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USCIS to Issue New Green Card with Enhanced Security Features

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has unveiled a redesigned permanent resident card (more commonly known as a green card), that includes several new security features designed to prevent document fraud. The green card, which serves as proof of authorization to live and work in the US on a permanent basis, had not been substantially changed since 1998, making it a frequent target for counterfeiters. Employers must now make themselves aware of this new variation of the green card  so they can continue to fulfill their obligation to examine identity and work authorization documents during the I-9 process. The new card (which went into production on Monday) includes the following new features:

  • Embedded radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, which allows Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry to read unique, 192-bit serial number (192-bits) from a distance and link the information to the personal data on file
  • Laser Engraved Fingerprint
  • Tamper Resistant Border which easily shows any attempted alterations to the naked eye
  • Optical Variable Ink which creates color shifts in visual designs
  • Micro-image, High Resolution Pictures of State Flags and Presidents
  • It’s actually green in color again (first time since 1959!), which should hopefully reduce some confusion during the examination process

It’s important to note that existing green cards will remain valid until they expire, so employers will have to be familiar with multiple styles of the I-551. There are also green cards that were issued prior to August 1989, which did not contain an expiration date. Holders of those cards are encouraged to replace them with the new version, but they are not required to do so.