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How to Renew a Missing Green Card

First of all, don’t panic. You can notify the police department in the jurisdiction where you lost your card to obtain a police report. If that doesn’t turn up anything, you simply have to renew your green card to get a new one. On the bright side, if you’re a permanent resident, your new green card will last for another 10 years, so you won’t have to renew it again for a long time. (If you have conditional permanent resident status, your green card is only valid for 2 years.) However, the process will take approximately 5 months, so there will be a period where you do not have a green card. Be aware that 5 months is an approximation, some cases will take more time to be resolve and some will take less.

How to Renew a Green Card

Follow the steps below to apply for your replacement green card:

1. Fill out Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

The Form I-90 is 7 pages long, and you may file it online or by mail. Carefully fill out the form with all the appropriate information. If you are worried about filling out the form out correctly or want the help of an immigration attorney, you can use SimpleCitizen to prepare your renewal application here. Either way, watch out for these three common mistakes:

  • Not submitting all required evidence (copies or uploads of official documents)
  • Not paying the fees (a $455 filing fee and a $85 biometrics services fee)
  • Not signing your application (or not e-signing it if you file online)

If any of these steps are skipped when submitting your application, your case will likely be denied. If you are financially unable to pay the fees, you may be eligible for a waiver. You may request to waiver them by filing Form I-912. Once USCIS receives your application, they will send a receipt notice of your Form I-90 by mail at the address you provided on your application. It will also be posted to your USCIS Online Account. You should expect to receive the receipt 2-3 weeks after filing. Once you’ve received the receipt, you can track the status of your application here.

2. Biometrics Appointment

About 3-5 weeks after filing Form I-90, you should receive a Form I-797C Notice with your biometrics appointment date and time. There will also be other instructions about the appointment. For example, you’ll be required to bring a photo ID, such as a passport or a driver’s license. Pay attention to the information, and do not miss your appointment if possible. You will not receive a green card without going to an appointment. At your biometric services appointment, which will be approximately 30 minutes long, the staff will take your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. For more about what happens at the biometrics appointment here.

3. Request for Additional Evidence (Only in Some Cases)

Sometimes USCIS will request additional information through a Form I-797E. If you receive this, simply mail the required evidence or upload it to your USCIS Online Account within the time period provided. In some cases, USCIS may request an interview with you as well.

4. Receive Your New Green Card

The USCIS will mail you another Form I-797 notifying you of their decision on your case. You’ll know whether you case was approved or denied. There will also be a copy of this notice in your USCIS Online Account. If your case was approved, you should receive your replacement green card soon after.

If You Need Proof of Residence Within the Next 5 Months

You may need proof of residence during the 5-month wait for your green card. If so, make an appointment with the local USCIS field office through InfoPass. At the appointment, request a “temporary proof of permanent resident” stamp or I-551 stamp in your passport. In general, the stamp will be valid for one year. If you don’t have a passport, you can try requesting one through the local consulate. (For example, if you are from Brazil, contact the Brazilian consulate in the U.S.) The I-551 stamp is valid proof of residence for traveling abroad. It is also an acceptable “List A” document for employment purposes. Most states also require proof of permanent residence to obtain or renew a driver’s license, and these states will usually accept the I-551 stamp as proof.

It’s important to know that you will need file your green card renewal application before your InfoPass appointment. At the appointment, you’ll need to show your Form I-797, Notice of Action for your temporary stamp. This is the receipt USCIS sends once they receive your Form I-90. As noted in the section above, you’ll generally get this form 2-3 weeks after your file Form I-90 by mail and in your online USCIS account.

If You Lose Your Green Card Outside the United States

It’s nerve-racking to lose your green card in general, but it feels much worse when you lose it while traveling abroad. There is a relatively simple process for you to obtain proper documentation to board your plane, train, etc. back to the United States, so don’t worry too much. You just need to obtain a travel document (also known as carrier documentation.) To obtain the documentation, file Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation) at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Note that the filing fee for this form is $575. Also, if you’ve been abroad for over a year, there may be additional complications.

Once you return to the United States, you will need to apply to replace your lost green card by filing Form I-90. Follow the steps in the “How to Renew a Green Card” section above.

Are you eligible to apply for renewal?

Are you currently living in the United States?

Have you lived in the US for more than 3 months?

Did you enter the United States with an active visa or green card?

Are you married to a US citizen?

What is your Gender?

Which of these options best describes your Green Card?

Did you obtain the Green Card through marriage?

Is your Green Card going to expire in the next 6 months?

Is your Green Card going to expire in the next 10 months?

What type of Green Card do you have?

What is your Green Card issue date?

What is your Green Card expire date?

What is your Green Card Category Code?

Do you have a Passport?

Do you have a Driver License?

Do you understand English and agree to review the entire application before signing and submitting to the USCIS?

Are you sure that you do not understand English or do not agree to review the entire application before signing and submitting to the USCIS?

Analyzing Eligibility

We're sorry.

You are probably not eligible to apply.

If you would like to apply for a Green Card, instead of a Renewal, we can help you.

Congratulations!

You are eligible to renew your Green Card online!


Helpful Links:

A Guide to Renewing Your Green Card

I lost my Green Card! How to Replace it

Updated on January 15, 2020

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