permission to reside in the United States. Applicants waiting to renew their green card will need this temporary stamp to continue employment. The stamp is placed on your passport by USCIS.

What to Do If You Lose or Need a New Stamp

Sometimes, there are special circumstances that require a replacement stamp. These circumstances include those who travel internationally for work, have changed their names, or have a green card about to expire. In these cases, Form I-90 is required, but it’s best to seek out the legal advice from an attorney. Form I-90 is the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, which can take up to six months to be processed.

How to Obtain an I-551 Stamp

Your local USCIS can issue a temporary I-551 stamp in your passport as you wait for official approval of an I-90. Different stamps can grant temporary status for a variety of reasons, but they are typically good for six to twelve months.

You can obtain an I-551 stamp by scheduling an appointment through the USCIS website. You can also schedule an in-person appointment, although it’s recommended that you call your local office first.

You must also complete biometrics at a local Application Support Center (ASC). This process includes providing a recent photograph, fingerprinting, and background checks. Biometrics can be collected from any applicant, sponsor, beneficiary, or person who wishes to immigrate to the United States.

After filing the I-90 form, you will receive a date, time, and location for the biometric procedures. The biometric appointment is often scheduled from one to eight weeks out. The information provided at this appointment allows the government to confirm your identity and run a background check. It is essential to show up to your appointment, as missing it could result in a stamp denial.

When you appear for your appointment, your required information will be submitted through a machine, which also requires a digital signature. With this signature, you are attesting under the law that the information provided was true at the time it was filed.

The required documents for the I-551

Documents Required for an I-551 Stamp Application

Be sure to bring the following documents to your USCIS appointment to receive your I-551 stamp:

  • A valid passport
  • An appointment notice
  • The receipt for your I-90 Form
  • Proof of residence in the same jurisdiction where your USCIS office is located
  • A copy of your expired/lost green card
  • A date-stamped copy of your ASC appointment with notice of your biometrics capture

That being said, every case is different. Some people may need a stamp for travel purposes, while others have circumstances that qualify as an emergency. Whatever your reasoning, bring all related documents to support your case, such as death certificates, plane tickets, etc.

How Long Does it Last?

A temporary I-551 stamp will often last for six to twelve months, but each individual will work out a different circumstance with USCIS during their appointment. USCIS tends to make a temporary I-551 last as long as it takes for the passport to renew. For example, you will be granted a four-month I-551 pass if your passport is renewed in four months.

How Much Does an I-551 Stamp Cost?

There is no direct fee allocated towards the temporary I-551. Should you lose your green card, paying $445 to fill out Form I-90 is mandatory. There is also an $85 biometrics fee.

When You Will Need Your I-551 Stamp

You will need a temporary proof of permanent residency if:

  • You are a conditional resident, which includes having to travel during processing or additional benefits (usually as part of employment)
  • You are entering the United States after having been approved by the Consulate or United States Embassy in your country of origin
  • Your green card is about to expire, is lost, or stolen

Always carry evidence of temporary status when traveling to ensure entry back into the United States.

Reach Out to Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. for Counsel

With the challenges that may lie ahead on your journey when navigating immigration forms, it’s important to have expert legal counsel at your side. Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. can help you obtain an I-551 stamp with our legal expertise, compassionate service, and hard-working ethic. Based in Chicago, we have served clients nationwide for almost 70 years.

Wherever you are in your immigration journey, we can help. Contact us today for a consultation.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!