What happens if I lose my green card? Oh my. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Oh my is right, Jimbo.
So I was surprised over the weekend that a client of mine who’s become a friend and who I’m very fond of, his name is Tony, he was asking for a friend who had lost his wallet. Now, inside that wallet was the friend’s green card. And Tony was asking on behalf of the friend, “Well, what happens now?” The friend has a ten-year green card and they were wondering, “Well, what do I do?” Now, the first thing they need to do is file a police report. Even if they lost it they should file a police report so they can document that the green card has been lost and that they made reasonable efforts to try to get the assistance of the police department to try to track it down. Now it’s probably gone and it’s not coming back. So USCS doesn’t necessarily like it when you lose your green card. I think that they view that as an opportunity for fraud down the line. Maybe you sold it to somebody, maybe you gave it to someone who looked like you, something like that. So they don’t like that.
So what I told Tony is, “Well, you’re probably starting over and you’re probably going to have to pay the filing fee for an I90, which is the form that you file to get a replacement green card. You’re going to want to send in the police incident report and the copy of your old green card, hopefully you still have that, and fill out the I90 and pay the fee. Right now that would have cost around $540, but that fee can always go up. So it’s not good when you lose your green card.
I once had a situation where a client had lost his green card. His wallet had actually been stolen over in Europe, and he had already been outside the United States for about five months. So he was up against it when it came to coming back, and he needed to get back before those six months were up. So that was a pretty desperate situation. But in most situations, if you’re in the United States and you lose your green card, you need to fill out that police report, and then you need to go ahead and file for a replacement green card. Now, this particular friend of Tony’s is going to be eligible for citizenship pretty soon. And it occurred to me that the friend could just wait to naturalize, but of course you always want to have your green card. You always want to have proof of your status. You never know when you’re going to need to leave the United States quickly. Sometimes things happen with family members back home. And so you could wait until you just apply for citizenship, but again, you’re going to have to explain the lost green card at your interview. That’s going to be a big hassle, so it might be better just to go ahead and apply for a replacement card.
Now, the kicker is, later in the day on Facebook, Tony announced that the wallet had been found. So that was good. It had just simply fallen into a crevice between a chair and the wall. And so that was good. So Tony’s friend found the green card and doesn’t have to file for a replacement, and we’ll have that green card when it comes time to go apply for citizenship. So we’re happy about that, we’re happy that no one has to go through that hassle.
It does take awhile to get a replacement green card. What you do is you file the I190 and eventually … Well, that’s for a replacement. You have to send them the old one, but of course you don’t have the old one. So it still takes about 10 or 11 months to get that replacement green card. So keep good care of your green card. Don’t lose it. And if you do and you need help, give us a call. (314) 961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group which is called Immigrant Home. And if you like this video, we ask that you please share tit on social, that you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and that you follow us on Instagram at Hacking Immigration Law LLC. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.