As an immigrant living legally in the United States, your green card is a highly important document to always have in your presence. Your valid green card contains all the proof needed that you are living in the country legally and that you are allowed to work within the United States.
It’s no secret that your green card is of high importance; however, what happens in the case that you lose your green card? Needing to replace your green card is vital, and the steps you should follow are straightforward. In this article, we will explain in detail what to do if your green card gets misplaced or stolen and the steps you should follow whether you are in the country or outside of the country.
What To Do if Your Green Card Is Lost or Stolen
For those that lose their green card while inside the United States, there is paperwork that must be filled out completely and sent into USCIS as soon as possible. The steps that must be followed to get a replacement green card will be gone over in the next section.
On the other hand, if your green card is lost while outside of the United States, you will first need to get a valid travel document in order to board the flight or any other form of transportation. This document is known as Form I-131A, an application for a travel document, and can be done at the closest U.S. consulate or embassy.
However, before any of this is done, speaking with the local authorities is vital. This way, you will have proof that your green card has been lost or stolen and can report your lost green card. Additionally, speaking with a local embassy or consulate will be an imperative next step. Once this has been completed, you are then able to apply for a travel document, as stated above, in order to return back to the states.
When you safely return back to the country, you will then need to follow the necessary steps to get a green card replacement. This can be done by submitting Form I-90 and following the steps listed below.
What Are The Steps to Replace a Green Card?
The process of replacing a green card must be done as soon as possible. Listed below are some helpful steps and tips you can use to replace your green card.
How To Replace Your Lost Green Card Within the U.S.
If you are within the United States and happen to lose your green card or get it stolen, the process is straightway. The steps you should follow include the ones listed below:
- Fill out Form I-90: This green card replacement form can be done online or filled out in person at a local consulate and embassy. Remember, this form can only be filled out in the country, so if you have lost your green card while outside of the U.S., you will need to wait until you are in the country to file this form. Once you have completed it fully and truthfully, you can sign this form and submit it to USCIS.
- Collect any supporting documents: This is a crucial part of your green card replacement application. Gathering and submitting the requested information should be done while filing Form I-90.
- Pay the required filing fees: When you have fathered all the needed documentation, you can fully submit Form I-90 and the additional documents. You will then need to pay the filing fee.
How To Replace Your Lost Green Card From Outside the U.S.
As we mentioned above, you can only file Form I-90 while inside the United States. When you lose a green card abroad, you must report it lost. If you are wondering where to report your lost green card, the answer is as simple as speaking to the local police and contacting the U.S. embassy or consulate closest to you.
Following doing so, you can then apply online for a “boarding foil” pass. This pass is a document that will let officials know that you are legally allowed to enter the United States, even if you are unable to present your green card. Additionally, this travel document shows temporary proof of status, and can assist you in re-entering the U.S.
In many cases, you will need to pay an additional filing fee of $575 for this document, but it’s, unfortunately, the only way you are able to re-enter the U.S. If this is successfully done, and you are able to re-enter the country, you can follow the steps listed above and begin filling out Form I-90.
Before getting into travel outside the United States, green card holders must know the complete details about the travel outside the U.S. and then plan the trip duration accordingly.
Cost to Replace Your Lost Green Card
The price of replacing your green card costs around $455. In many cases, there is a necessary biometrics fee that is required, which comes out to about $85. It’s important to note that some will not be asked to attend a biometrics test, while others may not need to pay the main cost of replacement at all.
This will solely depend on your case. Additionally, if you are asked to submit Form I-131A, which is the form required to travel to the U.S. There is an additional filing fee of $575 that is mandatory to pay.
How Long Does it Take to Replace a Lost Green Card?
The average time it takes to process a green card can vary. In many cases, the process for a green card replacement can take over eight months. In all cases, it’s recommended to apply for a replacement green card as soon as you realize you have lost it.
This way, if your green card is close to expiring, you will be able to obtain the necessary proof of your green card.
Steps to Follow if Your Replacement Green Card Application Is Denied?
In the case where USCIS denies your green card, there are some courses of action you can take to change this outcome. When your green card replacement application is denied, you will receive a letter in the mail explaining the reasons for this decision.
When you read the reason for denial, you can then take action. If denied, it recommended you do these two things, which include:
- Filing a motion: Even though you are unable to appeal a decision, you can still submit a request to USCIS to reconsider their initial decision. The more supplemental documents and information you give them when you file this motion, the more likely USCIS is to overturn their decision. Be aware you must submit Form I-290B within 30 days of your denial and pay the required $675 filing fee.
- Seek legal assistance: You should seek legal advice as soon as possible when it comes to a green card replacement denial because of a complicated case. With the help of a skilled attorney, you will be able to speak with them about your rights and move forward with experienced support.
Can I Apply for Citizenship if I Lost My Green Card?
This question is a complicated one; however, the short answer is yes, you can apply for citizenship even if you have a lost green card. But, it’s important to note that it’s not recommended to do this.
When applying for naturalization, this process takes up to a year or more and requires you to have a valid green card.
Can I Travel Without My Green Card?
Yes, you are able to travel without your green card. Losing this card doesn’t permit you from traveling outside of the country because it only shows permanent residency and the ability to work legally in the country.
However, things may get complicated depending on the length of travel outside of the country and upon your return to the country only because you will need temporary proof of your green card.
Does My Employer Need to Know if I Lost My Green Card?
No, your employer does not need to be notified of your lost green card. Keep in mind that if you are needed to provide proof of your employment at any time, you will need to show your valid green card.
So, even though it’s not required of you to tell your employer that you have misplaced your green card, it is important that you file for a replacement card as soon as possible, just in case you need to present it as proof.
Can I Come Back to the U.S. if I Lost My Green Card?
As we stated in the questions above, things can get complicated if you are outside of the U.S. without a green card. Upon re-entering, there may be issues if asked to show your green card. This is likely the case if you have been outside of the country for more than a year.
If you were outside of the country for less than 365 days, you will simply need to request a boarding foil, also known as a travel document, in order to allow your return to the United States.
Don’t Waste Any More Time; Apply For Your Green Card Replacement ASAP!
When it comes to getting a green card replacement, it’s a very straightforward process, but it should be taken seriously. Because of the importance of a green card and the time it takes to get it replaced, it’s recommended that you take action quickly.
We understand that the immigration system is complex, and filling out applications can get complicated. This is why ImmigrationDirect has created a successful immigration solution software with Immigration Lawyer consultation that makes immigration paperwork easy. For more information about our services, contact us today and get started with your green card replacement application.