What is the penalty of failure to carry alien registration card/green card and how serious is this issue?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What is the penalty of failure to carry alien registration card/green card and how serious is this issue?

I’m 18 years old, a college student and I was making a food delivery when I was given a violation ticket for not carrying my green card. I was unaware that I had to carry it around with me at all times. I told the officer that gave me the ticket that I never knew I had to carry it with me at all times like I always carry around my driver license. He said, he can’t just let me go because it’s a federal law violation. How serious is this? The penalty is supposed to be a $100

fee or up to 30 days in jail, or both. How is this going to affect my future or record?

Asked on June 13, 2016 under Immigration Law, Virginia


SB Member California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I would not worry about this too much.  If and when you are before a judge, you can explain that you were not aware of this requirement and that you wanted to ensure that this very important document is held in a safe place, similar to other documents.

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