How to Authenticate a Resident Alien ID Card

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Permanent Resident Cards -- the new name for Resident Alien Cards, still popularly known as "green cards" -- are frequently updated and changed. While changes and new formats are introduced in the name of anti-counterfeiting, different formats from different years complicate employers’ attempts to verify the authenticity of the cards. However, a number of simple techniques will help you screen out most fake residency cards.

Checking Authenticity

Look at the lettering. Official cards will have no spelling mistakes, no weird fonts and no irregular spacing.

Check for the hologram. Permanent Resident Cards all have holograms as well as a map and a seal.

Feel the picture to ensure that it is printed onto the card and not simply glued over another picture.

Look at the card under a black light. Black lights will show any basic tampering to the card; areas that were scratched out, chalked or covered with extra glue will pop out as very white.

Check to see if the information on the back of the card matches the information on the front of the card.

Visually check the card against the samples printed in the “Guide to Selected U.S. Travel Documents,” prepared by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Forensic Document Laboratory.


About the Author

Calla Hummel is a doctoral student studying contraband in international political economy. She supplements her student stipend by writing about personal finance and working as a consultant, as well as hoping that her investments will pan out.

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