What do you do if you lose your green card? First, don’t panic. Your permanent resident status is still intact, and replacing your green card is a fairly simple process. However, there can be complications for a lost or stolen green card, including fines, jail time, and an inability to travel.
Using this guide, you can learn what to expect if you misplace your green card, as well as how to submit the proper forms for a replacement. Not only is it convenient to have documentation of your legal permanent resident status at all times, but it’s actually required by law!
What Happens if You Lose Your Green Card?
Losing your green card likely won’t have a direct impact on your daily life. While permanent residents are technically required to carry proof of their status, it’s rare that you’ll ever need to show someone your green card. That means you have time to get it replaced.
However, if you are planning on traveling abroad or applying for jobs, you will need proof of your permanent resident status. Regardless, you should start the process to replace your green card immediately, since having one in your possession is required by law.
Penalties for a Missing Green Card
Fortunately, losing track of your green card or having it stolen from you does not negate your legal permanent resident status. It also does not put you directly in line for removal or deportation.
However, there are some potential penalties you could face for failing to have your legal permanent resident card with you at all times, including:
- A misdemeanor charge
- Jail time for up to 30 days
- A fine of up to $100
While you don’t have to worry about losing your residency status, a misdemeanor on your record can have disastrous consequences for your future. It could hinder upcoming citizenship applications, for one. Also, you likely will not be able to travel without your green card.
How Do You Replace a Stolen or Lost Green Card?
Replacing a lost green card is a simple process. However, it is expensive and it can take time. To replace your green card, you will need to file the USCIS Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. The process can be done online or by mail. The filing fee is $455.
How Long Does It Take to Get a New Green Card?
It typically takes 5-6 months for an I-90 green card application to be processed. However, the processing time can change depending on where you file and the current USCIS backlog. You can check current processing times for I-90 green card applications on the USCIS website.
We offer easy-to-use solutions to help you file the application without the hassle of the USCIS site. Going through the government’s website can be cumbersome, time-consuming, and difficult to navigate.
Instead, use our Green Card renewal services to get a digital bundle of the appropriate forms, simple instructions, and software that checks for any errors that could delay your green card renewal application.
Steps to Replace Your Lost Green Card
When filing your form to replace a lost or stolen green card, keep the following tips in mind:
- Upload evidence: The system will walk you through exactly what is required. You may need to use a scanner or you can take a photo of the documents you need with your phone.
- Review your application and e-sign.
- Pay the application fee: For most applicants, it is $455.
- Review your appointment notice: Some applicants will need to attend a biometric services appointment (for fingerprints, signature, photograph). The USCIS will notify you about this online and by mail. Make sure your address is correct!
- Respond to requests for evidence: If you missed submitting any documents or if the USCIS wants any additional information for your application, they will notify you online and by mail.
- Check the status of your application: You can always check the status of your application online or by calling the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.
- Receive your green card! Once your application is approved, you will receive your new green card in the mail.
Here’s a brief video to explain the process:
Let FileRight Help You Replace Your Green Card
If you have lost your green card or are the victim of theft, let FileRight help you get a replacement. Our software checks for any errors in your paperwork cuts down on the tortuous confusion of government websites and offers simple, easy-to-handle instructions. Get our do-it-yourself software today to see why FileRight is the go-to choice for many.