Responses to Information Requests

​​Responses to Information Requests (RIR) are research reports on country conditions. They are requested by IRB decision makers.

The database contains a seven-year archive of English and French RIR. Earlier RIR may be found on the European Country of Origin Information Network website​.

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10 February 2017


United States: Information on the meaning of "Alien Registration Card/Permanent Resident Card Prior to 1998," including any associated status or documentation, including Temporary Protected Status (2015-February 2017)

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, an official with the US Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency indicated, regarding the meaning of Alien Registration Card/Permanent Resident Card Prior to 1998 when inquiring into an individual's status, that "[t]he individual would not necessarily have a green card or permanent resident status" (US 3 Feb. 2017). Citing information provided by a US Citizenship and Immigration Services employee working on biometrics issues at the Fraud Detection and National Security unit in Washington, D.C., the official further explained that "without a specific record identifier, such as an alien number or name, [one] is unable to decipher the meaning of the quoted information" (ibid.). According to the official,

while a straightforward reading makes it appear as though the individual was issued a permanent resident card before 1998, it is unclear why the record distinguishes the card issuance as “prior to 1998” and if the time period is material.  In addition, assuming this means the individual received U.S. lawful permanent resident status in 1998, it does not mean that the individual has maintained this status and currently has U.S. lawful permanent resident status. (ibid.)

Further and corroborating information on the meaning of Alien Registration Card/Permanent Resident Card Prior to 1998 could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Concerning whether an individual with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) would have permanent residence status, the official explained that

[t]he individual would not be given permanent resident status by virtue of their TPS status, but they would receive documentation to show their TPS status.  Applicants do not receive permanent resident status or a green card by virtue of having been granted TPS, because TPS is by its definition temporary.  It is not an avenue by which individuals may later become eligible to “adjust” to permanent resident status, though they may later become eligible to apply for permanent resident status under other sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as beneficiaries of a family or employer petition, for example.  Evidence of having been granted TPS status includes, but is not limited to[:]

  • a USCIS-issued TPS approval letter (also called a “registration document”);
  • a Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review order or decision granting TPS, issued either by the Board of Immigration Appeals or an immigration judge;
  • an employment authorization document (EAD, also called work-authorization card or work permit), annotated with “A-12” (approved) or “C-19” (applicants) as the category and with an expiration date consistent with the Federal Register notice announcing TPS.  The EAD annotation codes refer to the specific subsection of Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations section 274a.12, under which the applicant qualifies for employment authorization; or
  • a travel authorization document (Form I-512), with an annotation of “TPS.” (ibid.)

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


United States (US). 3 February 2017. Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency. Correspondence from an Official to the Research Directorate.

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Jane's Intelligence Review; United Nations – Refworld; United States – Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, Library of Congress.