Green cards can take a lot of time and effort to acquire. If you’ve suddenly realized you’ve lost your green card, either through theft or just misplacing it, you might be understandably very upset. Try and stay calm if you currently find yourself in this situation. There is a process to get a replacement green card if you are inside the United States. It may be more complicated if you are outside the United States, as green cards can only be replaced within the United States, but there are still options available for you to be able to enter the country and request your replacement. This blog will explain important information about requesting a replacement, but if you need specialized assistance tailored to your specific case, you should reach out to a New York City immigration attorney right away.

How Do I Replace My Green Card Within the United States?

If you are inside the United States, you will need to fill out and submit Form I-90, or an “Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.” This is where complications begin, as the I-90 must be filed inside the United States. If your green card was lost or stolen while you are abroad, you must first return to the United States. We’ll explain more about that in a moment.

The I-90 form can be filed online or through the mail, though there are specific cases where filing a mail application is required. Regardless, however, what you need to do is largely the same: complete the form, review and sign the form, then send it in with supporting documents and the filing fee.

Examples of supporting documents include a photocopy or original copy of your green card, a copy of a government-issued ID apart from your green card or any other evidence you have about your permanent resident status, and biographical information.

How Do I Replace My Green Card Outside the United States?

Replacing your green card is a bit trickier if you are abroad when you notice it is gone. Eventually, you need to return to the United States and file the I-90, but before you can, you’ll need to take care of some additional steps.

If your green card was lost or stolen, you should first contact the local police, because you’ll want a police report. Afterward, you should get in touch with a nearby United States embassy or consulate.

To be allowed inside the United States without your green card, you must first apply for a document called a boarding foil. Boarding foils prove to transportation authorities that you have permission to go to the United States. For a boarding foil, you will need to fill out Form I-131A, called “Application for a Travel Document.” Unfortunately, there is also a $575 filing fee. You should speak to consular officials, as they’ll be able to tell you more information. But once you return to the United States, you can then file your Form I-90.

Another concern may be what to do if your green card instead expires while you are abroad. You might be denied permission to enter the United States, and even if you are allowed back in, you are likely to face more scrutiny than otherwise. There is a process to renew your green card, and you should take care to research and follow it before leaving the country.

Remember, a skilled and experienced New York City immigration attorney is just a phone call away, ready to help you with this and any other immigration concern.