Why Alien Registration Number Matters and How To Obtain Yours


An alien registration number is otherwise known as an A-number or USCIS number. It is a unique identifier assigned to non-U.S. citizens by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is considered a crucial identification tool for individuals navigating the complex immigration system. The A-number consists of eight or nine digits and is essential for various immigration-related processes, such as applying for visas, green cards, and employment authorization.

Importance of the Alien Registration Number

The alien registration number holds significant importance for non-U.S. citizens who are residing in the United States. It is a vital piece of information that allows the USCIS to track an individual’s immigration history, applications, and status. Without a valid A-number, many crucial immigration processes can be delayed or even denied.

Alien registration number plays a crucial role in establishing one’s lawful immigration status. This number is often required when applying for employment or educational opportunities. It verifies that an individual has legal permission to work or study in the United States.

Additionally, the A-number is crucial for accessing various government services. These include healthcare, social security benefits, and driver’s licenses.

Who Needs An Alien Registration Number?

All non-U.S. citizens residing in the United States are required to have an alien registration number. This includes:

  • lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
  • temporary visa holders
  • asylum seekers
  • refugees
  • individuals holding an employment authorization document (EAD)

Even individuals in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa or green card are assigned a temporary A-number until their permanent one is issued.

Important Note: Certain categories of individuals, such as tourists and visitors on the Visa Waiver Program, may not have an A-number. However, they still need to comply with the terms of their visa or visa waiver. Also, they must carry proper identification documents while in the United States.

How to Obtain an Alien Registration Number

The process of obtaining an Alien Registration Number can vary depending on your immigration status. But here are the general steps to follow:

1) Submit an Application

To obtain an Alien Registration Number, you will need to submit an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The specific form you need to complete will depend on your immigration category. For example, if you are applying for a Green Card, you will need to submit Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

2) Gather Required Documents

Along with your application, you will need to provide supporting documents to establish your identity and immigration status. These documents may include your passport and other immigration documents. Make sure to carefully review the USCIS instructions for your specific application to ensure you include all necessary documentation.

3) Pay the Filing Fee

Most USCIS applications require a filing fee. The fee amount varies depending on the application type.

Check the USCIS website or the specific application instructions for the current fee amount and acceptable payment methods. It is essential to submit the correct fee to avoid delays or rejection of your application.

4) Submit your Application to the USCIS

Make sure to follow the instructions provided to ensure proper submission. Also, keep copies of all documents and records for your reference.

5) Await Processing

The USCIS processing time can vary depending on the application type and current USCIS workload.

You can check the USCIS website for estimated processing times or contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center for updates on your application status.

6) Receive your Alien Registration Number

Upon the approval of your application, you will receive your Alien Registration Number. It will be included in the official approval notice or document issued by the USCIS. Keep this document safe.

Common Issues and Challenges

While obtaining an alien registration number is a crucial step in the immigration process, it can sometimes present challenges and issues for non-U.S. citizens. Here are some of them:

Delays in receiving the alien registration number can occur due to several reasons like high application volumes, administrative errors, or incomplete documentation. In such cases, it is important to maintain communication with the USCIS and follow up on the status of the application to ensure a timely resolution.

Incorrect or missing information on the assigned A-number can also create complications for individuals. It is essential to carefully review all immigration forms and notify the USCIS of any discrepancies or missing information.

How to Update or Replace an A-number

In some cases, individuals may need to update or replace their alien registration number. This can happen if the A-number is lost, stolen, or contains incorrect information. The process for updating or replacing an A-number can be complex.

To update an alien registration number, individuals should contact the USCIS and provide the necessary documentation to support the requested change. This may include updated visa or green card information, legal name changes, or corrections to personal details.

If an A-number is lost or stolen, individuals should report the incident to the USCIS and local law enforcement agencies. They will guide you through the process of obtaining a replacement A-number, which may involve submitting a new application and providing supporting documents.

It is crucial to approach the process of updating or replacing an alien registration number with diligence and accuracy. It is highly recommended to work with a St. Louis immigration lawyer for valuable guidance and to ensure the correct submission of required documents, minimizing potential delays or complications.


The alien registration number serves as a unique identifier that allows the USCIS to track an individual’s immigration history, applications, and status.

While the process of obtaining an alien registration number can present challenges and issues, individuals can seek support from resources such as the USCIS website and immigration lawyers. By understanding the importance of the A-number and following the necessary steps, non-U.S. citizens can navigate the immigration system with confidence and ensure compliance with immigration requirements.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *