What to Do If You’ve Lost Your Green Card: A Comprehensive Guide

Losing a Green Card can be a distressing experience, but there are steps you can take to replace it and ensure your ability to return to the United States. Here’s what you need to know if you find yourself in this situation.

If you’ve lost your Green Card, report it to USCIS and file Form I-90. While abroad, request a Boarding Foil from the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Gather required documents and attend your appointment. Boarding Foils are valid for 30 days; travel within this window to avoid reapplication.

Lost Your Green Card

1. Report the Loss or Theft

Replacing a green card from within the United States.

If your Green Card has been lost or stolen, it’s important to report it to the appropriate authorities. You can do this by filing a police report and notifying the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

2.  Apply for a Boarding Foil

Replacing a green card from outside the United States


If you are outside the United States and need to return, you can request a Boarding Foil from the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The process for requesting a Boarding Foil varies by location.

3.  Gather Required Documents

When applying for a Boarding Foil, you will need to provide certain documents, including:

  • Completed Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Evidence)
  • Proof of Payment for the filing fee
  • Valid passport
  • Police report regarding the loss of the Green Card
  • Copy of your Green Card, if available
  • Evidence of continuous residence in the United States

4.  Attend Your Appointment


Once you have scheduled your appointment, attend it with all the required documents. If your application is approved, you will receive a Boarding Foil that is valid for 30 days. It’s important to travel within this window, as failing to do so will require you to repeat the application process.

5.  Replacing Your Green Card

After you have returned to the United States, you can apply to replace your lost or stolen Green Card using Form I-90. This will allow you to obtain a new Green Card and continue your life in the United States.

6.  Additional Tips

  • Notify USCIS of Address Change: If you have moved since you last received your Green Card, make sure to update your address with the USCIS to ensure that your new card is sent to the correct address.
  • Consider Filing a Police Report: If your Green Card was stolen, filing a police report can help document the theft and may be required by the USCIS as part of your application.
  • Seek legal assistance: If your situation is exceptionally complicated, you should obtain legal counsel on how you should move forward.

Losing your Green Card can be a challenging experience, but by following these steps and staying organized, you can navigate the replacement process successfully. If you have any questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact an immigration attorney for help.