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12.1 List A Documents That Establish Identity and Employment Authorization

The illustrations do not reflect the actual size of the documents.

U.S. Passport

The U.S. Department of State issues the U.S. passport to U.S. citizens and noncitizen nationals. A small number of versions still in circulation may differ from the main versions shown here.

Current U.S. passport cover and interior
Image of the cover of a US passport
Picture of the inside of a US passport

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Passport Card

The U.S. Department of State began issuing the passport card in July 2008. The passport card is a wallet-size card that can only be used for land and sea travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.

Passport card front and back
Front of Sample Passport Card
Sample US Passport Card Back

 

 

 

 

Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)

On May 1, 2017, USCIS began issuing a redesigned Form I-551, which contains the bearer’s photo on the front and back, name, USCIS number, date of birth, laser-engraved fingerprint and card expiration date. This card does not have a signature or a black stripe on the back. Some cards issued after May 1, 2017, may display the previous design format. Both this and previous versions of Form I-551 remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.

Current Form I-551, front and back

USCIS began issuing this version of Form I-551 in May 2010. This redesign changed the card color to green. The card contains the bearer’s photo, name, USCIS number, date of birth, laser-engraved fingerprint, and card expiration date. Currently, the USCIS Number is also the cardholder’s alien registration number (A-Number). This number is also located on the back of the card.

These cards may or may not contain a signature. A signature is not required for the card to be acceptable for Form I-9 purposes.

Image of the front of a Permanent Resident Card
Image of the back of the current Permanent Resident Card
 
 
 
 
Previous Form I-551, front and back

Another older version of the Form I-551 shows the DHS seal and contains a detailed hologram on the front of the card. Each card is personalized with an etching showing the bearer’s photo, name, fingerprint, date of birth, A-Number, and the card expiration date.

Some employees may also have older Resident Alien cards, issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, which do not have expiration dates and are valid indefinitely. These cards are peach in color and contain the bearer’s fingerprint and photograph.

Sample front of previous Permanent Resident Card with signature
Sample Previous Permanent Resident Card back with signature
 
 
 
 
Older Form I-551, front and back
Image of Front of Older Permanent Resident Card
Image of back of older Permanent Resident Card

 

 

 

 

Foreign Passport with I-551 Stamp or MRIV

USCIS uses either an I-551 stamp or a temporary I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV) to indicate temporary evidence of lawful permanent residence. Sometimes, if no foreign passport is available, USCIS will place the I-551 stamp on a Form I-94 and affix a photograph of the bearer to the form. This document is considered a receipt.

Unexpired Foreign Passport with I-551 Stamp 

The temporary Form I-551 MRIV is evidence of permanent resident status for one year from the date of admission.
 

Image of a Foreign Passport
Sample of Form I551 Stamp
Temporary I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV)
Sample US Visa page inside a foreign passport

Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document

On May 1, 2017, USCIS began issuing a redesigned Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, (EAD) to certain individuals with temporary authorization to work in the United States. The card contains the bearer’s photograph on the front and back, name, USCIS number, card number, date of birth, laser-engraved fingerprint, and the card expiration date. Cards may contain one of the following notations below the expiration date:

  • “Not Valid for Reentry to U.S.;”
  • “Valid for Reentry to U.S.;” or
  • “Serves as I-512 Parole.”

Some EADs issued after May 1, 2017, may still display the previous design format. Both the existing and new EADs will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.

Current EAD with “NOT VALID FOR REENTRY TO U.S.,” front and back
Front view of an Employment Authorization Card
Back view of current Employment Authorization Card

 

 

 

 

 

 

The older version of the EAD contains the bearer’s photograph, fingerprint, card number, USCIS Number, birth date, and signature, along with a holographic film and the DHS seal. The expiration date is located at the bottom of the card. Cards may contain one of the following notations below the expiration date:

  • “Not Valid for Reentry to U.S.;”
  • “Valid for Reentry to U.S.;” or
  • “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole.”

Form I-20 accompanied by Form I-94

For curricular practical training, F-1 nonimmigrant students with a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, must also have Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Students, endorsed with employment authorization by the designated school official. USCIS issues an EAD to all F-1 students who are authorized for optional practical training (OPT) and M-1 students authorized for practical training. See Section 6.4.2, F-1 and M-1 Nonimmigrants, for more information on Form I-20.

Form I-20 accompanied by Form I-94
Sample Form 1-20 Page 1
Sample image of form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status
See Form I-94 below.

Form DS-2019 accompanied by Form I-94

J-1 nonimmigrant exchange visitors must have a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, accompanied by an unexpired Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, issued by the U.S. Department of State, that specifies the sponsor. J-1 exchange students also need a letter from their responsible officer authorizing their employment. See Section 6.4.1, Exchange Visitors and Students (J-1s), for more information on DS-2019.

DS-2019 accompanied by Form I-94
Sample view of Form DS-2019
See Form I-94 below.

Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record

CBP and USCIS issue Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, to nonimmigrants. This document indicates the bearer’s class of admission, date of entry, and date their immigration status expires. Generally, employees download it from cbp.gov. If an employee presents a paper Form I-94, it may show a stamped or handwritten date. They may present Form I-94 with documents that Form I-9 specifies are valid as a combination of documents, such as Form I-94 presented with a foreign passport, and Form DS-2019 or Form I-20.

Electronic Form I-94
Sample electronic Form I-94 issued from CBP
Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record
Sample from I94 filled out by CBP
sample for I-94A

 

 

 

 

 

Passport of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands

In 2003, Compacts of Free Association (CFA) between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) were amended to allow citizens of these countries to work in the United States without obtaining an EAD.

For Form I-9 purposes, citizens of these countries may present FSM or RMI passports accompanied by a Form I-94 indicating nonimmigrant admission under the CFA, which are acceptable documents under List A. The exact notation on Form I-94 may vary and is subject to change. The notation on Form I-94 typically states “CFA/FSM” for an FSM citizen and “CFA/MIS” for an RMI citizen.

Passport of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Cover of Micronesia passport
Image of a Republic of Marshall Islands Passport