How Do I Replace a Lost, Stolen or Damaged Green Card?

Immigrant Permanent Residents Should File a Form I-90 for Replacements

A Green Card lying on an open passport
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If you need to replace your green card, you can apply for a new one by filing a Form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. You can file it either online or by carrier mail. The government lists these reasons as legitimate circumstances under which a green card can or should be replaced:

  • The card was lost, stolen, mutilated or destroyed. The government has replaced untold thousands of green cards that have gone through the laundry and come out in pieces.
  • The card was issued to you before you were 14 and you have reached your 14th birthday (unless your card expires before your 16th birthday).
  • You have been a commuter in the United States and now you are going to take up actual residence in the United States.
  • Or, you have been a permanent resident living in the United States and now you are going to take up commuter status.
  • Your status has been automatically changed to permanent resident status, and this would include Special Agricultural Worker applicants who are changing to permanent resident status.
  • You have a previous version of the alien registration card (e.g., USCIS Form AR-3, Form AR-103 or Form I-151 – all no longer valid to prove your immigration status) and must replace it with a current green card. This is a technical change that gradually will be phased out.
  • Your green card contains incorrect information. The government considers it very important that the card accurately captures your vital information.
  • Your name or other biographic information on the card has been legally changed since you last received your card...
  • Or, you never received the previous card that was issued to you by USCIS. The government wants to make sure that the information is current and accurate.

If your Form I-90 application for a replacement card is denied, the government will send you a letter that will tell you why it was rejected.

You will not be allowed to appeal a negative decision. However, you may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider and send it to the same government office that rejected your original request.

By filing the motion, you’re asking the government to take a second look at your case and reconsider it. A motion to reconsider has to present new facts to bolster your case and also must contain the evidence necessary to support those facts.

According to USCIS, “A motion to reconsider must establish that the decision to deny your application was based on incorrect application of law or immigration policy, and further establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence in the file at the time the decision was made.” UCIS has an excellent web page that explains this. You may want to consider hiring a qualified immigration attorney or paralegal to make your case to the government.

Be sure to check out the lawyer’s credentials carefully. The government warns immigrants that scammers and fraudulent service providers are active across the country and they often like to get involved in green card replacement matters. Contact the American Immigration Lawyers Association to find a qualified immigration attorney or a qualified paralegal who lives near you.

Of course, the best advise is to take care of your green card to protect your rights and make sure it doesn't get lost or stolen. But if it does, USCIS can help you get another one.