If your green card was misplaced, stolen, or damaged, then you will need to go through the green card replacement process. Although the procedure is relatively the same as renewing a green card, this article provides you with information about the reasons for replacing your card, replacement steps to follow, and what more to expect. 

If you are more interested in knowing whether you are qualified for citizenship, you can consult with an immigration attorney before applying for a green card.

Reasons for Replacing Green Cards

Under immigration laws, you must request a new green card if your card has been damaged or you become a victim of theft. But there are other reasons for a cardholder to replace green cards such as:

  • The card was acquired at age 14 and will expire at age 16.
  • The permanent green card contains the wrong information.
  • The original green card was not sent.
  • There were changes in personal information.
  • The green card version is outdated.
  • The cardholder is becoming a permanent resident automatically.
  • There is no expiration date on the green card.
  • There is a desire to convert a commuter green card and live in the U.S. permanently.
  • There is a plan to switch from a regular green card to a marriage green card or commuter card
  • The card is about to expire.
  • The cardholder is preparing for naturalization.

If your reason for replacement coincides with the last four and you need further help, schedule a consultation with U.S. immigration attorneys to discuss your options.

Green Card Process for Replacements

If you are residing in the U.S., The process usually starts with filling up an application (USCIS forms) to replace the permanent resident card, which you then file online or mail along with supporting documentation and filing fees. 

Replace Your Green CardThe list of supporting documents you have to submit depends on which factor prompted you to replace your permanent residence card. In general, you will be asked a copy of the card, and ids such as a driver’s license or government cards.

Suppose you are outside the United States or traveling to another country. In that case, the green card processing for replacements can only be initiated once you return to the country of origin. However, if you lost or damaged your card while traveling, make sure to report it to the local police and secure a copy of the police report. You will need this when you contact a nearby U.S. embassy or a consulate. Consular officials will likely assist you in getting a temporary immigrant visa or a “boarding foil,” which will be your legal ticket or travel document back to the U.S.

If you are on vacation in another country and you found that you have an expired green card, you might have problems at the U.S. port of entry. You can get help via a phone call from an immigration lawyer to prevent facing such obstacles in your travel. 

What To Expect During Replacements

  • Processing Times. Depending on whether you’re getting the standard green card or permanent resident status card type, you need to prepare a card replacement fee aside from the biometric services fee. Once you file your request for a change of card, the processing time can take up to about eight months. 
  • Urgent  Requests. Suppose you urgently need a new card to prove your status as a green card holder. In that case, you can simply book an appointment with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS office who can issue you an Alien Documentation, Identification & Telecommunications, or ADIT stamp in your passport. This stamp can serve as a one-year temporary green card.
  • Application Decision. Immigration Service will mail your new green card once your application is approved. However, sometimes the application for U.S. citizenship or green card renewal gets rejected for various reasons, such as when false information has been provided, or a deportation order is pending. 

In such instances, you will receive a document explaining the reason fr denial. Even though you cannot appeal the decision, you may ask Immigration Services for a reconsideration. When this happens, it is advisable to seek legal advice from an immigration law firm. 

Our immigration lawyers an Diener Law Firm can address any immigration issues regarding how to get a green card and become a lawful permanent resident, apply for adjustment of status, or convert to another green card type. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation.