A green card gives you a legally accepted permanent resident status and a permanent work permit in US. In addition to this, it also qualifies you to apply for US citizenship, because having a green card is the foremost eligibility criteria for citizenship. However, if it is lost or damaged, you can only get a green card replacement from USCIS if you apply for it following certain rules.
Application for Green Card Replacement
A green card or a permanent resident card is normally valid for 10 years, after which you have to file Form I-90, Application for Replacement of Permanent Resident Card, at USCIS, for its renewal. You may also need a green card replacement due to change of any information on your card, like post-marriage name change, or change of other biographic information. You will also need a green card replacement if your card is lost, stolen, damaged or mutilated and you need a new one. In case of a renewal, your application must be submitted to USCIS when there are 6 months or less left for your card to expire. There are two ways of applying for green card replacement:
- Mailing a paper Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card at Phoenix, Arizona Lockbox Facility.
- Online E-Filing of Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
Though the validity might be different for permanent residents and the conditional permanent residents, the form for replacement of their cards is same in both cases. A permanent resident enjoys his status for 10 years, whereas a conditional resident enjoys it only for 2 years. Conditional residents cannot renew their cards. They can only use the I-90 form to get a replacement.
In case of lost or stolen cards for green card holders living abroad, they may contact the nearest US consulate, port of entry or USCIS office, before filling Form I-90 for green card replacement.
Grounds on Which You Need to Replace Your Green Card
The following are the reasons for which you can apply for your green card replacement:
- Your earlier card is stolen, lost, damaged or ruined.
- If your card was issued prior to your 14th birthday and it does not expire before your 16th birthday, and you have reached 14.
- Your card states wrong information.
- Your name or general information has changed lawfully since you got your previous card.
- You have not received your card issued by USCIS.
- You were a commuter, who has now taken up a residence in the US permanently.
- You are a permanent resident of US; who wants to change to commuter status.
- You own a former version of Form AR-3, Form I-151 or, Form AR-103, USCIS Alien Registration Form, which are invalid now and have to be replaced with a latest green card.
- You have automatically changed to permanent resident status like Special Agricultural Worker.
The Process Involved In Green Card Replacement
A submission fee of $365 and a $85 biometric fee has to be submitted along with the I-90 form at USCIS. Within 30 days of submission you will receive a 13-character Application Receipt Number, which proves your application is under processing at USCIS. With this number you can check the status of your form. You will be notified of your appointment for fingerprinting and ensuing interview, coupled with guidelines for which you have to bring supporting documents. This entire process of replacement takes about 90 days approximately.