How to Replace Your Green Card If It Was Lost or Stolen

Vivien Thuri
06.18.21
5 minute read

You’ve turned your whole house upside down and checked every last inch of the place - your green card is missing! But fear not - a lost green card is no reason to panic. If you’ve found yourself in this unlucky situation then read along and find out how to replace your green card.

Additionally, there are some fees involved in replacing your lost green card. If you don’t have a US bank account, then you might save money by enrolling with Wise.

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Table of Contents 📝

How to replace your green card

That spike in your heart rate when you lose your green card is both justified and unjustified. The green card replacement process is fairly straightforward - so a lost green card is certainly not the end of the world!

But it is important that you have it with you. In fact, you’re legally required to have your green card with you at all times.¹

What to do when you lose your green card depends on whether or not you’re inside the US at the time you lost it. Let’s take a look at these two different situations.


If you lost your green card in the US

If you’re currently in the US and wondering how to replace your lost green card, then you’ll be happy to know that it’s a simple process. Simply:

Fill out Form I-90 - the Application Form to Replace Permanent Resident Card

Form I-90 can be filed by mail or online. Once it's approved, you’ll be mailed your new green card by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).¹

Sign and submit Form I-90 with the supporting documents and pay the filing fee¹

The filing fee for Form I-90 is $455. But you will also need to complete a biometric test to replace your green card, which has a fee of $85. So your total cost will be $540.²

Two steps and you’ll be on your way to a new green card - real quick, right?

You can expect to get your new green card within 7 to 12 months after filing Form I-90.³ But it is always best to check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information. You can check the status of your green card using the USCIS tracking tool.

If this waiting time is too long for you and you need evidence of your permanent residency as soon as possible, then the USCIS may give you an “Alien Documentation, Identification and Telecommunications” (ADIT) stamp. This goes in your passport and serves as temporary evidence of your permanent residency until your green card arrives.²


If you lost your green card outside the US

If your dream vacation has been interrupted by a lost green card, don’t worry - you can still get back to the US. There’s just a few more steps involved. You’ll need to:

Contact the local police and report your stolen or lost green card⁴

Contact the nearest US embassy, US consulate or USCIS field office to notify them of your lost green card

File Form I-131A (“Application for Travel Document”) and pay the filing fee

Arrive back in the US

File Form I-90 and pay the filing fee⁵

Form I-131A allows you to travel back to the US without a green card. It prevents the airline or transportation carrier from being penalized when transporting you.

It costs $575 to file and must be completed in person at your nearest USCIS field office, US consulate or US embassy.⁵ When you apply to file Form I-131A, you’ll also need to bring with you:

  • Your original passport
  • A photocopy of your passport’s biographical page
  • A travel itinerary and evidence related to your trip outside of the US
  • Evidence of your lawful permanent residency
  • A passport-style photograph of yourself taken within the last 30 days, prior to the application⁵

After this has been approved, you’ll be able to travel back to the US without your green card. You’ll then need to immediately file Form I-90 once you’ve arrived there. Luckily, the remaining process will take the same time as if you’d lost your green card within the US.


If you want to replace your green card - because you never got it

If your application to become a permanent resident was approved but you never received your permanent resident card, you might be feeling a little left out. But not to worry - your situation is the simplest of them all!

To get your green card sent to you, all you’ll need to do is file Form I-90. But because you’re already owed a green card by the USCIS, you won’t have to pay a filing fee as long as you meet their fee exemption criteria.


What to do if the USCIS denies your green card replacement?

If you get the unfortunate news that the USCIS denied your application to replace your permanent resident card, don’t worry just yet.

While you can’t officially appeal the decision, you can submit a motion to either reopen your application or have it reconsidered.

  • If you want to reopen the case, you’ll need to provide new evidence to be included in your application.

  • If you want a reconsideration, you’ll need to prove that the USCIS applied US immigration law incorrectly to your application.¹

To learn more, visit the official USCIS Appeals and Motions page.


Green card replacement fees

Here’s a quick summary of all the green card replacement fees depending on your situation, so that you don’t get any nasty surprises!

Within the USOutside of the USWithin the US and never received a green card
Form I-131A N/A$575$0
Form I-90 $455$455$0
Biometrics $85$85$0
Total$540$1,115$0

As you can see, there are quite a few fees involved in the green card replacement process. If you don’t have a US bank account, you might end up spending a fair amount extra on exchange rate fees.

Wise can help you! Wise will exchange your money at the real, mid-market exchange rate. Yes the one you see on Google! Avoid unnecessary fees when sending money internationally.

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Overall, replacing your green card is easy but can cost you.

If you’re abroad, you’ve got two forms to file and pay. If you’re within the US, you’ve only got one. It's unfortunate that you lost your card - but you can spare on the replacement fees with the help of Wise.

Sources:

  1. USCIS - Replace your green card
  2. USCIS - I-90
  3. USCIS - Processing times
  4. Help.cbp.gov - Lost, stolen or expired green cards
  5. USCIS - I-131A

All sources checked on 10 June 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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