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What documents can you be asked in the United States as proof of immigration status?

It is becoming more and more important to have proof of your immigration status in the United States. Immigration documents are required if you are in contact with law enforcement or immigration services. In the current environment, even US citizens may face identification problems. Moreover, immigration documents may be required when applying for benefits or housing, when obtaining a driver's license - just to name a few examples. What documents and for what cases may be needed, said the publication Citizen path.

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Foreign nationals wishing to work or obtain a driver's license must have the appropriate immigration documents to prove their status. These documents come in different types and can be confusing. However, in almost all cases, immigration documents must be valid. If you have an expired document, you need to update or replace it.

US Employment Documentation

In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) to address the problem of people who illegally immigrate to the United States and get jobs with American employers. The IRCA requires all employers, regardless of the number of employees, to verify the identity of new employees and their eligibility to work in the United States.

All employers must complete Form I-9 (Proof of Employment) when hiring a new employee. In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to re-verify the eligibility to work in the United States.

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Foreign citizens can use various documents to verify their identity and confirm their work permit. Employees can show a list of identity documents and work permits. Alternatively, you can show a list B document to prove your identity and a list C document to prove your work permit.

Examples of List A documents for foreign citizens:

  • Permanent resident card (green card)
  • Work permit card
  • Passport stamped I-551
  • Passport with I-94 entry and work permit

Examples of List B documents for foreign citizens:

  • USA driver's license
  • Government identity card
  • School ID with photo
  • US military ID

Examples of List C documents for foreign citizens:

  • Social security card
  • Form I-94

The examples above do not include all possible immigration documents for employment purposes. Additional documents and some restrictions may be required. For more information, it is best to contact the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Obtaining a driver's license

In the United States, driving licenses are not issued by the federal government. Each state issues its own driver's license. Consequently, each state may have slightly different requirements that affect foreign nationals.

Non-citizen residents wishing to drive must obtain a driver's license in the state in which they reside. Again, each state may have different requirements. Typically, the following immigration documents will be required to apply for a driver's license:

  • Permanent Resident Card
  • International passport with an approved arrival protocol I-94
  • Work permit card
  • Passport stamped I-551
  • Re-entry permit
  • Refugee ID
  • Form I-94 marked REFUGEE, PAROLE, PAROLEE, ASYLEE, HP, or PIP
  • Form I-94 with attached photo marked "Temporary Proof of Legal Entry and Permanent Residency."
  • Immigration judge's asylum order

For specific requirements for a driver's license, contact Your State's Department of Motor Vehicles.

Immigration documents for health insurance

Like US citizens by birth, US citizens of foreign origin are generally eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. However, permanent residents and many other legally resident immigrants are also eligible for insurance. To obtain insurance, applicants must provide immigration documents proving their status. It:

  • Permanent Resident Card
  • International passport with an approved arrival protocol I-94
  • Work permit card
  • Passport stamped I-551
  • Re-entry permit
  • Refugee ID
  • Form I-94 with attached photograph marked "Temporary Proof of Legal Entry and Eligibility for Permanent Residence."

A complete list of acceptable types of immigration documents is published on the website Healthcare.gov.

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Replacement of immigration documents

Citizenship documents

Overseas-born individuals who become US citizens can prove their immigration status through a variety of documents, including: Certificate of Citizenship, Certificate of Naturalization, or US Passport.

To replace your Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship, you can file Form N-565, Application for Replacement of Naturalization / Citizenship Document.

To replace your US passport, you can apply directly on the US Department of State website.

Permanent Resident Card

Known to everyone as the green card or foreign resident card, the permanent resident card confirms a foreign citizen's right to permanently reside and work in the United States.

To replace or renew your 10-year green card, you can fill out Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Conditional residents with a 2-year green card can replace a lost / stolen green card with a Form I-90, but do not have to renew the card with a Form I-90. Instead, conditional residents file Form I-751, Petition for Cancellation of Accommodation, within 90 days of the expiration of the two-year card.

It can take several months to get a new green card. When applying for biometric data collection, USCIS will stick a sticker on the existing green card to extend its validity for another year. If you have lost your card, you can request an I-551 stamp in your valid international passport. After confirming that you have successfully submitted your application, call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 to schedule an appointment at your local office.

Work permit card

Foreign nationals with nonimmigrant status may be eligible for a work permit. The card, also known as EAD, is proof of work permit for holders of several types of visas and other statuses, such as Transitional Persons, DACA, TPS, Refugees, and certain F-1 students with special work permits.

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To replace or renew a work permit, you can complete Form I-765, Application for a Work Permit. You must be eligible for a work permit in the category for which you are applying. If your status has expired, you may need to submit forms related to updating your status.

I-94 Arrival and Departure Record

I-94 Arrival / Departure Protocol, also known as Form I-94, confirms that the foreign visitor was legally admitted to the United States. It includes, among other things, information on the status of the visitor's visa and the permitted length of stay.

Most people are issued an electronic I-94 and can replace it simply by visiting the I-94 website.

If the US Border Protection (CBP) has issued an I-94 to you, you can file a Form I-102, Application to Replace the Original Nonimmigrant Arrival / Departure Document.

international passport

Foreign passports are outside the purview of the US government. That is, you will need to contact your country's embassy here in the United States. Each country has its own rules for changing or renewing a passport.

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