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Everything You Need to Know About a Lost or Stolen Green Card

Discover essential steps to replace your lost or stolen Green Card efficiently. Secure your permanent resident status and peace of mind today.

Author: Massiel Silva Tadeo, Founder, Tadeo & Silva

Attorney Massiel Silva Tadeo is a partner and owner at The Tadeo & Silva Law Firm. She specializes in removal (deportation) defense, family immigration, and hardship waivers. Updated on: July 01, 2022.

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What to Do if Your Green Card Is Lost

A Green Card is a permanent resident card given by USCIS as proof of permanent residence in the U.S.

Losing or misplacing your Green Card can be scary since it is tangible proof of your permanent resident status in the United States. It is important to get a new Green Card as soon as you can so that you can prove that you are legally living in the United States.

Replacing your Green Card should be your last option after thoroughly searching for the card. This is because the replacement process can take time and includes filing fees.

However, if you cannot find your Green Card after searching thoroughly for it, take action quickly to continue enjoying your residency and maintain your work status in the United States.

Green Card replacement may be necessary in a few situations besides the loss of the card. For example;

  • You got your Green Card before your 14th birthday, but now you’re 14.
  • You’ve been a visitor, but you now want to change to lawful permanent resident status.
  • You’ve got a previous alien registration number and need to replace it with the new permanent resident card because the version of Green Cards has changed.
  • There is incorrect information on your Green Card.
  • Your information has recently changed.
  • You haven’t received the previous Green Card given by the USCIS.

trustworthy immigration attorney can often make the replacement process easier for you. Our law firm can assist with this type of citizenship and immigration services.

The replacement process takes the following steps.


Filing a Police Report

The first step is to visit the local police station or make a call to write a statement. This helps curb any malicious activities that may be carried out using your identity and prevents you from being charged if there are any such actions.

The police department can provide you with a police report that gives the details about your lost Green Card.

How do I report a lost or stolen Green Card to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?

To report a lost or stolen Green Card to the USCIS, you must file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, online or by mail. This process is for requesting a replacement Green Card. If you’re outside the U.S. without a valid reentry permit and need to return, contact the nearest U.S. consulate for a boarding foil. 

Include details in your application, like your Alien Registration Card number and the expiration date of your unexpired Green Card. After submitting, you’ll receive a receipt notice. While waiting, you may obtain a temporary Green Card stamp for proof of permanent residency.

Collect Supporting Documentation

The second step is collecting the documents you need in order to request a replacement. For example, a passport photo, a copy of the Green Card, etc.


Contact Your Application Office

This third step requires contacting the U.S. Embassy, your local USCIS Office, or Consulate.

All of these government agencies will need you to provide certain information depending on their official regulations.

This process applies even if you have lost your Green Card while traveling abroad outside the United States. This streamlines your process and provides the same protection as in the U.S.


Apply to Replace Your Green Card

To replace a permanent resident card, you need to fill out Form I-90 and send the completed government form directly to USCIS.

The USCIS will look for errors and any missed information and then send you another letter explaining any additional information they need.


Form I-797C

After one to three weeks, USCIS mails Form I-797C as a notice of action to tell you that they have received your Green Card replacement application.

This form has two parts with multiple sections that need to be filled out.

Part One:

The first sections require personal information such as your alien registration number, address, name, gender, place, date of birth, etc.

Part two:

This section explains why you’re replacing your Green Card. For example, is it because it was stolen, lost, misplaced, issued but never received, or partially destroyed?

This section also includes the biometric procedure, which includes your fingerprints, background checks, and new photos.

You will also be interviewed about your recent criminal activities as they appear on your identification. If your request gets approved, you will get a notification, and the replaced Green Card will be mailed to you.

If you have difficulty understanding the process, you might consider hiring an experienced lawyer to assist with your Green Card replacement.

Requirements to Replace a Lost or Stolen Green Card

If your Green Card is lost while in the United States, you need to meet a few requirements to replace it.

The required documents include;

  • A note explaining how you lost your Green Card.

  • Green Card copies of government-issued IDs such as a driver’s license.

  • Two photos (passport-sized) with your alien number on the back

  • Copies of your approved application letters

  • Copies of any other legal identification you may use 

The U.S. Embassy or Consulate requires you to have a few documents so you can process your Green Card replacement form when you lose your Green Card outside the United States.

  • Form 1-131A

  • A stamped passport

  • Passport’s biographic copy

  • Travel document from the United States and intended date. For example, flight tickets.

  • Your photograph that’s been taken within 30 days of application submission.

  • Evidence of paying the I-131A filing fee. For example, the payment email.

Green Card lawyer can assist with the preparation of your application form for a smooth process.

Where to Report a Lost or Stolen Green Card

Where to report a lost or stolen Green Card depends on where your Green Card application got approved and where you’ve lost it.

When your Green Card gets lost while inside the United States, then you should report it to the nearest local police department or local USCIS office.

If you have been robbed and your Green Card was taken, call the police department immediately. Ask the police officer to note in their report that your card is among the stolen items. This report can help you prove your immigration status since you will not have a Green Card with you.

If your Green Card is lost outside the United States, you should also file a report with the nearest local authorities. Then, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or other government agency.

However, travel is still not allowed even after reporting your missing Green Card. Hence, you should try to obtain a Boarding Foil as temporary proof of being allowed to travel back to the U.S. without penalties.

How Long Does it Take to Replace a Lost or Stolen Green Card?

The replacement process can take a while, but generally, it takes about 10 to 13 months. The amount of time it takes can depend on ;

  • The USCIS office is responsible for your application processing.

  • How completely and accurately you fill out your application forms

  • When can you get the biometric portion of the application completed?

  • Whether all your supporting documents have been correctly submitted.

The biometrics fee is about $85, while the USCIS filing fee is about $365. Therefore, the total you pay to replace a Green Card is about $450.

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