If you’ve ever filled out USCIS forms, you have no doubt come across references to “A Numbers”. This can easily be confused with an admission number, which is a far different registration system and is awarded to everyone who is admitted to the U.S. and issued an I-94.
“A Numbers” refers to an “Alien Registration Number”. When are “Alien Registration Numbers” issued, you might well ask. These numbers are reserved exclusively for noncitizen aliens and is assigned at the time his or her A-file is created. The A-file is created either at a port-of-entry when a person is admitted to the U.S. on an immigrant visa (green card processed at a consulate), or through an adjustment of status application filed with the USCIS (a green card issued while someone is in the U.S.). In short, A numbers are only issued to immigrant visa holders (green card holders), and never nonimmigrant visa holders. This means that if a traveler is admitted to the U.S. on the E-2 or L-1 visa class, he or she will not be issued an A number. For any subsequent filings with the USCIS, the nonimmigrant will either use the Admission Number as recorded on the I-94 or the nonimmigrant number printed on the nonimmigrant visa. If a form specifically asks for the A number, leave it blank and do not substitute the Admission Number unless the form specifically states either number may be used.
The 9-digit USCIS number listed on the front of Permanent Resident Cards issued after May 10, 2010 is the same thing as the Alien Registration Number or A Number.
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