I Lost My Green Card: How do I Replace It?

Help! I lost my Green Card! As a permanent resident of the United States, your green card is an essential that you must carry with you everywhere. After all, this is evidence of your status as a permanent resident as well as proof that you’re living and working in the United States legally.

This means that when your Green Card is missing, stolen, or lost; the first step is usually panic. But you shouldn’t panic. Instead, you should follow the series of steps necessary to replace your card as quickly as possible.

Not sure how to file for and receive your replacement green card? Not a problem because below you will find everything you need to understand and follow the replacement process to get your green card back.

I lost my green card!

The Green Card Replacement Process: 4 Steps You Need to Take

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Before you begin the replacement process, it’s important to search everywhere imaginable for your green card. After all, the process is neither free nor quick. This means that if you could spend just an hour or two searching for it, you should.

If you can’t find it, it’s best to begin this process as quickly as possible. Doing so will ensure that you receive your new green card and are able to carry it once again for proof of your legal residency and work status.

Step 1: File a Police Report

Prior to actually beginning the replacement process, it’s important to report that you lost your green card. Doing so will ensure that no other individual will be able to use the card for illegal purposes and means you won’t be responsible for anyone who tries to.

You should visit your local police station, or call over the phone if you prefer, to file a police report with your local police department. Many police departments will require you to provide copies of the missing documents along with other supporting documents containing additional information of your green card.

Some choose to skip this step, but you shouldn’t. In fact, a police report is often required as you complete the process to replace your green card. As such, it’s vital to take just an hour to file your own police report.

Step 2: Collect Supporting Documentation

As you prepare to apply for your new green card, it’s important to collect supporting documentation. This documentation will be necessary at different points of the application process, so gathering it early will only make it simpler as you move forward.

A few examples of documentation you should put together include:

  • A written account of how your green card was lost or stolen;
  • Copies of your green card or copies of your driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate;
  • Two passport-sized photos, each with your alien number written on the back;
  • Copies of your approved application letter; and
  • Copies of other forms of legal identification that you use.

By doing this early in the process, you won’t have to waste time later on compiling the documents you need. This can make the process much quicker (not to mention easier for you).

Step 3: Contact the U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or USCIS Office Where You First Applied for Your Green Card

While it’s essential to notify your local police of your missing green card, it’s also important to notify the embassy, consulate, or USCIS office where you first applied for your green card and/or received your immigration visa.

Once you’ve contacted the office, you will need to provide specific information regarding where you applied or the approval of your Form I-90 application.

If you’re outside of the United States when you lose your green card, you should immediately contact the U.S. embassy, consulate, or USCIS office in your area. This will streamline the entire process and provide the same protective measures as notifying your local police if you’re in the U.S. when you lose your green card.

Step 4: Applying to Replace Your Permanent Resident Card

Once your police report is filed, you’ve prepared all necessary documents, and notified the embassy, consulate, or USCIS office you’re finally ready to take the most important step: Actually replacing your green card!

You will replace your green card with Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. As a legal permanent resident, there are only two parts of the form you must fill out, each with multiple sections:

Part 1:

Information About You – The first few sections require personal information such as your alien registration number, name, address, gender, date and place of birth, and information about your mother and father.

Part 2:

Type of Application – You will select why you’re applying and indicate that your card is lost, stolen, or destroyed, issued but never received, or mutilated (i.e. partially destroyed).

For most applicants, the form costs $365 to file. This doesn’t include the necessary biometric service fee of $85 so you will pay $450 in total to replace your green card. The biometric service fee is required when you appear in person to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature to confirm your identity. During this interview, you may also be asked questions about your criminal records or other identification-related matters. The interview is scheduled once your application has been received at a designated USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) in your area.

Processing Your Application: What to Expect

Once you’ve submitted your application, the appropriate authorities will review your request. During this review process, you may be contacted to provide additional information – such as biometrics, an additional interview, or original documents of copies you’ve provided – for approval.

Once your application has been approved, you will receive your new green card in the mail. If for any reason your application is denied, you will receive the reason for denial in the mail.

Should your application be denied, you cannot take steps to appeal the decision. Your only option is to submit a motion to reopen the application to have your case reconsidered.

If you choose to submit a motion, you must do so and establish that the decision to deny your application was due to the incorrect application of law or immigration policy. Further, you must establish what new facts (i.e. information) you would provide if your case is reopened and what document-based evidence you can offer to support your motion.

Appeals and motions can be a confusing topic, especially because many individuals have never dealt with legal documents like these before. To learn more about both, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for their “Questions and Answers” section on Appeals and Motions.

At SimpleCitizen, We Believe Immigration-Related Issues Should be Simple

The team at SimpleCitizen strongly believes that the immigration process should be simple for all individuals. As such, we hope that you’ve found this article helpful regarding what to do should you lose your green card or if it is stolen.

If you have any questions, please reach out to a member of our team for the assistance you need. We look forward to supporting you with the information and other resources you require for all of your immigration needs!

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Want to Learn More?

Are you looking to learn more about your options or steps to take when you lose your green card? Check out the helpful links below to learn more:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Questions and Answers on Appeals and Motions

Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card


SimpleCitizen Community Center

Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

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