If you’re a lawful permanent resident of the United States applying efor citizenship or filling out other government forms, you may need to enter your green card number. This guide explains what the green card number is, how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses it, how to locate the number on your green card, and how to understand what the different parts of the green card number mean.
Written by Jonathan Petts.
Written February 16, 2022
What Is the Green Card Number?
Your green card number is a 13-digit number that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) assigns to your specific green card application. Your green card number is printed on your permanent resident card. The green card number is sometimes called a “case number,” “permanent resident card number,” or an “I-551 receipt number.” Form I-551 is the form number for a green card.
Your green card number is not the same thing as your alien registration number (A-number), which is also printed on your green card. Your green card number is also not the same thing as your USCIS number, which can be found on the front of your card.
Where Is the Green Card Number on Your Card?
If you have the current version of the green card, you’ll find your green card number printed on the card’s backside at the bottom. Your green card number is in the first line of a long string of 90 characters, made of letters, numbers, and less-than symbols (<<). Your green card number begins with three letters and ends with 10 numbers. For example:
Sample Green Card - Back
Sample Green Card - Front
If you have an older version of the green card, your number may be at the bottom of the front of your card. For example:
Sample Green Card - Old Version
On much older green card versions, there is no green card number on the card. If your card has no green card number, it means that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was not using the green card number at the time they issued your card.
Understanding the Green Card Number Format
As we mentioned, your green card number is found in the first line of a string of 90 characters on your card. That line begins with either a “C1” or “C2,” which indicates whether you are a permanent resident living in the United States (C1), or a permanent resident commuter (C2). The letters “USA” follow, indicating your country of permanent residence. The next ten numbers in the sequence are your alien number.
Finally, your green card number comes next. The first three letters of your green card number represent the service center that processed your card. Each USCIS service center has a three-letter code:
CSC - California Service Center
EAC - Eastern Adjudication Center (which is now the Vermont Service Center)
IOE - ELIS e-file (for applications filed online)
LIN - Lincoln Service Center (which is now the Nebraska Service Center)
MSC - Missouri Service Center (which is now the National Benefits Center)
NSC - Nebraska Service Center
NBC - National Benefits Center
SRC - Southern Regional Center (which is now the Texas Service Center)
TSC - Texas Service Center
VSC - Vermont Service Center
WAC - Western Adjudication Center (which is now the California Service Center)
YSC - Potomac Service Center
For example, if your green card number reads EAC 20 005 40421, you know that your green card was processed in the Eastern Adjudication Center (EAC), which is now the Vermont Service Center.
After the service center code, the next two numbers represent the fiscal year when you submitted your green card application to the U.S. government. The U.S. government’s fiscal year begins on October 1st and ends on September 30th of the following year, so this date will not necessarily match your calendar date. In our sample green card number, EAC 20 005 40421, the fiscal year is represented by 20, meaning that the government received that green card case in October 2019.
The next part of the green card number represents what’s called the “computer workday.” A computer workday is a three-digit number based on the regular 365-day calendar, which excludes weekends and holidays. So, in our sample green card number, EAC 20 005 40421, the government agency received the green card application on the fifth workday of fiscal year 2020.
The final part of the green card number is the 5-digit case number. In our example, the green card holder’s case number is 40421. Your case number is unique to you and represents the number USCIS assigned to the green card application that they ultimately approved.
Getting a green card can be complicated, but working with a good immigration attorney can make it easier. If you can't afford attorney fees and don't want to handle your green card case alone, we may be able to help. If you meet the eligibility requirements, our free web app will walk you through the process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!