What Does a U.S. Permanent Resident Card Look Like?

By Annie Page - Updated February 09, 2018
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Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Beverly

The Permanent Resident Card gives foreign-born citizens the ability to live and work in the U.S.. The term "green card" dates back to the years after World War II when immigrants who successfully obtained permits to live in the U.S. received green receipts. A permanent resident card no longer bares resemblance to the early permanent resident cards.

Color Confusion

While the term "green card" is still used to describe a Permanent Resident Card, the card itself is actually white. Both sides of the card have a white background and green and multi-color print which can appear yellow in tone. It is made of plastic and bears basic biographic information about the permanent resident, such as: name, country of birth, birth date, sex, card expiration date, and date of admission as a permanent resident. It also provides the cardholder alien registration number, or "A-number."

Design and Security Features

The reverse side of the Permanent Resident Card features miniature depictions of every U.S. president and the flags of each U.S. state. Cards issued to non-children and non-disabled residents also have the cardholder's signature on the front and back of the card. When the cardholder is signature exempt, the card states "Signature Waived" where the signatures typically are located. A magnetic barcode on the back of the card contains the cardholder's private information.

About the Author

Annie Page was first published in the "Buenos Aires Herald" in 2001. She has been freelance writing since early 2009 and currently lives in Hawaii. Page has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and philosophy and a Master of Arts degree in comparative literature from University College London.

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