What must you carry on your person for identification if you are in the United States in a legal status?

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Carry identification and report change of address

What must you carry on your person for identification if you are in the United States in a legal status?

By law, every person who is not a US citizen and is a present in the United States in legal status must carry with them on their person proof of their identity and legal status. And this requirement applies to both nonimmigrants as well as green card holders. Failure to carry AND produce these documents are a criminal offense (misdemeanor). If any of the immigration related documents have been lost, you are required to immediately apply for replacement and carry some evidence that you have done so.

We recommend, you carry with you the following items (even though some of this may be a bit of an overkill):

Green Card Holders

Green Card (also called Form I-551)
Drivers license 

Nonimmigrants on a work visa

(E, H, L, O, P, R visa/status holders)

Approval Notice from the USCIS
I-94, Arrival Departure Record
Drivers License

TN Holders

Drivers licence

G Visa holders

Your work ID
Drivers License

Nonimmigrants on a student visa

(F-1, J-1, M-1)

Your Form I-20 (F-1, M-1)  or DS 2019 (J-1)
Your I-94
Your school ID

Nonimmigrants, Other

(B-1, B-2)

Some photo ID

Families of nonimmigrant visa holders described above

Some photo ID like drivers license
Status approval notice, if applicable
EAD, if work authorized, like H-4 EAD, L-2 EAD, E EAD

Pending Adjustment of Status

If you still have a currently active H or L visa, the documents described above for that status would be enough.  If you have allowed the H or L status to lapse or anyone who is in AOS process, carry:

EAD (Also called Form I-766)
AOS (I-485) fees receipt
If EAD has expired and renewal is pending, carry your old EAD and fee receipt of the extension filing.  If you don't yet have the receipt, carrying the old EAD should meet legal requirements.
Drivers License 

For decades, these requirements have existed on the books, but were largely ignored by the government and foreign visitors and residents. 

Report your change of address

Additionally, all immigrants and nonimmigrants must report their change of address to the government within 10 days of moving (File Form AR-11). Failure to do so is also a criminal offense.

More Details

Under the USCIS regulations, the following documents are evidence of your legal status (“registration”), that is, your legal status in the USA:

(b) Evidence of registration. The following forms constitute evidence of registration:


I-94, Arrival-Departure Record -- Aliens admitted as nonimmigrants; aliens paroled into the United States under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act; aliens whose claimed entry prior to July 1, 1924, cannot be verified, they having satisfactorily established residence in the United States since prior to July 1, 1924; and aliens granted permission to depart without the institution of deportation proceedings.

 I-95, Crewmen's Landing Permit -- Crewmen arriving by vessel or aircraft.

I-184, Alien Crewman Landing Permit and Identification Card -- Crewmen arriving by vessel.

I-185, Nonresident Alien Canadian Border Crossing Card --Citizens of Canada or British subjects residing in Canada.

I-186, Nonresident Alien Mexican Border Crossing Card -- Citizens of Mexico residing in Mexico.

 I-221, Order to Show Cause and Notice of Hearing -- Aliens against whom deportation proceedings are being instituted.

 I-221S, Order to Show Cause, Notice of Hearing, and Warrant for Arrest of Alien -- Aliens against whom deportation proceedings are being instituted.

 I-551, Permanent Resident Card -- Lawful permanent resident of the United States.

 I-766, Employment Authorization Document.

 Form I-862, Notice to Appear--Aliens against whom removal proceedings are being instituted.

 Form I-863, Notice of Referral to Immigration Judge--Aliens against whom removal proceedings are being instituted.

 Note to paragraph (b): In addition to the forms noted in this paragraph (b), a valid, unexpired nonimmigrant DHS admission or parole stamp in a foreign passport constitutes evidence of registration.

(c) Replacement of alien registration. Any alien whose registration document is not available for any reason must immediately apply for a replacement document in the manner prescribed by USCIS.

YouTube Video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9FThw8Pis


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Dear Sir,

Greetings of the day!

I came to US on B1 in last week 1st Oct 2017. Got stamp for 6 months (i94 expires on Mar 31 2018)

This is 3rd time I'm travelling to US on B1.

Below are the previous trip details,
1) Aug 02 2014 To Sep 28 2014
2) May 03 2015 To Jun 15 2015
3) Oct 1 2017 To till date (Nov 11 2017)

Now my company wants to file an L1 for me. Employer is ready to file an application for L1 in USA if it is legitimate.

Since I am already in US, Is there a process to get my L1 with out going back to my country (India) or should I go back to my country and then apply L1 ?

Please suggest.
Thanks in advance.

Generally speaking, I discourage people from applying for a change of status while visiting on a tourist visa or a business visa. But each case is different, and it is difficult to make a general rule.

Note: Not intended to create attorney-client relationship.  Answers could be incomplete, incorrect or outdated.  Use caution.

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