If you have permanent resident status, it’s critical that you keep your documentation with you. This document allows you to show that you’ve got the right to live and work in the United States. So what do you do if you lose it? In this post, we will discuss what you can do if you lose your green card and how to replace a lost green card. We will also cover the following:

  • The form needed to apply for a replacement card
  • Different ways to file the form and potential costs
  • How to prove your right to live and work in the United States in the meantime
  • What do to if you lose your green card while abroad

The Form I-90: Application To Replace Permanent Resident Card

Just as if you lost any other form of identification, you’ll need to start by filling out a form. This form is officially called the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Throughout this post, we’ll just call it the Form I-90. 

In order to request a new green card, you will have to provide identification. This helps prove that you aren’t trying to get a green card using fraud.

You will need to provide your: 

  • Alien Registration Number
  • USCIS Online Account Number, if you have one
  • Full name
  • Mailing address within the United States, and physical address, if different
  • Date and place of birth, as well as mother’s and father’s names
  • Class and date of admission to the United States
  • Photocopy of your green card or other government-issued form of ID with your name, date of birth, photograph, and signature

Always make copies of your immigration documents. This helps in the event that you lose one of these items. While these are not official documents, having copies will help prove that you are indeed the person who should be receiving the replacement. Keep a copy of your Form I-90 for your records. 

If you send documents by mail, always keep the original documents in your possession and send photocopies with your application unless otherwise specified.

How To File Form I-90: By Mail Or Online

As with many other government forms these days, you can file the Form I-90 online. In fact, the USCIS prefers that you use online filing.

If you’re able to do that, there are some perks available to you:

  • The form can be filed using different devices: use a computer, phone, or tablet
  • Keep easily up-to-date on your application
  • Get updates sent directly to you about your case
  • Send messages directly to the USCIS office if you have questions or concerns

Not everyone is comfortable with or has access to computers. In that case, you can work with an immigration attorney to help you through the process and ensure that you complete the online form correctly.

If you do want to file by mail, you’ll need to print the form, fill it out, and mail it with a check or money order to the following addresses:

Using the United States Postal Service (USPS)

Attn: I-90
P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036-1262

Using FedEx, UPS, DHL

Attn: I-90 (Box 21262)
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034-4850

What Are The Costs associated with replacing your green card?

The fee to file the form is currently $485. In addition, if you’re filing to replace your green card because it was lost or stolen, you will also need to pay the biometric services fee, which is $85. That is a total of $540.

The biometric services fee is for fingerprint services, and you may have to attend an appointment to have your fingerprints taken as part of your replacement process. 

The USCIS does offer fee waivers to some eligible green card holders, which can ease the burden for those who may be struggling to make ends meet. If you are applying for a fee waiver, you will send in the fee waiver application with your Form 1-90. If you need to request a fee waiver, you are required to file by mail.

Proving Your Immigration Status If You Lost Your Green Card

After you’ve sent off for a new green card, you will still need some documentation to show that you do have the right to live and work in the United States. This is crucial, since it can take quite a while for you to get your new green card.

Once you have filed your Form I-90, you will get a receipt. If you file online, you’ll see it in your USCIS Online Account.

If you file by mail, you can also send in the Form G-1145 with your application to receive an e-notification for your application. This isn’t approval of your request for a replacement green card – it just shows that the USCIS received your application. 

You receive the notification within 24 hours of the USCIS acknowledging they accepted your application.

If you don’t fill out this form, you will be mailed the Form I-797 in about two weeks that will contain your receipt.

Once you’ve got the receipt in one of these three ways, book an appointment with you local immigration field office by calling 1-800-375-5283.

At this appointment, be sure to bring: 

  • Your appointment confirmation
  • Your receipt 
  • Your unexpired passport
  • Copies of your green card 
  • Your arrival and departure documents 
  • Any other forms of identification

After you meet with an immigration officer, they put an I-551 stamp in your passport. This is called the Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunication (ADIT) stamp. This stamp lets you use your passport as your official documentation of your permanent resident status in the United States.

It will also allow you to travel abroad and gain re-entry into the United States.

What To Do If You Lose Your Green Card While Abroad

All of the steps above only apply if you’re in the United States when your green card is lost or stolen. If you are outside of the U.S., you need to follow additional steps.

First, you’ll need to file a report with the local police, even if your card has only been lost. Make sure that the police give you a copy of their report. 

Once you have the police report, go to the closest American Embassy or Consulate. Once there, you’ll work with an agent to prove your identity and explain the situation regarding your missing green card. At that point, the agent will provide you with a temporary stamp in your passport that will allow you to get back into the United States.

This temporary document is the Form I-131A, officially named the Application for a Travel Document. Filing this form will cost $575.

After you get back to the United States, you’ll need to immediately begin the process of filing the Form I-90 and getting the ADIT stamp in your passport.

FAQs For How To Replace A Lost Green Card

How Long Does It Take To Get My New Green Card?

Replacing a green card is a lengthy process. It can take between a few months and a year to get a card mailed to you, assuming that you fill out everything correctly. The USCIS provides an estimate of current wait times, which you can find on their website.Your ADIT stamp will protect you in the meantime, but it does mean you’ll need to carry your passport with you when you leave your residence.

Can My Form I-90 Application Be Denied?

Thousands of applications are denied each year, particularly those filed by mail. Paper applications are more likely to be denied since there isn’t a quick way to change the information that is incorrect. Online filing includes a series of application checks before submitting and decreases the likelihood that you’ll make mistakes. No matter how you file, working with an immigration attorney is a good step to ensure your documents don’t get denied.

How Can I Check My Green Card Status?

When filing by mail, you won’t receive updates in the same way you would with filing online. However, you can still check your status online using your receipt number. 
  • Go to the Case Status Online tool
  • Input your 13-digit receipt number without the dashes
  • See the last action taken and any next steps
If you still need help, call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.

Conclusion For How To Replace A Lost Green Card

Losing your green card can be stressful, but it’s important to know that you have a roadmap to follow. You’ll need to fill out the Form I-90, pay the fee online or with a check or money order if you’re mailing your application, make an appointment for a temporary stamp, and then wait to get your new green card.

If you’re outside of the U.S. when you lose it, you’ll need to file a police report and go to the American embassy or consulate to get a temporary document allowing you back into the United States. Once you’re back, follow those same steps.

You can receive notifications about your application by using the online tool or also submitting a Form G-1145 to get e-notifications with your mailed application packet. 

You can also apply for a fee waiver with your application, but you will have to file by mail in that case. 

Regardless of how you file, you can check your status online through the USCIS website.