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Green Card Lost Outside the United States, What Should I Do?

Apr 2 , 2024

Permanent residency in the United States of America is known as a Green Card. This official document, issued to people in a variety of circumstances and for a variety of reasons, identifies a person who meets the legal requirements to live and work in U.S. territory.

Although a permanent resident is free to travel outside the United States whenever he/she wishes, he/she must always carry his/her green card when re-entering the country, as this document is proof that the person is living in the United States even though he/she is not a U.S. citizen.

If your Green Card is lost or significantly damaged while outside the United States, you must follow a procedure that allows you to re-enter the country without this document.

Here are the steps to follow if you find yourself in this situation.


What should I do in the event of theft, loss or damage?


If you are traveling as a permanent resident of the United States and your Permanent Resident Card has been stolen, you should have it replaced:

  • Contact law enforcement authorities in the country where you are.

In order to recover the document, the police will prepare a report detailing all the circumstances of the loss.

  • Based on your current location, notify the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • Apply for a boarding document from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This document will allow you to return to the United States.

If you have lost or damaged your card, you must still apply for this document as it is the only way to return to the United States without being penalized for not having a Green Card. In order to complete this process, you will need to file Form I-131A (Application for Parole).


Green Card Fees


The corresponding fare will be $630 effective April 1, 2024. Payment is made through the USCIS website and must be made before submitting the form to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.


Document validity


A single entry within 30 days of issuance.


Can I leave the U.S. if I don’t have my card?


Unlike entering the United States, when traveling outside the United States, you do not need to carry your permanent resident card, but need to carry a valid passport.

If you are traveling without your Green Card and do not have a replacement before your return date, you must use the same form to request the travel document to be used in the event of theft, loss or damage.


In order to apply for this document, you will need to submit:


  • Prove you’re a permanent resident
  • Copy of your passport (all pages)

Please note:

When you receive your boarding pass, you must present your original passport.

  • Proof of your last date of departure from the U.S. and when you expect to re-enter the U.S.
  • Photo for passport


Where do I submit this form?


The embassy or consulate of the United States of America in the country you will be visiting.


Delay times


This process usually takes from a few days to a little over a week. The wait time may be shorter or longer depending on the management of the consular office, the circumstances of your case, and the information provided about your legal status.

During this time, your passport will be held by the diplomatic mission until the formalities are completed, and it will be returned to you by courier or you can pick it up at the consular office.

Remember that the Green Card is your document for permanent residence and work in the United States; in the event of loss, theft, or damage, you should begin applying for a new document as soon as possible, even if you do not intend to travel.


How do I apply for a new Green Card?


You can apply for it by filling out the I-90 form online at the USCIS website. You can also apply by mail. However, we recommend that you apply online. You’ll have the advantage of knowing the status of your application at all times. It also provides the ability to contact the USCIS directly if necessary.


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Opapeleo is your agency for paperwork procedures 100% online or by phone. We are in Washington DC 150 meters away from the Cuban Consulate. We provide Extension services and Cuban Passport Renewal, Legalizations, Powers of attorney of all kinds, authorisation for the departure of minors, DVT, Cuban visas,Top-ups, requesting Cuban certificates, sending official documents and all kinds of procedures related to Cuba.

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