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In immigration terms, an alien generally refers to an individual who is not a citizen of the country that she is in. An alien registration card is a document that identifies such individuals. In some cases, these documents are only issued to people with a certain immigration status, such as permanent residents. In other instances, however, the card can be issued to various types of aliens.
Although the terms of qualifying for an alien registration card can vary from one country to another, there are some characteristics these documents generally have in common. Most modern alien registration cards are similar in size to a credit card and effort is made to reduce the possibility of fraud. They are usually issued by immigration authorities. Holders of such cards are generally required to carry them at all times. There are also usually grounds which allow a person’s alien registration card to be revoked.
In the United States (US), an alien registration card is sometimes referred to as a permanent resident card. This plastic, machine-readable document is issued to people from other countries who have been granted certain privileges. When a person has an alien registration card, she is permitted to be a permanent part of society in the US. She can live within the US territory and she can legally gain employment. This document does not, however, grant a person United States citizenship.
A qualified person can obtain her alien registration card from United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The document she receives should include a photograph and name her as the owner. It will also include other information, such as the date that she acquired permanent residency and the authority that issued the document.
Such documents are not exclusive to the US. The Philippines also issues such cards, which are formally known as Alien Certificates of Registration or ARC I-Cards. In the Philippines, the card has an imbedded computer chip and digitalized fingerprint images. The owner of the card is also identified with a tamper-proof photograph. There is a wide range of information displayed on the card, including demographics such as name, place of birth, and country of citizenship.
There is a major difference between the alien registration cards issued in the Philippines and those issued in the US. An ARC I-Card is not restricted to permanent residents. The card can be issued to people with other immigrations statuses. The card communicates which status a person has.