If you’re a Green Card holder, do you have to carry your Green Card with you? If you’re a permanent resident age 18 or older, the answer is yes.
According to Section 264(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, all permanent residents 18 or older are required by law to carry their US Permanent Resident Card with them at all times. Your Green Card serves as proof of your permanent US resident status, so you need to have it with you.
You cannot use a photocopy or picture of the Green Card on your phone as proof. You need to carry the actual Green Card.
What if I Don’t Have My Green Card with Me?
If you are found not in possession of your Green Card, it is a misdemeanor; the penalty for which is a $100 fine and up to 30 days in jail.
While it is unlikely that you would ever be detained or arrested simply for failing to carry your Green Card, it is possible. For instance, if your place of employment is subject to workplace enforcement actions, not having your Green Card could result in professional consequences. Therefore, it is a smart idea to not take the risk, and always have your Green Card with you when you leave your home.
If your Green Card has been lost or stolen, take steps to replace it immediately.
Also, if you plan to travel outside the United States, you must have your Green Card with you. Without it, you may not be able to gain reentry to the US.
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Exceptions to Carrying Your Permanent Resident Card
If you have just arrived in the US, you likely will not yet have a Green Card to carry, as it takes several weeks for it to arrive in the mail. In this case, carry your passport with an I-551 stamp for the time being. The I-551 stamp will serve as your proof of permanent residency status until your Green Card arrives. If you have lost your Green Card or it has been stolen, you can submit a Form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. After filing the I-90, you can carry a copy of Notice of Action Form I-797C as proof that you’re replacing your Green Card.
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