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How Do I Replace My Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)?
What is a Permanent Resident Card?

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 also is evidence of your registration in accordance with United States immigration laws. The Permanent Resident Card is also called USCIS Form I-551.

Who Needs to Replace a Permanent Resident Card?

You will need to replace your permanent resident card if:

  • Your previous card was lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed;
  • Your card was issued to you before you were 14 and you have reached your 14th birthday;
  • You have been a commuter and are now taking up actual residence in the United States;
  • You have been a permanent resident residing in the United States and are now taking up commuter status;
  • Your status has been automatically converted to permanent resident status, this includes Special Agricultural Worker applicants who are converting to permanent resident status;
  • You have a previous version of the alien registration card (e.g., USCIS Form AR-3, Form AR-103, or Form I-151 - all no longer valid to prove your immigration status) and must replace it with the current permanent resident card (Form I-551);
  • Your card contains incorrect data;
  • Your name or other biographic information on the card has been legally changed since you last received your card; or,
  • You never received the previous card that was issued to you by the USCIS.
What Does the Law Say?

Section 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides that, "Every alien in the United States … shall be issued a certificate of alien registration or an alien registration receipt card in such form and manner and at such time as shall be prescribed under regulations...." It also states, "Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him... . Any alien who fails to comply with [these] provisions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor" and may be subject to fine and/or imprisonment upon each conviction. The specific requirements and procedures for applying to replace a permanent resident card are included in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8 CFR § 264.5.

Please note: If you are a conditional resident and your status is expiring, these instructions do not pertain to you. You are to use Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence) to apply to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status.

How Do I Apply to Replace My Permanent Resident Card?

If you are a permanent resident, who needs to replace your card, or conditional resident who needs to replace your two-year card, for any of the reasons listed above , you may apply for a replacement card by filing a Form I-90.

If you are outside the U.S. and have lost your alien registration card, contact the nearest American Consulate, USCIS Office or Port of Entry before attempting to file a Form I-90. If your Form I-90 application is approved, you will be mailed a replacement Permanent Resident Card,Form I-551, with a ten-year expiration date from the date of issuance.

If My Application is Denied, How Can I Appeal?

If your application for a replacement alien registration card is denied, you will receive a letter that will tell you why the application was denied. You will not be allowed to appeal a negative decision. However, you may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider with the same office that made the unfavorable decision. By filing such a motion, you may ask the office to reexamine or reconsider its decision. A motion to reopen must state the new facts that are to be provided in the reopened proceeding and must be accompanied by the appropriate documentary evidence. A motion to reconsider must establish that the decision to deny your application was based on an incorrect application of law or USCIS policy, and further establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence in the file at the time the decision was made. For more information, please see How Do I Appeal the Denial of Petition or Application which provides information on how to file a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider.