Contact Email
Working Hours
Mon - Fri : 09:30-5:00 EST
Book Your Consultation

What to Do If You Lose Your Green Card

Receiving a green card is a significant milestone in an immigrant’s life. It represents a legal status in the United States as a permanent resident, affording a plethora of opportunities and rights. But what happens if that green card, your tangible proof of permanent residency, is lost or stolen? While the situation may seem fraught with anxiety initially, there’s a structured process in place to help you replace it efficiently. Here’s how to proceed with getting your green card back into your wallet safely and expediently.

USA Green Card

First Things First

If you’ve discovered that your green card is missing, the first step is to take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re not alone. Losing a green card is more common than one might realize, and there are established protocols to address the situation.

  1. Take inventory: Before you panic, retrace your steps and think of the last place you remember having your green card. It could be misplaced in your home, office, or a friend’s place. Searching thoroughly is the best initial action.
  2. Report the loss: In the unfortunate case where your green card is unsalvageable, you should report the loss to the appropriate authorities. This step is particularly crucial if you suspect theft. Contact your local USCIS office or the USCIS Contact Center.
  3. Consider contacting local law enforcement: If you are certain your green card was stolen, filing a police report can serve as an additional layer of protection. It helps create a legal record and may sometimes be required during the replacement process.

File Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

The next step is to file the Form I-90 promptly. This application is for permanent residents who need to replace a lost, stolen, or mutilated card. You can submit the form either online or by mail to USCIS. Here are the crucial details:

  1. Gather supporting documents: Before you start the application, ensure you have the necessary documents, including a copy of a government-issued ID, evidence of legal name change (if applicable), and recent photographs.
  2. Complete the application: The form I-90 will require you to input basic information, including your A-number, which is your Alien Registration Number, and the circumstances of the card loss, e.g., theft or destruction.
  3. Pay the fees: There are filing fees to submit with your application. USCIS typically doesn’t issue refunds, so it’s imperative to review the application carefully.

Prepare for Biometrics Appointment

Once you’ve filed the application, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will schedule a biometrics appointment. This step is necessary to:

  1. Verify your identity: Biometrics captures your fingerprints, photograph, and signature, ensuring they match your official records with USCIS.
  2. Facilitate the background check: USCIS runs security checks against federal databases to confirm your eligibility for a replacement card.

Your Checklist Before You Go

The biometrics appointment is a critical juncture, so make sure you’re all set:

  1. Review your USCIS appointment notice: Ensure you’ve checked the date, time, and location of your appointment.
  2. Prepare the required documents: Bring your appointment notice and your current form of photo identification to your appointment.
  3. Prioritize punctuality: Plan to arrive at the USCIS Application Support Center at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.

After Your Biometrics Appointment

Once the biometrics are complete, the USCIS will process your application and, assuming no hitches are found during their checks, will issue you a new green card.

  1. Be patient: Processing times vary, so checking the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information can manage your expectations.
  2. Keep copies of the card: When you receive your replacement green card, make multiple copies and store them in secure places. It’s wise to scan and save digital copies as well.

Remember These Final Tips

While waiting for your new green card:

  1. Monitor your status: Continue to track your case progress. USCIS may update you through your online account with them.
  2. Information remains key: If there are any changes in your address or immigration status, update USCIS immediately. Your green card must always have your current address.
  3. Act quickly: Act promptly to minimize any potential impact on your ability to travel or prove your residency status.

Remember, navigating the process of replacing a lost or stolen green card can seem complex, but with clear instructions and a methodical approach, it need not be overwhelming. You can restore your status and peace of mind with meticulous steps and assured patience. Rest assured, you will soon have your green card back where it belongs, in your pocket, and most importantly, at the heart of your American dream.

Related Posts