What Documents Should I Carry to Prove Lawful Status?


Given the recent emphasis by the federal government on the enforcement of immigration laws, it is more essential than ever that individuals carry proper documentation of their lawful status, whether they are engaging in normal daily activities, traveling throughout the U.S., or traveling internationally. The necessary documentation will depend on the status of the individual in question and where he or she may potentially encounter law enforcement or immigration authorities.

Government Documents

What Documents Should I Carry to Prove Lawful Status?

Legal permanent residents must carry their permanent resident cards, or green cards, at all times, even within U.S. borders. Additionally, they should carry a state-issued ID card or driver’s license. When traveling outside the U.S. or returning to the U.S., these individuals also should carry their valid passport, along with their green card and state ID.

U.S. citizens should carry their valid U.S. passport when traveling in and out of the U.S. They also should strongly consider carrying their passport when traveling within 100 miles of a U.S. border, simply to facilitate any questions about their status. Naturalized citizens also may wish to carry a copy of their naturalization certificates as an added precaution, as well as their state-issued ID cards or driver’s licenses.

Foreign nationals who are in the U.S. on a temporary, non-immigrant basis, such as for work, schooling, or visiting, should carry their foreign passports that display an entry stamp admitting them into the U.S. Depending on the circumstances, they also should carry their I-94 record, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), or Form I-797 Approval Notice. These individuals also should carry a state-issued ID card or driver’s license with them.

Finally, recipients of DACA or TPS and individuals with pending VAWA, asylum, or U-visa applications should carry their valid passports and valid EAD cards, or any receipt notice that demonstrates that they have cases pending before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Peek Law Group dedicates a large part of its practice to helping both individuals and businesses resolve their immigration-related issues. Immigration law is a complex, ever-changing area of the law that necessitates legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers who keep up-to-date with all relevant changes in law and policy. We will work with you to achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled immigration attorneys today.

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