The I-551 Stamp: The Complete Guide

The I-551 Stamp: The Complete Guide

Is your green card going to expire soon? Do you want to make sure you can prove your resident status in the U.S. is valid while your new Green Card is being generated? The way to make sure you can prove your Green Card is on the way is by getting an I-551 stamp in your passport. This article will go over what the I-551 stamp is and how it can help you in more detail.

What Is an I-551 Stamp?

The I-551 stamp is temporary evidence of permanent resident status in the United States. It is issued on a passport while an immigrant’s Green Card is being renewed. It serves as the temporary approval of permanent resident status while the actual Green Card is being generated.

Green Card renewal is a lengthy process. It may take 6 months to 1 year to get your new Green Card processed. That’s where the I-551 stamp comes into the picture as it serves as temporary proof of your lawful permanent resident status. The purpose of the I-551 stamp is to avoid issues involving a lost, stolen, expiring, or expired Green Card.

Who Is Eligible for an I-551 Stamp?

An I-551 stamp is basically a renewal process for expired and/or expiring Green Cards. Typically, a U.S. Green Card is valid for 10 years. If you are a permanent resident and your Green Card tenure has expired, or about to expire within the next 6 months, then you are eligible to begin the renewal process by obtaining an I-551 stamp on your passport.

How to Get an I-551 Stamp?

An I-551 stamp can be obtained at a local USCIS office by scheduling an InfoPass appointment. The appointment can be booked online through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website (https://my.uscis.gov/en/appointment/v2). You need to fill out an application form and make an appointment on a specific date of your choosing.

Alternatively, you may also file your application in person by visiting a regional USCIS office or by sending your application through the mail. However, the online application is the most common and convenient way of scheduling your InfoPass appointment.

Documents Required for an I-551

To obtain an I-551 stamp on your passport, you would need to submit the following set of documents and proof:

  •       A valid passport
  •       Your InfoPass appointment notice (can be printed from the USCIS website)
  •       Form I-90 (application to Replace Permanent Resident Card) receipt notice
  •       Proof of residence within the jurisdiction of the USCIS office
  •       Copy of expired or lost Green Card (if available)
  •       A copy of a date-stamped ASC appointment notice showing you appeared for your biometrics appointment, if applicable.

Besides these mandatory documents, you may be asked to produce additional documents demonstrating the need for the stamp under certain emergency circumstances like an impending death in the family or an imminent trip abroad. There is a section on the USCIS website where you can ask specific questions and get an immediate response from the proper authorities.

Cost of an I-551 Stamp

There is no direct fee associated with the  I-551 stamp. However, to apply for the I-551 stamp, you need to have already prepared a Form I-90—which costs $445 per person. Additionally, there is an $85 fee involved for the biometric procedure.

How Long Is an I-551 Stamp Valid?

Temporary evidence of permanent resident status is valid for a period of 6 months to 1 year from the date of issuance. If your passport is due to expire before that time, then the I-551 stamp validity will mostly be set until the expiration date of the passport.

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Conclusion

Temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status in the United States, commonly known as the I-551 stamp, is a stop-gap arrangement to ascertain the legal resident status of an immigrant while his/her Green Card is being renewed.

A U.S. Green Card holder can initiate the renewal process 6 months before the expiration of the default 10-year validity of a Green Card. The renewal procedure involves scheduling an InfoPass appointment with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services authorities. The appointment must be attended in person at the given date/time. You need to bring the required documents mentioned in this article for your I-551 stamp request to get approved. It may take up to 12 months for the entire renewal procedure to be completed, depending upon the staffing and workload levels of the USCIS.

An I-551 stamp does not cost you any direct fee, but to get Form I-90—which is a mandatory document that you must submit during your InfoPass appointment—you need to pay a fee of $445. Moreover, a biometric procedure, if applicable, will cost you an additional $85.

The USCIS issues I-551 stamps either for a duration of 6 months or 1 year. Your Green Card usually gets generated within this timeframe. For expiring passports, however, the validity of the stamp is set to the date of passport expiration.

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