How to Replace a Green Card That's Been Lost, Stolen or Damaged
As a lawful permanent resident living in the United States, the green card you receive signifies your ability to permanently live and work anywhere in the country.
If your green card, aka permanent resident card, is lost, stolen, or damaged, there is no doubt that you want to replace this critical document that represents your freedoms in the United States.
Aside from those reasons, there are other circumstances that require you to replace your green card. Let’s explore how, and when, to replace your permanent resident card.
How To Get A New Green Card If Yours Is Lost, Stolen Or Damaged
To begin the process of replacing your lost, damaged or stolen green card, you must file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This applies to both lawful permanent residents (LPRs) and conditional permanent residents.
You can file by mail or online. It may take several months to process your application, but once it’s approved you will be issued a replacement green card (permanent resident card).
If your card has been stolen, you should report it to authorities as soon as possible, and include a copy of the police report when you file Form I-90 to have the card replaced.
When you file Form I-90, some of the required documentation that you’ll need to provide to USCIS may include:
- A copy of your driver’s license, or
- A copy of your passport’s identification page, or
- A copy of another kind of government-issued photo ID
- A photocopy (front and back) of your lost or stolen green card—if possible
To ensure that your submission to USCIS is complete, it may be wise to speak with an immigration attorney. A skilled attorney can ensure that your documentation is accurate and thorough, which can help you avoid delays due to information that is missing or unclear.
What Other Times Should You Replace Your Green Card?
Aside from your green card being lost, stolen or damaged, other times when your green card must be replaced are when:
- Your name has changed.
- Your card has information that’s inaccurate.
- You didn’t get the previous green card USCIS sent you.
Other instances when you should replace your green card (excluding conditional green cards) are when:
- You have been an LPR living in the U.S., and you become a “commuter” (which means you live in Mexico or Canada and work in the United States)
- You have been a commuter and you now live in the U.S.
- You received a green card before age 14, and you’re now turning 14 (when adolescent LPRs turn 14 years old they’re required to get a new green card).
What If You Need Evidence Of Your Permanent Resident Status While You Wait For Your Replacement Green Card?
After you file Form I-90 to get a replacement green card, you may have to wait as long as six months, or more, while your application is processed before you get a new card. In the meantime, to have evidence of your status as an LPR, you can get an Alien Documentation, Identification and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp—which is also known as an “I-551 stamp”—after you file Form I-90. The “I-551 stamp” represents Form I-551, which identifies the Permanent Resident Card, or green card.
The ADIT stamp is marked inside of your passport and it’s basically your temporary green card. The stamp is:
- Proof of your status as a lawful permanent resident
- A valid I-9 document for employment
- Permission for you to travel outside the U.S. and reenter the country
- Valid for one year
The I-551 stamp lets immigration officials in the U.S. know that it's okay to let you in without a physical green card.
How Can You Get An ADIT Stamp?
To get an ADIT stamp you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 and speak to a representative to schedule an appointment at a USCIS field office closest to you. The representative can tell you what documents you’ll need to bring. The paperwork may include:
- The receipt notice sent to you after filing Form I-90 (the receipt notice is: Form I-797, Notice of Action)
- Your unexpired passport
- Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
- A front and back copy of your lost or stolen green card (if feasible)
If you have a pressing need to travel outside the U.S., think about bringing documents to your appointment for the ADIT stamp that demonstrate the urgent nature of your travel. These documents might be the health records of a sick relative, business correspondence, airline tickets, or a travel itinerary.
Your approved ADIT stamp may be imprinted in your passport, or stamped on your Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
What Happens If Your Green Card Is Lost Or Stolen When You're Outside The U.S.?
If you lose your green card or it gets stolen while you're outside the U.S., you'll need to follow a different process. If you're outside the U.S. when your green card is lost, stolen or damaged, you'll need to replace it through a U.S. consulate or embassy. The process is similar to applying for a new green card, but you'll need to schedule an appointment and appear in person at the consulate or embassy.
When you arrive in the United States on your return trip, you must file Form I-90 to replace your permanent resident card.
How Much Does It Cost To Get A New Green Card?
There is a $455 filing fee for Form I-90. Since USCIS modifies its fees sometimes, you can check the USCIS fee calculator tool. In addition to your form filing fee, you may also have to pay an $85 biometrics fee.
Do You Need To Replace Your Green Card Every 10 Years?
Not everyone needs to replace a green card every 10 years. If you have a green card that doesn't have an expiration date, it's valid for 10 years. If you have a green card with an expiration date, it's only valid for the duration of time specified on the card.
What If Your Application For A Replacement Green Card Gets Denied?
Some applicants for a replacement green card may falsify information on their application, or they may have a pending order for deportation. In such cases USCIS denies green card replacement applications. However, a vast majority of people do not engage in those activities.
Do You Need To Talk To An Attorney About A Lost, Stolen Or Damaged Green Card?
We can take the stress out of filling out and filing forms with USCIS; we may be able to help you get a new copy of your green card. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.