The former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), now the DHS, issued Form
I-151 (Alien Registration Receipt Card), commonly called a “green card,” to aliens
from July 1946 through late 1978. The form is no longer valid evidence for enumeration
purposes and INS replaced it with Form I-551 (Permanent Resident Card).
The I-151 lacked security features and presented more opportunities for alteration
and fraud than other immigration documents.
From 1992 through 1996, INS conducted a “Green Card Replacement” project to replace
the I-151 cards in circulation. Some applicants (e.g., homebound elderly or nursing
home residents) may have been unable to replace their old I-151 cards. Although the
card is not a valid immigration document, the person may still retain lawful permanent
resident status with DHS.