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What do I do if my Green Card was lost or stolen?

November 24th, 2009 by Romona Paden

Your Green Card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card, is an important document. Not only does it serve as evidence of your status as a legal immigrant in the United States, it is proof that you are eligible to live and work in the United States.  Without the card, it would be difficult for you to travel abroad or to prove your status as a legal immigrant.  Therefore, if your Green Card is lost or stolen, you should take steps to replace it immediately. Apply to Replace lost or stolen Green Card here.

First of all, in the event that your Green Card is lost or stolen, do not panic.  Get your thoughts in order and check around at possible places where you may have lost it.   If this proves unsuccessful or your Green Card was stolen, immediately report this to the USCIS.  And just as importantly, file a lost or stolen Green Card report with the police.  This will serve as an important record if someone attempts to fraudulently use your card.

 

Green Card Lost?  Learn How You Go About Replacing Your Green Card

The only way to replace a lost or stolen Green Card is to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.   In the meantime, if you need confirmation of your status so that you can work or travel, you can make an appointment with your local USCIS field office through Infopass to get a temporary I-551 stamp on your passport until your new card arrives.

If you are a conditional permanent resident who has a two-year green card and your Green Card was lost or stolen, then you should also file Form I-90.  But DO NOT use Form I-90 if your conditional resident status is about to expire. In that case, you are required to file a petition to remove those conditions within 90 days of your card expiring by filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.

What if you are outside the United States and your Green Card is lost or stolen?

If you are outside the U.S. and your Green Card is lost or stolen, contact the nearest U.S. consulate, USCIS office or port of entry before attempting to file a Form I-90. The filing instructions may be different for individuals who are outside the U.S. Appropriate directions can be obtained from a Consular Officer or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officer.

What if Green Card is lost in the mail?

If your Form I-90 application is approved, you will be mailed a replacement Green Card with a 10-year expiration date from the date it is issued. It is important to make sure that USCIS has your correct address, because it can be a big hassle to track down a Green Card that has been lost in the mail.

If your Green Card is lost in the mail, first check with the USCIS and see if it was returned as undeliverable.  If your Green Card was mailed to the address you provided in your application but it was not returned to the USCIS, you must pay the full fee for filing Form I-90.  On the other hand, if the undelivered Green Card was sent back to the USCIS, then the fee may be waived. Remember that the USCIS advises that you wait 30 days before assuming that your Green Card was lost in the mail. This is the amount of time that is required between mailing and returning your Green Card to the USCIS if it is undeliverable.

So remember, if your Green Card is lost or stolen, keep a cool head, immediately notify the USCIS and file a lost or stolen report with the police.  Then, file  green card renewal Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

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