New Design for Green Cards and Employment Authorization Documents On Its Way

Apr 24 2017 - Hiring - Gail Cecchettini Whaley

Permanent Resident Cards, known as green cards, are getting redesigned to enhance document security.

Permanent Resident Cards, known as green cards, are getting redesigned to enhance document security.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) redesigned the Permanent Resident Card, known as a “green card,” and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The USCIS will begin issuing the new cards on May 1, 2017. However, both the existing and the new green cards and EADs will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.

All employers must verify a new hire’s eligibility to work in the United States, including reviewing the employee’s documentation showing identity and eligibility to work. Employers must accept documents that appear to be genuine on their face, so it’s important for an employer to know whether the document shown is real or fake.

According to the USCIS, the redesign is meant to guard against document tampering and fraud through use of enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features.

The new card designs are also part of an ongoing effort between the USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting and fraud.

The following information is from the USCIS:

Redesigned Cards

The new green cards and EADs 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; and
    • EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette.
  • Use embedded holographic images; and
  • No longer display the individual’s signature.

Also, green cards will no longer feature an optical stripe on the back.

How to Tell If A Card Is Valid

Some green cards and EADs issued after May 1, 2017, may still display the existing design format as the USCIS will continue using existing card stock until current supplies are depleted. Both the existing and the new green cards and EADs will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.

Certain EADs held by individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and other designated categories have been automatically extended beyond the expiration date on the card. Please visit Temporary Protected Status and American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act for additional information on which EADs are covered.

Both versions are acceptable for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification and E-Verify. Some older green cards do not have an expiration date; these cards remain valid. Individuals who have green cards without an expiration date may want to consider applying for a replacement card bearing an expiration date. Obtaining the replacement card will reduce the likelihood of fraud or tampering if the card is ever lost or stolen.

More information can be found on the USCIS website.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

CalChamber members can read more about Completing the Form I-9 in the HR Library. Not a member? Learn more about what HRCalifornia can do for you.

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