What should I do if I can’t find my green card?
If you are in the United States:If you are in the United States and your green card has been lost or stolen, apply for a replacement on form I-90, "Application for Replacement Card". Make sure you send it to the right place and you keep copies of everything you submit. All correspondence with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service should be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested. You can also file your I-90 online at www.uscis.gov.
If you are not in the United States:If your green card has been lost or stolen, you will need to apply for either a waiver of the document or a transportation letter that will permit you to apply for entry into the United States.
Shannon and Dublin airports allow you to apply for a green card at the airport if you arrive 4 hours before your flight is due to depart and you have the applicable filing fee.
If you will be in direct route to the U.S. from Dublin or Shannon, you may file a Form I-90, "Application for Replacement Card" at the airport. You should bring with you a valid passport, a police report and proof that you have not been outside the United States for more than one year, for example, an entry stamp in your passport or an airline ticket.
You should also be prepared to show the immigration inspector adequate identification to substantiate your claim. This means that you should be able to prove that you have maintained your lawful permanent resident status. This can be hard to do if you have been outside the United States for more than 6 months. The immigration inspector will examine the purpose of the trip; the duration of the trip and whether or not you maintained the intention to return to the United States. Bring evidence such as affidavits; US tax returns; leases or mortgages to the airport with you.
The fee for filing a Form I-90 is $450.00 USD; however, this fee is subject to change so you should double check the fee and the preferred method of payment a few days before you plan to leave. You can fill out your form and pay the fee when you leave the country at the USCBP pre-inspection at Dublin or Shannon airports. You will then be required to report in person to your local USCIS District Office in the United States for completion of the card replacement process.
If you have a card, but it is NOT in your possession right now, for example, you left the card at home the last time you left the U.S., you will need to apply for either a waiver of the document or a transportation letter that will permit you to apply for entry into the U.S.
Because the US has pre-flight inspection facilities in Ireland, a transportation letter can only be issued in the country of final departure to the U.S., the U.S. Embassy in Dublin does not issue transportation letters. If you are traveling from Dublin or Shannon airports, directly back to the U.S., you are required to file a Form I-193, "Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa". The fee for this is $585.00 US. Again, this fee is subject to change so you should double check it in advance. You can fill out your form and pay the fee when you leave the country at USCBP pre-inspection at Dublin or Shannon airports. If you are transiting another country en route to the U.S., including the UK, you must make arrangements to apply for a transportation letter at the U.S. Embassy in that country. Remember to bring plenty of evidence with you to substantiate your claim. If possible, have someone in the US fax or e-mail you a copy of your green card. If you've been outside the United States for more than 6 months you may want to speak to an immigration lawyer before you attempt to re-enter.
Problems at the airport:If you are experiencing considerable difficulty at the airport, you may want to consider the following courses of action:
You may ask for "Deferred Inspection." This means that you will be allowed to enter the United States but you will have to see an immigration officer and clear immigration again a few weeks after you enter the United States. This gives you the opportunity to find lost documents and gather other important evidence and to hire an immigration lawyer to go with you to the inspection if necessary.
If the immigration officer refuses to grant you deferred inspection, it might be a good idea to ask to be allowed to “withdraw your application without prejudice”. This means that you will not enter the United States that day; however, if you file a new application, you will not have a denial of entry on your record- a flag that can cause a lot of problems. If you chose to withdraw an application, you should get copies of all any document you sign or are given by immigration and then contact an immigration attorney to discuss your best options for returning to the United States.
And finallyRemember that the United States Citizen and Immigration Service may perform background checks if you file a form I-90. Certain criminal or misdemeanor acts may result in the revocation of your green card and removal from or inadmissibility to the United States. Consult an immigration attorney if you are worried about this. Don't enter the US under the visa waiver program if you are a green card holder. Always tell the truth at the inspection point. Be polite. Bring documentary evidence to assist you with admission. Never fabricate or falsify documents. If you know that you will experience difficulty getting back into the United States contact a lawyer who is a member of the American Immigration lawyers Association before you apply for admission.
If you would like further information about specific case scenarios or situations, please call our office or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to one of experienced immigration attorneys.