It happens. You lose something important. In certain cases, it may be your “greencard” the one thing that signifies that you belong in the United States. Or it may have been stolen.
(The image above has nothing to do with lost greencards, it’s just a picture of the woods, but it’s green.).
I’ve dropped a pair of keys into the gap (or “crack” as we Americans like to say) in the elevator door (the gap between the door and the floor). Yes, incredibly idiotic, but stuff happens.
If you happen to lose you greencard (permanent residence card) and need to travel out of the country and are afraid of getting stopped at the airport when re-entering the US, this is what you need to do:
1. Read very carefully the instructions for the I-90. Any mistakes can cause undue delay. The instructions are here and are about as straightforward as one can get from USCIS.
2. Fill out the I-90 for a replacement card. Go to USCIS to get a PDF form of the I-90.
OR even better, file the I-90 electronically. If you must travel within a short period of time, this is the way to do it. The instructions on filing the I-90 electronically are here. Print out a “receipt” that you’ve actually filed the I-90 electronically.
The replacement card can take anywhere from 90 days to 9 months.
If you need to travel out of the country before you get your replacement card, then you should make an INFOPASS appointment and ask for an I-551 stamp, so that upon re-entry into the US, you won’t get hassled. And bring a copy of the receipt of the electronically filed I-90 with you as proof that you’ve already filed for return.
With the stamp, you should avoid any hassles coming back into the US.