What is an I-551 Passport Stamp?

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  • 0:04 Immigrating to the US
  • 0:37 Form I-551
  • 1:42 I-551 Passport Stamp
  • 2:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

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

Immigrating to the United States

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'll 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! U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (or 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 weren't actually 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, and

2. Permanently work in the United States of America

However, a green card holder is not a U.S. Citizen! This is a very important thing for people seeking green cards and people holding green cards to remember. 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's the green card itself.

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