Lost, Stolen, or Destroyed Green Card? Here’s What to Do

Immigrant green cards

If a green card is stolen, lost, or damaged, it’s important to replace it as soon as possible. Without a physical green card, cardholders are unable to show proof of permanent residency or ability to work in the U.S. They will also need a green card to gain re-entry into the U.S. after traveling.

Immigrant green cards

The following are some steps to take to replace a green card and make sure the information it contains is protected.

Filing a Police Report

The first step to take if a green card is stolen, missing, or destroyed is to file a police report. Individuals will be able to use the police report as evidence as it can prove that the holder didn’t illegally sell the card. With the police report filed, cardholders can immediately begin the process of seeking a replacement.

Including New Names on the Replacement if Needed

If an individual is requesting a new green card under a new name, whether the new name resulted from a recent marriage, divorce, or legal name change, it’s important to include this new name on the replacement application.

Getting a Replacement Before the Expiration Date

Green cards are valid for 10 years after approval. To avoid issues when approaching the expiration date, it’s best to file for a replacement card within six months of the expiration. However, applicants will be unable to request a new green card any earlier.

Keeping a Virtual or Physical Image of the Card as a Copy

While cardholders can’t keep more than one copy of their green card, they can take a photo or scan the green card to maintain a copy of the information it contains. This ensures that if the card is lost, the cardholder will still be able to see the numbers and other details needed when requesting a replacement. Applicants will need to submit this copy with their replacement application.

Completing the I-90 Form

The I-90 form is what is used to apply for new and replacement green cards, along with name changes and renewals. Applicants can get this form via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), either by phone, from a local office, or through the USCIS website.

Once completed, applicants can submit the form electronically or by mail.

Taking the right steps immediately after a green card is stolen, lost, or damaged can prevent potential problems when living and working in the U.S.