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Loss or theft of a green card: what to do in such a situation

A green card is proof of your right to live and work in the United States. So if you ever lose this document or get stolen from you, it will be extremely frustrating. What to do in such cases, the service told CitizenPath.

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Do not panic. You are not the first to lose your green card. Losing your ID does not mean that you have lost your permanent resident status. But the lack of a green card can be a serious problem when traveling, hiring, or other daily activities.

If your green card is lost or stolen in the United States

If you are in the United States and have lost your green card, then the process of replacing it is simple. You must file Form I-90, Application for Replacement Permanent Resident Card, as soon as possible. It can take more than six months to get a new document. This will create problems if you need to start a new job or travel abroad soon.

If you need to go abroad before receiving a new green card, then you can make an appointment with your local USCIS office. There, ask for the I-551 stamp in your passport. The stamp is a temporary proof of your permanent residence in the United States. Typically, a temporary seal is valid for one year. If you do not have a passport, try contacting your home country's consulate in the United States and apply for a passport.

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You can use the I-551 stamp for other purposes as well. The employee must present to his employer documents confirming his identity and work permit. The I-551 stamp is valid proof of permanent residence for employment purposes. An overseas passport containing an I-551 temporary stamp or an I-551 temporary stamp on a machine readable immigration visa (MRIV) is an acceptable document. Most states also require proof of permanent residence in order to obtain or renew a driver's license. While each state has its own requirements, most will accept an I-551 stamp as proof.

Important. Take Form I-797C Notice of Action to obtain a temporary seal. A Notice of Action is a letter of receipt confirming that you have correctly submitted Form I-90 to replace your green card. You will be given your Form I-797C approximately 2-3 weeks after you filed your I-90.

When a green card is lost or stolen outside the United States

If you are outside the United States, you can notify the police department of the jurisdiction in which your green card was stolen. More importantly, you will need to obtain a travel document to board a transport carrier if you are outside the United States and your green card is lost or stolen. To obtain a travel document, prepare Form I-131A, Travel Document Application, and submit it to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

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When you return to the United States, you must complete Form I-90, Application for Replacement Permanent Resident Card, to replace your missing green card.

If you have been outside the US for more than one year without a re-entry permit, then you need to contact an immigration attorney before attempting to re-enter the US. Permanent residents who travel abroad frequently or for extended periods should understand the difficulties that may arise when returning to the United States. In this case, you should apply for a re-entry permit.

If the green card is lost in the mail

It happens that USCIS sent you a green card, but you never received it. If it was lost in the mail, you need to apply for a replacement card using Form I-90. Depending on the circumstances, USCIS may replace it free of charge.

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If you have followed the delivery on the Internet, you can check status and find out when USCIS sent the card. Wait at least 30 days from the date of shipment. This waiting period allows sufficient time for the card to be mailed and returned to USCIS if delivery is not possible. Check your initial application and make sure you provide the correct mailing address. If your green card was lost in the mail, then USCIS will replace it free of charge if the situation is correct all following criteria:

  • USCIS mailed the card more than 30 days ago;
  • it was returned to USCIS as undeliverable;
  • you have not changed the address provided by USCIS.

Please confirm these facts before completing Form I-90. If your situation does not meet these criteria, then you will need to pay a full fee of $ 540 to replace the green card.

Appealing refusal

If USCIS denies your application for a green card replacement, its specialists will send you a letter explaining the reason for the denial. You cannot appeal a negative decision, but you have the right to file a request for reopening or a request for review with the same agency that made the original decision.

It is advisable to seek the help of an immigration attorney if USCIS rejects your application for a replacement green card.

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