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How to identify a visa number

Updated April 17, 2017

All temporary visitors to the United States are classified as nonimmigrants, meaning that they do not intend or are not authorised to permanently immigrate to the United States. Foreign nationals with this designation are assigned visa numbers, which are prominently displayed in red ink on their nonimmigrant visa stamps. The visa number is the only item on the visa stamp in red ink.

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  1. Open your passport. Flip to your current U.S. visa stamp page. The stamp will cover an entire passport page and usually sits on the page adjacent to the first U.S. entry stamp received after obtaining your visa.

  2. Turn your passport so that the visa stamp reads top to bottom and left to right. The visa stamp is written in English and includes biographical information.

  3. Look at the right side of your visa stamp. At the top of the visa is the control number, which is a long combination of letters and digits. Under that is the visa type, your nationality and visa issuance information. Below all of that information is a number printed in red ink. That is your visa number.

  4. Tip

    The visa number is not the same as the control number, although they may be used interchangeably on some immigration forms. Ignore the multiple numbers at the bottom of the visa. The visa number is found above these numbers and below the biographical information. It is printed in red. Visa numbers are requested on Form I-485, which serves as an application for green card status. The visa number is rarely requested for any other purpose.

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Things You'll Need

  • Passport
  • Visa Stamp

About the Author

J.M. Soden has been a freelance writer since 2005. He primarily writes sports articles but also enjoys writing about travel destinations, legal matters and electronics troubleshooting. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame in American studies.

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