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Form I-551 is the official name of the United States Green Card or Alien Registration Card. A Green Card is used to prove that the holder has been admitted to and recognized as a legal permanent residence of the U.S. The I-551 can take the form of a temporary stamp in a valid passport or it may be a physical card.

I-551s can be valid for 2 years under conditional resident status or for 10 years under permanent resident status. Permanent I-551s lasting 10 years are also available to certain investors and immediate relatives.

Conditional Green Cards may also be issued. These cards are issued to foreign citizens who marry a U.S. citizen or to foreign investors and they do come with restrictions.

Benefits of a Green Card

Anyone holding a valid I-551 or Green Card has the right to live and work permanently in the United States. However, the Card does not make the holder a citizen of the U.S. Once a Green Card holder applies for U.S. citizenship he/she must give up their Green Card. After citizenship is granted, the person is considered a dual citizen so long as they hold passports for both the U.S. and their original country.


A Green Card does not protect the holder from deportation. A holder who commits a serious crime or resides outside of the U.S. for too long will lose their I-551 privileges and benefits.

File Form I-551 With Help From Our Orlando Immigration Law Office

The Law Offices of Gail Seeram is an Orlando Immigration Law Office offering legal representation in all areas of U.S. immigration law, including Form I-551, Green Cards, and Residency.

Contact our Orlando immigration attorney at +1 (407) 292-7730 for assistance filing for or renewing Form I-551.