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Green Card Number, Explained

A guide to the 90 characters on the back of your green card

The green card number is an individualized number that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) used to track your case, prior to issuing the card. Need green card help? Boundless offers green card support without the high price tag. Learn more.

sample green card

A green card seems pretty straightforward when you first look at it. That is, until you flip the card over and see 3 lines of 90 letters, numbers, and a whole slew of “less than” symbols on the back. Located within this string of characters is a lot of important information, including your green card number, which is unique to each green card holder.

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Where is the Green Card Number?

The green card number — also known as the receipt number or the permanent resident number — is located on the bottom of the back of the card, in the first line of a long string of 90 characters. The less than symbols are there simply as space holders.

sample green card

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Green Card Location

Each line on the back of the green card contains 30 characters. The green card number is located in the last 13 characters of the first line, followed by two space holders. To be exact, the green card number is the characters for digits 16-28, followed by “>>.”

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Green Card Number Format

The first line of the 90 character string on the back of a green card starts with C1 or C2, which indicates whether the green card holder is a long-term permanent resident within the US (C1), or a permanent resident commuter, from Canada or Mexico (C2). Following are letters indicating the country of residence, USA, digits 3-5. The next ten digits (6-15) are called the alien number.

And then, finally, the green card number starts. This series begins with 3 letters, which indicate the service center which received the case for residency status:

CSC – California Service Center

EAC – Eastern Adjudication Center (now known as Vermont Service Center)

IOE – ELIS (efile)

LIN – Lincoln Service Center (now known as Nebraska Service Center)

MSC – Missouri Service Center (now known as National Benefits Center)

NBC – National Benefits Center

NSC – Nebraska Service Center

SRC – Southern Regional Center (now known as Texas Service Center)

TSC – Texas Service Center

VSC – Vermont Service Center

WAC – Western Adjudication Center (now known as California Service Center)

YSC – Potomac Service Center

After the service center code are two digits that represent the fiscal year the case was received. This might not match what your calendar says, because the U.S. government’s fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30. As an example, this means a case received October 15, 2019 would have a fiscal year two digit code of 20.

Following the fiscal year are 3 digits indicating the computer workday of the year that the case was opened. But why 3 digits, for a weekday? It is based on 365/366 days per year, less holidays and weekends. So if your green card reads NBC 20 045, your case was received at the National Benefits Center in the 2020 fiscal year, on the 45th workday.

The last 5 is your unique immigrant case number — the number of the approved case that resulted in a green card being granted to you.

Together this string is the format of the green card number. If the case number for the example above was 51423, the full green card number would read: NBC2004551423.

Looking at the sample card in the image, for the woman named Test V. Specimen, her green card number reads: SRC0000000001.

If you’re wondering about the rest of the numbers, the second line includes your birth date in year-month-date (YY/MM/DD) format, gender, expiration date of the card (YY/MM/DD), a country of birth and some space holders. The third line will contain your last name, first name, father’s first initial, mother’s first initial, and more space holders if needed.

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