I-551 Stamp on Passport [Explained 2024]
January 18, 2024
3 min. read
Moving from one apartment to another is a bit of a struggle, let alone moving from one country to another. There are so many rules, terms, and abbreviations that you need to know. It can be overwhelming indeed.
The I-551 stamp is one of these form numbers that implies immigration status and might be a bit confusing. Let’s define what an I-551 stamp is and why it is important.
The Citizenship and Immigration Services of the United States (USCIS) has different internal identification numbers for forms, documents, and stamps.
An I-551 stamp is an official mark placed on a passport by USCIS. By issuing it, the government gives permission and temporary proof to legally reside in the US.
Stamp I-551 evidencing permanent residence can be displayed on your passport or an I-94 card. Stamp I-551 also refers to a 13-digit code that is placed on a permanent resident card or to an ADIT stamp (Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunication).
If a permanent resident lost a green card or it’s been stolen or destroyed, USCIS may issue a temporary Form I-551.
The I-551 status stamp can appear on further documents you may receive in the future. Wherever it comes up, it indicates the US permanent resident status. It allows you to be engaged in work and travel around the country.
You can see the stamp on a permanent resident card which gives the permanent right to live and work in the US. The upper left corner of the backside of the current green card displays the I-551 black-ink stamp, as in the example below.
Green cards are not the only official document that showcases the I-551 stamp and permanent resident status. Machine-readable immigrant visas (MRIV) may also display the I-551 stamp and provide temporary evidence of lawful permanent residence.
Your local USCIS office will issue a temporary I-551 stamp in your passport while you wait for official approval of an I-90. Then, you should take the following steps:
- Before booking an appointment for I-90, it’s advised to call your nearest facility.
- With a passport and other documents ready, you can schedule an appointment with USCIS. Use the link to their official USCIS website: https://my.uscis.gov/en/appointment/v2.
- Receive a date, time, and location for the biometric procedures.
- Provide biometrics at a local Application Support Center (ASC): fingerprinting and background checks.
- Get a passport-style photo. You can always get a digital copy of passport photo at a great cost, and then print it as a 4×6 picture for cents.
- Fill out the I-90 form.
At the appointment, the following documents are required to submit for Stamp I-551 that will be evidencing permanent residence:
- Unexpired passport.
- Statement that you’ve booked an appointment—InfoPass appointment notice.
- I-90 Form receipt.
- Proof of residence.
- Expired/lost green card copy (if applicable).
- ASC appointment copy with a date stamp and evidence of your biometrics taken. If you need a 2×2 photo now, you can take a Duane Reade passport photo online or offline if you reside in New York City.
- Related documents to support your case, such as death certificates, plane tickets, etc.
Please note that you need to schedule an appointment with the USCIS office of your jurisdiction.
Stamp I-551 on Passports: FAQ
Obtaining the temporary I-551 stamp is free. However, if you lose your green card, it’ll cost you $445 to apply for a new green card with Form I-90. If a biometrics appointment is applicable, the $455 fee will be paired up with the $85 biometrics fee.
Temporary I-551 status stamps are often with the expiration date of 6 to 12 months. However, it’s different with every individual case. As a rule of thumb, USCIS grants an I-551 pass for the period comfortable to get a ready passport. An applicant’s passport validity also influences the duration the stamp I-551 is given for.