A permanent resident card or “green card,” is proof that you are legally allowed to live and work in the United States. Therefore, it is crucial not to lose it.
Aside from the loss of a card, there are many reasons why you may need to replace the card.
When is it Time to Replace Your Green Card?
You need to Replace Resident Card upon:
- The card is only valid for ten years. If it is expiring in six months or has already expired, you need to apply for renewal. If the green card was released before you reach the age of 14 years old and has expired once you turned 16, you also need to renew the card.
- Loss, theft, or damage to the card.
- Issuance with incorrect data. There may be cases wherein due to USCIS administrative error, the embossed data like your name, birth date, and issuance date may be wrong.
- Legal changes in biographic information. Changes in the legal name may be due to marriage or adoption. Likewise, if other information was legally changed, replace the card.
- Missing expiration date. The expiration date may be missing in green cards issued from 1979 to 1989, primarily if issued to children who are not recognizable from the photo.
- Change in commuter status. If you reside in Canada or Mexico yet commute regularly to work in the United States (or vice versa), your green card indicates your commuter status. For any changes in commuter status, the green card needs replacement.
- The card follows an outdated version
If you never received your original green card in the first place, follow the same replacement process.
What Documents Do I Need to Prepare?
You will need forms i-90, or the “Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.” It can filled-up online or on paper.
Together with the form, you will need to attach documents. Depending on the reason to Replace the Resident Card, you will have to provide evidence. In case of incorrect data, for example, you need to show proof of your correct biographical data.
You also need to pay the filing fees and biometric service fees. The prices will depend on the reason for the application.
What Should I Do if My Green Card was Stolen or Lost Outside the U.S.?
You need to get a police report and apply for carrier documentation, also called a “boarding foil” at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The transport carrier will require the carrier document as proof that you are allowed to travel to the U.S.
When you are back in the U.S, proceed to file Form I-90 to Replace the Resident Card.
How Long Does it take to Replace the Green Card?
It will take an average of six months before you can receive your new green card. However, the processing times may vary depending on the case. Visit the USCIS website for details.
If you need to start working or travel overseas before you receive the replacement card, your passport needs stamping with temporary proof of your permanent residence.
Can my Request be Rejected?
If USCIS denies your request for a replacement, you will receive a letter explaining the reason for denial. You cannot appeal. Instead, you may file a motion for reconsideration.
Replacing the green card can neither be fast nor inexpensive. Therefore, always keep your green card in a secure place. Also, keep a scanned copy or captured image of the card. Your application for replacement will need this as a reference.