United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) stated that the agency will start issuing revamped Permanent Resident Cards (commonly referred to as “green cards”) and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD Cards) as a portion of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project, a multi-agency initiative pointed at modernizing security measures through advanced biometrics technologies.
The new designs, which use improved graphics & fraud-resistant security features, will be less susceptible to tampering and counterfeiting than the current cards. This update is indicative of a larger trend throughout the immigration agencies to crack down on fraud and to take a tougher stance on vetting and security issues over the board.
USCIS declares that the redesigned cards will:
Display the individual’s photos on both sides;
Show a unique graphic image and color palette:
Green cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;
EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;
Have embedded holographic images;
No longer display the individual’s signature; and
Green cards will no longer have an optical stripe on the back.
Importantly, the agency will proceed to issue cards in their existing format even after May 1, 2017, saying that it intends to deplete current supplies back transitioning to the new versions. All versions of green cards & EAD cards will remain valid until the expiration date listed on the document. Do note, though, that certain EAD card holders have had their validity automatically extended beyond the listed expiration date. If you are uncertain as to whether you are affected, you should talk your immigration lawyer for guidance.
Foreign citizens currently in possession of older green cards not having an expiration date—which will remain valid—should nevertheless consider applying for an updated replacement card in order to reduce the likelihood of fraud or issues with document verification & interacting with the government.
Foreign citizens may proceed to present any valid green card or EAD card for I-9 verification purposes. Accordingly, employers and HR representatives should familiarize themselves with the appearance & features of the redesigned documents so as to be able to navigate the employment eligibility process when onboarding new hires.