On May 11, 2010, USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) announced it had redesigned the Permanent Resident Card, which most of us know more commonly as the Green Card. In a moment of sheer genius, the designers of the “Green” Card actually decided to make it green in color for ease of recognition!
A Green Card is proof of authorization to live and work in the United States. A newly issued Green Card is valid for 10 years for lawful permanent residents and 2 years for conditional residents.
Some existing Green Cards have an expiration date – these cards will remain valid until they expire. Holders of Green Cards with an expiration date will receive the redesigned version when seeking a renewal or replacement.
Other existing Green Cards have no expiration date. These cards remain valid however; USCIS is recommending that people who have a card without an expiration date apply to replace their cards with the newly redesigned version.
Evidence of Work Eligibility
The intent of the newly redesigned Permanent Resident Card is to help prevent immigration fraud. The new Green Card incorporates state-of-the-art technology to prevent counterfeiting and facilitate accurate authentication. The enhanced features are intended to be useful to law enforcement, employers, and immigrants – all of whom look to the Green Card as definitive proof of authorization to legally live and work in the United States.
Although this seems to be a positive step in decreasing incidents of identity theft and document fraud, it actually creates more uncertainty for employers. It becomes the employer’s burden to identify legitimate documents when many employers are not familiar with every version of the Green Card issued over time.
There have been several versions of the Green Card issued over the years. The first Green Card was issued in 1946 and at that time was referred to as an Alien Registration Receipt Card. Few of these are still in circulation. They contain no expiration date and as of March 20, 1996 are no longer valid evidence of permanent residency. Other versions of the Resident Alien Card were issued in 1977 and again in 1989. Oddly enough, neither the 1977 card nor the 1989 were green in color.
In 1997, the card was renamed the Permanent Resident Card. It was updated yet again in 2004. Every time the card has been updated, additional security measures have been added. As for the most current version, holders of older cards will only receive the redesigned Permanent Resident Card when seeking a renewal or replacement card.
Recipients of the redesigned Permanent Resident Card will include those newly approved lawful permanent residents, as well as those who get a renewal or replacement card. As of May 11, 2010 the cost of renewing or replacing a Permanent Resident Card was $370.
Identity Documents for the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification
Inspecting work authorization and identity documents is an integral part of meeting your responsibility to verify the work eligibility of each person you hire. Employers should choose to work with a qualified expert to help them navigate the complex requirements of the Form I-9.
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