USCIS issues something called an Alien Registration Number or A-Number to a non-US Citizen when someone applies for immigration benefits with them related to Green Card, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), etc. It is not given to all the foreigners, who apply for a petition or to get a benefit from USCIS. In this article, we look at what is A-Number, how to find it, and samples of where you can find them.
What is A-Number or Alien Registration Number by USCIS? Format?
Alien Registration Number or A-Number is a unique number, which is either seven, eight or nine digits that is given by USCIS for non-US Citizens. It is only given to certain non-US citizens who apply for or are given certain benefits with USCIS such as EAD, Green Card, etc. It is also called ‘USCIS Number’, ‘USCIS #’, ‘A-Number’, ’A #’, or ‘Alien Registration Number’. Also, the A-Number may be issued by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), EOIR and the Department of State. It looks like 131-202-425, where digits are separated by hypen symbol.
How to enter A-Number, if only 7 or 8 digits and they need 9 digits in form?
If your Alien registration number is 7 or 8 digits only, then you add zeros in the front of the number and then enter the same in any form. For example, if you’re A-Number says 1234567, then you would enter it as 00 in the front of it and enter it as 001234567. You can also write it as 001-234-567. You would see it printed with the hyphen separator symbol symbol ‘-‘. It would look in general as
Where do I need to enter A-Number or Alien Registration Number ?
If you were issued an A-number in the past, then you will usually fill in this A-number in any applications such as EAD or any benefits that you file with USCIS. If you do not have an A-Number, then you leave the field related to A-Number as blank. It is not mandatory to have this number for every non-US citizen.
How to find A-Number or Alien Registration Number ?
Depending on your visa type or immigration status, you will be able to locate the A-Number in your visa, EAD cards, approval notices, Green Card, etc. We will look at how the A-Number is given by various visa types and how to find the Alien Registration number with sample documents below.
A-Number for H1B Visa
In general, an Alien Registration or A-Number is not given for H1B visa holders by USCIS, unless they are in process of a Green Card. USCIS issues an A-Number to H1B holders who apply are in process of Green Card and have applied for I-140 – Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. If the I-140 is approved for H1B holders, USCIS will issue an A-Number and it will be printed on the approval notice under the Beneficiary. You maybe asked for A-Number when you travel within the US as well at border checkpoints.
A-Number on EAD Card
If you ever had an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from USCIS, you would have been given an Alien Registration Number. You can find the A-Number on the EAD Card. It would be listed under the field “USCIS #”. See below sample screenshot of USCIS EAD Card that highlights the A-Numbe.The A-Number in the below sample EAD card below is “000-000-811”. You can also check Sample H4 EAD Card to see the A-Number given for H4 EAD holders.
If you have an older version of the EAD Card, it would also be listed under the “USCIS#” field. The A-Number in the sample old EAD card below is “000-000-701”. It does not matter the EAD Card format, whether old or new.
A-Number for F1 Students – OPT , Where to find ?
Not every F1 student is eligible to get an A-Number. USCIS issues an Alien registration number or A-Number only when they apply for EAD related to their OPT (Optional Practical Training) or STEM OPT. The A-Number is printed on the EAD card on the front side.
See below screenshot of the OPT Card, where we highlight the same on where to find it. It would say USCIS#, which is nothing but A-Number. The EAD category Code C03B in the below screenshot tells that the EAD was given for post-completion OPT or STEM OPT. If it was regular OPT, it would say C03A for the same.The A-Number in the sample old EAD card below is “131-441-XXX” ( the last 3 digits are masked for privacy)
The A-Number listed on the EAD Card may change, when the F1 student goes to different status such as an H1B visa and then applies for Green Card. You should use the latest A-Number given by USCIS, if you need to fill out any forms in the main field and add any previous numbers, in the additional info section.
Find USCIS Notice of Action with A-Number
If you were to be given A-Number in the past for some reason, you would find the same in any of the USCIS I797C Notice of Action form that is sent to you. It is usually under the field that says “USCIS A#”. Below is a sample of the I-797C notice of action for a Biometrics Notice sent by USCIS with A-Number. It has a field as highlighted in the screenshot below. You may see this filed in other types of USCIS Notice of Action forms that are sent to you.
Immigrant Visa with A-Number
Alien Registration Number is also given for someone who was issued an Immigrant Visa at a US Consulate or US Embassy. The A-Number appears on the Immigrant US Visa Stamp that is glued in the passport. It is listed under the filed “Registration Number” that appear around the top right corner as shown in below sample Immigrant Visa screenshot. The below visa foil is for Immigrant Visa, it is different from the Non-Immigrant Visa stamp or foil that does not have the A-Number.
USCIS Immigrant Fee Handout with A-Number
If you are applying for Green Card using the Consular processing option, then you would need to pay the Immigrant Fee. As part of the process, you would be given a handout to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee. The Alien registration number appears on the hand out on the top right hand corner of the handout as shown in the below screenshot. It also includes the DOS Case ID as well.
Find A-Number on the Green Card
Alien registration number can also be found on the Permanent Resident Card, which is also called as Green Card. It does not explicitly have a field name that says A-Number. You can find the A-Number on the Green Card on front side of the card under the field name that says “USCIS#”. The USCIS Number or USCIS# is nothing but the A-Number. See below screenshots on how to find them.The A-Number in the sample Green Card card below is “000-000-318”
If you have an older version of the Green Card, it would also appear under the same field name that says “USCIS#”. See below screenshot of the sample Old format Green Card with A-Number identified.The A-Number in the sample old Green Card below is “000-000-002”
No, Alien Registration Number or A-Number is not the same as the USCIS Online Account Number. Even though the A-Number appears under the field “USCIS#”, they mean very different things. Check USCIS Online Account Number for full details and differences.
While it is not very common, it is possible that someone might have more than one A-Number. This can happen if you missed mentioning your previous A-Number or you got A-Number as part of EAD. You need to mention all your A-Numbers when you apply to USCIS using any forms. Use the latest one in the main section and previous A-Numbers in the additional information section.
No, both are very different. All of the foreign nationals who enter the US at a port of entry get I-94 Arrival / Departure Record. A-Number is not issued for everyone and only for specific individuals as described in the above article. Both numbers are different and there is no relationship.