Why would you need to replace your green card?
All adult lawful permanent residents of the US are required by law to keep their green cards in their possession at all times. So if you do not have it in your possession, you should immediately apply to replace your green card.
Section 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act 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.”
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“Don't do the mistake we did and try to save few bucks going with nonprofessionals and sole practitioners! It will end up not only costing you much more in the long run, but also putting your status in jeopardy which can have a priceless impact. It is one of the most important steps in your life.”
- Sgt. Danny Lightfoot, Los Angeles, California
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In addition, when you travel internationally, you should be prepared to show your green card in order to be admitted to the US. When you are applying for a job, your green card can be used to show both your identity and your employment authorization.
When do you need to Replace Your Green Card?
• Your original card was lost, stolen or damaged.
• You have legally changed your name since you have acquired your previous card.
• Your original card was issued before the age of 14 and you have now reached 14 years of age. The exception is if your original card expires before you reach the age of 16.
• You have automatically obtained permanent resident status as your previous status has been converted.
• Your original card displays inaccurate information.
• You have acquired permanent resident status in the United States from previously having commuter status.
• You are presently taking up commuter status and have permanent residence in the United States.
• You have retained an earlier version of the green card to identify you as a lawful permanent resident and it is no longer valid. An example of this would be a Form AR-103, Form I-151 or USCIS Form AR-3 – these would therefore be required to be replaced with a current and accurate green card.
• You did not receive your original card that was issued by the USCIS.
Application Process to Replace Your Green Card
You must apply for a replacement green card by using Form I-90. You can submit the I-90 by mail or you can file it electronically. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and pay the required filing fee.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.