Historically, the I-551 Form was simply called a green card because it was green in hue. The card grants an immigrant permanent resident status for up to 10 years at a time. It also has the potential to be renewed before it expires. If you receive a green card through marriage, there is a two-year conditional period before you can apply for the 10-year status.
The I-551 can be found on your permanent resident card as a 13-digit code. A temporary one can be issued should you be awaiting your permanent I-551. Remember, you must carry this card at all times with your official passport from your country of citizenship, especially if you hold a temporary version.
There are four main categories of eligibility for the I-551 form. Each category is listed below with further explanation.
Here is a shortlist of documents that may be required. Each of the categories detailed above could call for its own specific set of documents. Please provide these documents to your sponsor if necessary.
Scott. D. Pollock & Associates is here to help you through this process if you are unsure of which documents to include.
The standard I-551 filing fee is $985. If required, your biometric screening appointment will cost you an additional $85.
No two cases will look the same. In general, each Form I-551 takes anywhere between six months and a year to process. Each category has different approvals, paperwork, and systems in place to finalize green cards. It is possible to apply for an I-551 stamp, which grants you temporary access to the United States while you wait for green card approval. This can be done through USCIS.
A temporary green card or machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV) may be granted if your permanent residence has been approved by a United States consular office or embassy. Your MRIV will read: “UPON ENDORSEMENT SERVES AS TEMPORARY I-551 EVIDENCING PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR 1 YEAR.”
This will be stamped upon your passport when you enter the United States through Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The stamp includes the date you entered and gives you one year of permanent resident status, although, in most cases, your green card should arrive within one to two months of your arrival in the U.S.
As the I-551 is a standard card size, it is always possible that you may lose, accidentally destroy, or have your proof of residence stolen. Contact USCIS immediately if this happens. They should issue you a temporary I-551, which is typically done as a stamp in your foreign passport and was formerly known as the Identification & Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp. The process for replacing your permanent I-551 is outlined below.
There are times when replacing an I-551 is an urgent matter. If so, you may need to bring additional documents to speed up the process. These include, but aren’t limited to, airline tickets, travel itinerary, a letter from a lender, doctor’s letter, or a letter from your employer.
Receiving your I-551 is a life-changing day for many. It gives an immigrant permanent entry into the United States. As with any USCIS form, there may be caveats you are unaware of as a non-citizen, which is why it can be useful to hire an experienced attorney to help obtain your I-551.
You want to work with an attorney that is skilled, compassionate, and hard-working, qualities that can be found in each of our attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. We are based in Chicago, but have worked nationally to help clients resolve their immigration issues. We have a combined 70 years of experience that has made us leaders in the field. We are here to work with you no matter what part of the application process you are currently in. Contact us at 312-444-1940 or visit our website today for more information.