USCIS gets new cards

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bureau officials are issuing a new, more secure version of an employment card to foreign workers as proof of their eligibility.

The new Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) card will feature a magnetic strip, 2-D barcode and several other features that can be used in forensic examination to determine its authenticity. The card should be available by June.

Current EAD cards have security features, but technology has now advanced to the point where newer devices can provide more enhanced features to better protect a person's identification and reduce counterfeit cards, said Chris Bentley, a USCIS spokesman. But the main reason for issuing a new EAD card is because the card stock for the old one ran out, he said.

"We diligently used that resource as much as we possibly could because we didn't want to waste it and we were left with the decision" of where to go now, he said.

Bentley would not elaborate on the card's security features. The reason they don't talk about, he said, is because "we don't want people to duplicate them or look for them and the vast number of techniques and strategies we use," he said.

An EAD card is usually valid for one year and typically produced within three days after an application has been approved and processed. About 24,000 cards are issued per week.

The new card will also eliminate references to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was broken up into three bureaus — USCIS, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement — within the Homeland Security Department.

Bentley said it's not the first time they've enhanced security features in identification cards issued by the bureau, adding that it's been a continuing process.

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