Green Card Replacement: How to Replace an Expired or Lost Green Card

Green Card Replacement: How to Replace an Expired or Lost Green Card

What Is a Green Card?

An I-551, better known as a green card, expires every 10 years. As such, it must be renewed before expiration. Other names for the I-551 are:

  • I-551 receipt number
  • Case number
  • Green card number
  • Permanent resident number
  • Permanent resident case number

Ramifications of a Lost or Stolen Green Card

Losing a green card is never grounds for deportation. There are three main issues an immigrant may face that could lead to deportation.

  • Criminal Activity: Non-immigrants may be deported for committing certain crimes that are listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The wording in the INA is open to interpretation, as it outlines crimes that fall under the umbrella of moral turpitude. Should you learn your residency status has changed as a result of a crime, you should contact Scott D. Pollock & Associates immediately.
  • Abandonment of Residency: This is when a green card holder remains outside of the United States for more than six months.
  • Immigration Fraud: There are various examples of this that include a sham marriage or a failure to change your address with Form AR-11.

If you lose your green card you still maintain permanent resident status. The card is merely proof of this status. Still, you may have trouble working or traveling without it. 

How Do You Go About Renewing a Green Card? 

The proper path to renewal is by filing Form I-90 through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This can be done online or by mail. Filling this form out can be confusing because I-90s are used for more than just renewing green cards. They are also used for official name changes, lost green cards, and for those who never received the green card they previously filed for.

Cost to Renew a Green Card

As of August 2020, it costs $455 to apply for a green card, in addition to an $85 biometrics fee, which includes the recording of your fingerprints. This makes for a total cost of over $500. The fee changes often, so we advise you to visit the USCIS webpage on I-90s for current rates.

How Long Does it Take to Renew a Green Card?

The time it takes to renew your card varies from year to year. In 2020, the U.S. announced that it would take anywhere between 8.5 to 11.5 months to renew. Check the USCIS website for updated times. If no times are listed, feel free to submit a case inquiry to find out if there is a problem.

What Documents Are Necessary to Renew a Card?

If you are renewing your green card, the main document you will need to show will be your expired green card. If you lost your green card, you will need another document to prove your permanent resident status, such as a driver’s license or another form of government ID.

What If My Green Card Has Been Expired for 5 Years? 10 Years?

Green cards received between 1979 and August of 1989 do not have to be renewed. The only place you may face an issue if you choose not to renew is at an airport. Green cards from these years cannot be used at Global Entry kiosks at international airports in the United States. You may also want to renew it if the photo on your green card is of you as a child. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may delay your travel if they can’t recognize that the childhood photo is of you.

It is important to remember that even though your green card expired, you still have permanent resident status. Still, you may be charged with a misdemeanor if you are over 18 and caught with an expired card.

Many airlines will not board passengers who are carrying an expired green card. You must carry an I-797 while traveling to show that you have submitted for renewal. You may also need to present your expired passport.

What Happens If Your Green Card Is Stolen? Will You Still Be Held Accountable?

Should your green card be stolen while you are on business or vacation outside of the United States, you must inform the police department where your card was stolen. After this is done, you should contact your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to request an official transportation form. Once you arrive back to the U.S., you must immediately file Form I-90. This includes paying all fees.

Alternatives to Green Card Renewal

Those who are eligible for U.S. citizenship may apply for naturalization. If approved, they will no longer have to to renew their green cards.

Temporary I-551

I-551 temporary evidence stamps can be issued should you be awaiting your permanent I-551. Remember that you must carry this card with your official passport from the country in which you hold citizenship at all times if you hold a temporary version. These stamps are available to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, refugees seeking asylum, various employment-based categories, and winners of the Diversity Visa Lottery.

Contact Scott. D. Pollock & Associates

Renewing your I-551 can be nerve-racking, especially if you’ve been charged with a crime. As with any USCIS immigration form, an I-90 may have many caveats you are unaware of as a permanent resident. It’s likely you haven’t renewed your green card in a decade, meaning some rules have almost assuredly changed. That’s why it’s beneficial to seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney, especially if you have lost your green card.

You need an attorney that is skilled, compassionate, and hard-working. All three of those qualities can be found in our attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. We are based in Chicago, but have worked nationally to help clients resolve their immigration issues. Our combined 70 years of experience have made us leaders in the field. We are here to work with you no matter what part of the application process you are currently in. Contact us at 312-444-1940 or visit our website today for more information.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!