What is an ADIT stamp?

Navigating the complexities of immigration can be daunting, especially when it involves understanding various stamps and documents. One crucial document for U.S. immigrants is the ADIT stamp. This blog post aims to explain what an ADIT stamp is, its importance, and how it affects your immigration status.

What is an ADIT Stamp?

The ADIT (Alien Documentation, Identification & Telecommunication) stamp, also known as the I-551 stamp, serves as temporary proof of your lawful permanent residency (green card) status in the United States. Typically, USCIS issues this stamp in an individual’s passport or on Form I-94, allowing them to prove their residency while waiting for their official green card.

When Does USCIS Issue the ADIT Stamp?

USCIS commonly issues this stamp in the following scenarios:

  • Pending Green Card replacement: If you lose, have your green card stolen, or damage it, the ADIT stamp serves as interim proof of your status while you await a replacement.
  • Conditional Residency: When you apply to remove conditions on your residency (Form I-751 or Form I-829), USCIS may issue the ADIT stamp to extend your residency status while processing your application.
  • Initial Entry: In some cases, new immigrants receive an ADIT stamp upon their initial entry into the U.S. before USCIS mails their green card to them.

Importance of the I-551 stamp

This stamp is vital for several reasons:

  • Proof of Residency: It acts as temporary evidence of your lawful permanent resident status, which you need for employment, re-entry into the U.S. after travel, and accessing certain benefits.
  • Employment Authorization: Employers can accept the ADIT stamp as proof of your authorization to work in the U.S.
  • Travel Documentation: It allows you to re-enter the United States if you travel abroad while waiting for your green card.

How to Obtain an I-551 stamp

To obtain this stamp, follow these steps:

  1. Schedule an Appointment: Contact the USCIS Contact Center to make an appointment with a local USCIS office.
  2. Prepare Documentation: Bring necessary documents such as your passport, expired or damaged green card (if applicable), Form I-94, receipt notice of your pending application, and any other relevant documentation.
  3. Attend the Appointment: During your appointment, a USCIS officer will review your documents and may issue the ADIT stamp in your passport or on Form I-94.

Validity and Renewal of the ADIT Stamp

This stamp typically remains valid for one year. If your green card replacement or residency application process extends beyond this period, you may need to obtain a new stamp. To renew it you need to:

  • Contact USCIS: Reach out to USCIS to explain your situation and request a new appointment.
  • Follow the same process: Prepare the necessary documentation and attend the appointment as you did initially.

Common Issues and Solutions

Lost or Stolen Passport

If you lose your passport containing the I-551 stamp or someone steals it:

  • Report Immediately: Notify the local police and obtain a police report.
  • Contact USCIS: Inform USCIS and schedule an appointment to get a new ADIT stamp.

Denied ADIT Stamp

In rare cases, USCIS might deny the issuance of this stamp. If this happens:

  • Seek Legal Assistance: Consult with an immigration attorney to understand the reasons for the denial and explore alternative options.
  • Review Documentation: Ensure all your documents are complete and accurately reflect your status.

Conclusion

The ADIT stamp is a crucial document for lawful permanent residents in the U.S., providing temporary proof of your status while you await your green card. Understanding its purpose, how to obtain it, and its importance can help you navigate your residency status more effectively.

By staying informed and proactive, you can ensure that you always have documented and recognized residency status, allowing you to live and work in the United States without unnecessary disruptions. If you have any further questions or concerns about the I-551 stamp, consider consulting with an immigration attorney or contacting USCIS directly.


written by Alexander Alfano
Alexander Joseph Alfano is the Director and Chief Legal Counsel of Financial Legal Group INC. He's a distinguished lawyer in since 1993, specializes in financial services, immigration law, nonprofit corporations, and civil cases.