What is an I-551 Passport Stamp?

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
How does someone legally enter the United States on a permanent visa and what documentation do they need? This lesson will define an I-551 passport stamp and outline the process for obtaining one.

Immigrating to the U.S.

Meet Vladimir. He is about to immigrate to the United States. He's really happy to do so because he knows it's the land of opportunity where he and his family will have the ability to achieve a lot more than they otherwise could back home.

But Vladimir is really confused. Rightfully, so. U.S. immigration policies and laws have tons of strange terms, synonyms, and confusing information.

We can't help Vladimir with everything regarding immigrating to the U.S. in this lesson, but we will explain the concept of an I-551 passport stamp in easy terms for him.

Form I-551

Before we can properly explain what an I-551 passport stamp is, we have to explain to Vladimir what an I-551 is!

I-551 refers to Form I-551. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-551 is the official and technical name for a Permanent Resident Card. A Permanent Resident Card is better known as a Green Card. While today such cards are literally a greenish-color card, past versions of the Green Card were not green, but rather a peach color.

Vladimir needs to know that someone who possesses a valid Green Card has the lawful ability to:

1. Permanently reside in the United States of America

2. Permanently work in the United States of America

However, a Green Card holder is NOT a U.S. Citizen!

Form I-551 = Permanent Resident Card = Green Card.

And in case Vladimir gets confused by the term 'Form I-551', Form I-551 is the green card itself despite the word 'form' in it. Meaning, I-551 isn't a form you fill out and submit to get a Green Card; it is the Green Card itself.

I-551 Passport Stamp

Now that Vladimir understands the basics of what (Form) I-551 is, he can more easily appreciate what an I-551 passport stamp is. This is literally a stamp that is placed in an immigrant's passport. It might say something like:

'Processed for I-551. Temporary evidence of lawful admission for permanent residence. Valid until (DATE). Employment authorized'.

Or, it might say:

'Upon endorsement, serves as temporary I-551 evidencing permanent residency for one year.

Issue Date: (DATE)

Officer: (Officer ID)

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