The green card is evidence for permanent resident status with a legal right to work in the US. USCIS Form I-551 is the certificate of alien registration or an alien registration receipt card, which is popularly known as the green card.
The green card should be in possession of the resident citizen with proper validation at all times as it is also the proof of allegiance towards the US immigration laws. Any resident who fails to comply shall be held guilty of misdemeanor and may be subject to fine and/or imprisonment upon conviction.
In the case that a permanent resident has lost or stolen his green card, he may apply for replacement green card by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. The following information details the green card replacement application process.
When should I apply for replacement green card?
You will need to replace your green card and apply for a replacement green card if:
- Your previous card was lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed;
- Your card was issued to you before you were 14 and you have reached your 14th birthday;
- You have been a commuter and are now taking up actual residence in the United States;
- You have been a permanent resident residing in the United States and are now taking up commuter status;
- Your status has been automatically converted to permanent resident status, this includes Special Agricultural Worker applicants who are converting to permanent resident status;
- You have a previous version of the alien registration card (e.g. USCIS Form AR-3, Form AR-103, or Form I-151 - all no longer valid to prove your immigration status) and must replace it with the current permanent resident card (Form I-551);
- Your card contains incorrect data;
- Your name or other biographic information on the card has been legally changed since you last received your card; or
- You never received the previous card that was issued to you by USCIS.
Filing for Green Card Replacement
To file for green card replacement by postal mail, you must submit the required green card replacement fees along with your application to the appropriate mailing address.
Green card replacement application fee for Form I-90 is $365 USD, and a Biometrics fee of $85 is also required. You may submit one check or money order for both the application and the biometrics fee for a total of $450. See Form I-90 Instructions for details.
All paper-based Form I-90 applications along with all supporting documentation must be filed at the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox facility.
For U.S. Postal Service:
P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036
For USPS Express Mail and Courier deliveries:
1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1
Phoenix, AZ 85034
All applicants will receive an appointment notice for a biometric processing at an ASC (application service center) near you in the mail and will also specify the documents to be submitted at the time of appointment.
Can I travel overseas while my green card replacement application is being processed?
The green card replacement process takes time, generally 3-10 months or more, depending on the case and the information provided.
If you must travel during the green card replacement process either for employment or personal reasons, it is advisable to get your passport stamped with I-551 at the local USCIS office to indicate that you have filed for a new green card.
The stamp in the passport is proof of lawful permanent resident status of the passport bearer. It will enable a person to travel out of the U.S. and re-enter as the stamped passport indicates, the person has filed for green card replacement as required by law.
If your green card was lost or stolen while outside the United States, you will have to obtain a transportation letter in order to re-enter the US. Read about what to do for lost or stolen green card for more information.
Checking Green Card Application Status
Once you file the application via mail or e-file, you will receive a case number with the receipt notice via mail. This case number should be used for all your application status tracking purpose. You can either check your case status online at USCIS website or you may call the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283. All information regarding your application such as your receipt number, Alien Registration Number, name, and date of birth should be handy when making the call.
If you are looking to renew your green card, visit green card renewal.