Green Card Replacement Program

The USCIS requires that all permanent residents holding the old form I-151, Alien Registration Receipt Card, which was issued before 1979, must apply in person as soon as possible for a new card, Form I-551, Alien Registration Receipt Card, to evidence satisfactory proof of permanent resident status and eligibility to work in the U.S.

Although the old Form I-151 was no longer considered valid since March 20, 1996, the USCIS allows those who may not have received notice to file the new Form and submit an application for the replacement of the Green Card with the USCIS or to file for U.S. citizenship.

Unlike the old card, which did not have an expiration date, the newer Form I-551 has an expiration date and is required to be renewed every ten years. This enables the USCIS to improve the card with additional security features like photographs and holograms, which are regularly updated.

In order to file for a replacement of the card and obtain the new card, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) should submit a completed Form I-90 with filing fee to the local USCIS office. It generally takes between 3-10 months for the applicant to receive the new card.

While the replacement card is being processed by the USCIS, it is a good idea for the applicant to have the passport stamped at the local USCIS office to indicate that the applicant has filed for a new card. The stamp in the passport will serve as proof of the lawful permanent resident status of the bearer. This stamp will enable the person to travel out of the U.S. and reenter, since the stamp in the passport indicates that the person has filed for the replacement card as required by law.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.