Losing documents is something that can happen to anyone. That is why it is highly recommended to keep copies of all your important papers, forms, and documents, no matter what the context.
There are some things the digital age just has not caught up to yet, and your papers are one example. Anytime you file an application, you should keep copies of the application and any potential documents or evidence you had to submit.
Knowing how to replace any lost or stolen documents is just as important as keeping copies of all important papers. If your Green Card or Naturalization papers have been lost or stolen, you will most likely have to fill out either form I-90 (green card) or N-565 (naturalization).
Replacing a Lost Green Card: Form I-90
This form is to replace lost Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). The filing fee is $455 and the fee is non refundable. In addition to this, a biometric services fee of $85 is always required when filing for a replacement because your card has been lost or stolen.You should consult with an attorney to ensure that all forms, evidence, and photo images are submitted accurately.
Note that in order to replace your lost green card, USCIS requires a copy of your green card or a government-issued form of identification that contains your name, date of birth, photograph, and signature (such as a passport or driver’s license). Generally, it is a good idea to make a copy of your green card and keep it in a secure place like a safe, as backup evidence if your real green card is lost.
If you need to travel in the meantime, there is a workaround you can use until you get your real documents: You can make an appointment with your local USCIS office using InfoPass. At the appointment, request an I-551 stamp in your passport. The stamp is temporary proof of your permanent residence status. Generally, the temporary stamp will be valid for one year.
If Your Green Card Was Lost or Stolen Abroad
In this very unfortunate scenario, you will need to contact the local police, file a police report, and then call the local United States consulate. There you will be able to file form I-131A, Application for a Travel Document. The filing fee is $575. Once you arrive back in the United States, file Form I-90 promptly.
Replacing Citizenship / Naturalization Documents: Form N-565
This form is to replace Naturalization, Citizenship, or Repatriation Certificates, and Declaration of Intention papers in the event that they were lost, stolen, or you had a name change. This form has a fee of $555, and the fee is not refundable. Consult with a lawyer to ensure you have all the appropriate documents and photos attached, and the application is as complete as it can be.
Keep in mind the process to replace your documents can also include requests for additional information, additional evidence or even denial. Also, it can take a while to receive your documents: you should file this paperwork as soon as possible, as the replacement process could take up to 18 months.
If you have any questions or concerns about applying for replacements of your lost documents, reach out to me to discuss!