There are many reasons why you might need a green card replacement. Your green card may have been lost, leaving you with no proof of your permanent residency. Your green card may have been stolen, which makes you vulnerable to identity theft. As well, your green card may be so damaged that it is no longer usable. In all these cases, it is important to replace your green card as soon as possible. If you are checked for your legal status by authorities and are found not to have a green card, you could face legal hassles as well as penalties. Not carrying your green card means you can be charged with a misdemeanor.
A lost green card is specially a problem. In some cases, a stolen green card or a lost card falls into the wrong hands and can make you the victim of identity theft. Sometimes, stolen green cards are used by criminals who perpetrate crimes or work illegally using your name. Your lost or stolen green card could tarnish your good name and could even mean that US immigration officials investigate you for crimes committed by someone else. This is why it is so important to report your lost green card or stolen green card immediately and apply for a replacement. It is also important to get a temporary green card replacement right away, as this will help you prove your identity and your legal status in the US.
Luckily, the USCIS website, USCIS.gov, makes replacing a stolen or lost green card quite simple. You can download Form I-90 (Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card) right from the website. In most cases, this is the form you will need. However, if you are a conditional resident and your status is about to expire, you will need to file Form I-751 (if you received your green card through marriage) or Form I-829 (if you received your green card via a financial investment) instead. In addition to your completed form, you will need to be fingerprinted and you will need to submit a filing fee.
Once you have applied to replace your damaged, lost, or stolen green card, it is important to check the “My Case Status” section of the USCIS website to verify the status of your green card replacement. This allows you to see when the card is mailed to you and allows you to ensure that your get your card in time with minimal delays and hassles.