If your green card is lost or stolen, it is important to replace it quickly.
Your green card, also known as a permanent resident card, is evidence of your status as a lawful permanent resident, as well as your authorization to live and work in the US permanently.
There are specific procedures to replace a lost or stolen green card, depending on whether you are currently inside or outside of the US.
Replacing a Lost Green Card In the US
If you are in the US when your green card is lost or stolen, you must obtain Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, for a replacement card.
In addition to submitting the form, you must also submit certain documents to confirm your identity as part of your application.
These documents may include:
- A photocopy of your previous green card, or
- A copy of your driver’s license, passport or birth certificate,
- Two passport-size photos, with your alien number written on the back of each photo.
Once you have completed the application, mail your entire application, along with a check or money order in the amount of $365 addressed to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. In addition to this fee, you will also be asked to pay a separate biometrics fee of $85. Once approved, USCIS will send you a replacement green card in the mail.
These fees are subject to change, so be sure to double-check this information at the time of filing.
Replacing a Lost Green Card Outside the US
If you are outside the US and your green card is stolen, you should immediately report the incident to the local police station and try to obtain a local police report.
If your green card was stolen or simply lost while you are abroad, you have two options for re-entering the US. If you have a valid Form I-327 (re-entry permit), you may travel with this document and do not need to obtain further documentation while abroad. If you do not have a re-entry permit, you must apply for a transportation letter at the nearest US embassy or consulate.
A transportation letter authorizes a carrier, such as an airline, to bring you to the US without penalty. To apply for a transportation letter, you must complete Form I-90 and have a valid passport to prove your identity.
As part of your application, you must provide the following:
- Evidence of your most recent date of departure from the US, such as your boarding passes from the airline,
- Evidence of lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, such as a photocopy of your green card,
- A detailed explanation about what happened to your green card, including any police reports you filed,
- Three identical passport-sized photographs of yourself, and
- A filing fee that can be paid in local currency.
It usually takes USCIS a few days to verify your identity and LPR status and issue a transportation letter. The transportation letter is valid for 15 days after it is issued. If you fail to travel within the 15-day period, you will have to start the application process all over again.
The easiest course of action: know where your green card is at all times! But if your green card is lost or stolen, get a replacement as soon as you can.