A green card, also called a Permanent Resident Card, provides evidence of your legal stay in the U.S. The card gives you the right to legally live and work in the U.S. In addition, the card provides evidence that you have complied with the immigration requirements of the U.S.

You need to have the green card with you to enter the U.S. Without the card you may encounter problems when trying to re-enter the United States.

Note that it is a best practice to make sure that your green card does not expire during your travels. If at all possible, you should file for a renewal in time to receive your new green card before you leave the United States.

The information contained herein will help you in case you have lost the green card while traveling abroad.

How to Recover Lost or Stolen Green Card While Abroad

As mentioned earlier, you need to have physical possession of the green card to allowed entry in the U.S. In case your green card is lost or stolen while in foreign land (including your own native country), you must take the following steps to enter the U.S.

Visit the nearest embassy or consulate and apply for a “transportation letter“.

The transportation letter authorizes the airline carrier to transport you to the U.S. without having to pay any fine. The transportation letter is valid for 15 days after the date of issue. To apply for the transportation letter, you must have to submit the following documents:

  • Valid passport
  • Filled Form I-90
  • Boarding pass that provides information about most recent departure date
  • Proof of Legal permanent resident (LPR) status, such as copy of front and back of the permanent residence card
  • Detailed explanation about why you don’t have the card with you
  • Police report relating to the lost green card
  • 3 passport sized photographs
  • A fee of $165 paid in dollars or equivalent local currency. You can pay the fee in the form of cash or a demand draft.

Remember that the filing fee is not refundable in case the application is denied. The process takes a number of days to confirm the status with other concerned offices. In case the application is accepted you will receive a transportation letter that is valid for 15 days. In case you do not travel within the fifteen days, you will have to file the application again along with the prescribed fees.