What to Do if Your Green Card Is Lost or Stolen

By Julia at Legal Language
Posted on 08/12/2011
In Immigration, Maintaining Status

sample green cardIf 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.

25 Responses to “What to Do if Your Green Card Is Lost or Stolen”

  1. Immigration Says:

    Losing your green card is the worst thing to happen. Therefore, once your green card is lost, just keep a cool head, notify immediately the USCIS to avoid any further problem and file a lost or stolen report with the police. Then, file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card if you are not a conditional permanent resident.

  2. Aderounmu Adetokunbo Says:

    To file form I -90 one requires his/her alien number, what should one do if the number is not known or stored in any retrievable form before the green card got lost/stolen?

  3. Kaytie at Legal Language Says:

    Hi Aderounmu,

    Thanks for reading! I would suggest that you call USCIS, and they should be able to help you.

    Good Luck!
    Kaytie at Legal Language

  4. Rashda Says:

    I lost my GC while i am not in usa.
    I want to travel back in june.
    I wanted to know what is the safe time to apply for a travel document back to USA?

  5. Kaytie at Legal Language Says:

    Hello Rashda,

    Since you are not in the US at the moment, you may need to get a transportation letter from the nearest US embassy or consulate. Once issued, the letter will only be valid for 15 days. It would be best to call the nearest US consulate and ask them for an up to date time frame for having a transportation letter issued.

    Good Luck!

    Kaytie at Legal Language

  6. Tony Yee Says:

    To Legal Language:

    My Mother-in-law lost her Green Card and did not made a copy and don’t have the A-number.

    How can she get the lost green card replaced?



  7. Kaytie at Legal Language Says:

    Hi Tony,

    As stated above, you should be able to send a copy of the green card OR a copy of her license, passport or birth certificate. You can obtain Form I-90 here.

    Good luck,
    Kaytie at Legal Language

  8. ttaimur Says:

    my wife lost the card 20 years ago……she has visited the usa on visa…can she apply and get her green card ?

  9. Kaytie at Legal Language Says:

    Hello Taimur,

    As every case varies, Legal Language cannot offer specific immigration advice online. Please consult an immigration attorney or contact USCIS.

    Good Luck,
    Kaytie at Legal Langauge

  10. Ania Sanchez Says:

    my green card was stolen. the police give a card report. i would like to know if i have to paid to replaced it, and how much i have to pay.

  11. liana Says:

    My mom is 80.she lost her greencard and can not travel to ins office due to health issues for fingerpriints,its too far away. What are our options?

  12. Hussenia Says:

    My husbands conditional greencard is lost but it was going to expire. What should I do?

  13. Leo Cabrera Says:

    I’m inside the u.s and I lost my green card here but I don’t know if I should report it to the police, should I go and report it?

  14. alba Says:

    My gc got stolen and I don’t know what to do im in the process of my citizen got the application done so im just waiting for my appointment do I still need my GC? help PLEASE

  15. Felina Says:

    Hi. I just got in the U.S last year, got my green card but someone stole my wallet that was in the van this morning at 4am. My question is “do I have to pay to replace mt GC?”

  16. Jennifer Says:

    if my permanet resident card was stolen do i have to report it to the police o to the USCIS?

  17. Kent Forsberg Says:

    My husband lost his green card we are suppose to go back to U.S.A tomorrow from Mexico. He do have his passport, driverslicence, what should we do? Please help.

  18. belkalem ahcene Says:

    I’m inside the u.s and I lost my green card here but I don’t know if I should report it to the police, should I go and report it?

  19. LUKAS Says:

    I lost my Green Card how can I get a form I-90? online or buy mail? how long that can take to get a new one?

  20. Xiaochun Huang Says:

    My mom lost her Green Card in the US, what else should she do besides fill out the form I-90?

  21. Rosa Says:

    Hi i lost my green card
    I read all the information but how long will usually take after do all the steps above?
    Im in the USA

  22. Farahnaz Samad Ali Says:

    Dear Respected!
    I have a problem losing my green card since 2005 up to now 2015 in Kabul Afghanistan i have call to Kabul US embassy they don’t response to me what should i do now i want to get back to USA. I tried since 2005 came to Kabul till 2015 and i didn’t get any response. Please help me and guide me about this problem.

  23. Sammy Yang Says:

    Hi everyone,

    Friday June 12 2015 my wife went shopping and she has lost her purse so all her important ID, such as Green Card, driver license and social security were all gone. We didn’t make any copy of any of those ID so now we don’t remember at all. What can I do to get the new IDs again? If anybody has any idea to help me then please let me know. Thanks.

    Sammy Yang

  24. Bianca Says:

    Hi! I just recently lost my greencard and I need it for travel outside the US in the next 3 weeks, I read that it takes 6 months to receive a new one, is it possible to have it expedited? Also I dont know my alien number… is there any way of retrieving that? Thanks!

  25. Chris Says:

    I lost my greencard inside the US around december 2013. I made a police report, but I never had it replaced. I left the US around april of 2015 due to a family emergency. I am still out of the country, and havent had the chance to go to the embassy since my wallet, containing my id’s and money was stolen. What are my options?

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