A Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as a green card, is evidence of your status as a lawful permanent resident with a right to live and work permanently in the United States. It’s also evidence of your registration in accordance with United States immigration laws. The Permanent Resident Card is also called a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-551.
This article describes what one should if their greencard was lost or stolen while traveling outside of the U.S. If it was lost/stolen while in the U.S., read Replace Green Card.
If you travel outside the United States, you are required to have your green card with you in order to enter the United States, or even board the plane going to the United States.
If your green card is either lost or stolen while traveling to a foreign country (including your country of citizenship), you should take the following steps for entry back into United States:
- Immediately report a lost/stolen green card to the local police station. Get a copy of the police report that you filed. (It is called an FIR in India.)
- Publish a classified advertisement in the local daily newspaper and carry the receipt of the payment. Also, buy the newspaper next day and keep it with you.
- Go to the nearest US embassy or consulate and apply for a “transportation letter”.
As soon as you enter the United States with the transportation letter, you should file an application to Replace Your Green Card.
If your “green card” is lost or stolen, you may be able to obtain a “transportation letter” valid for one month authorizing a transportation line (such as airline) to carry you to the United States without a penalty.
In order to apply for a transportation letter, you require following:
- A completed form I-90.
- A valid passport.
- Evidence of the most recent date of departure from the United States, such as boarding passes from the airline.
- Evidence of legal permanent resident (LPR) status, such as a copy of the front and back of your permanent resident card.
- A police report regarding the loss of the green card.
- A detailed explanation specifying why you don’t have your green card with you.
- 3 identical recent passport-sized photographs of yourself.
- The filing fee. This can be paid in the equivalent local currency of the country where you are. The filing fee can be paid by demand draft in Rupees in India. Fee details
The filing fee is non-refundable even if the application is denied. The process takes several days in order to confirm an applicant’s LPR status with other offices. All transportation letters issued are valid for 15 days. If you fail to travel within the 15-day window, you would have to pay all the fees again and obtain a new letter. No other non-immigrant visa is available in lieu of a “transportation letter”.
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