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Hi everyone,

I'm in an unusual situation, for which I haven't managed to find an answer in past discussions. I'm a conditional resident, and about two weeks ago I submitted my i-751 to remove the conditions and become a permanent resident (it's definitely been received at the VSC, because they cashed my check). Unfortunately, though, I think I've lost my green card.

I last used my green card a week ago, to travel from Austin to New York. I'm still waiting to hear back from all the various lost property places (airline, airports, etc) I've contacted, but not feeling that hopeful right now. This has never happened to me before, and it's REALLY bad timing, because in 6 days time, I'm flying home to the UK for Christmas. I'm due to return to the US in early January, and now am very worried that if I go, I won't be able to re-enter.

My green card expires at the end of February. I've yet to receive my NOA1. Hopefully that will come within the next week. The New York InfoPass centre has zero available appointments (same for the Long Island one). So I have a few questions:

1. If I receive the NOA1, but don't find my green card, will that, plus my valid UK passport, be enough for me to re-enter the US?

2. If I don't receive the NOA1 in time, is there any other document that could get me back in?

3. Is there any way to get an i-551 stamp without an InfoPass appointment? Should I try to make an InfoPass appointment at the London embassy?

4. I know that ordinarily I would use form i-90 to apply for a replacement green card -- but can I do that after having submitted i-751?

5. How screwed am I?

Any help that anyone would give would be hugely appreciated. I'm feeling pretty freaked right now! I'll update this thread if I get any more information, or am lucky enough to find my green card.

Thank you!

FM

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there are ways to get back in the us if you lose your greencard while abroad. they generally require you to contact the us embassy and get a travel document to let you enter the us and they you need to file an i90 to get a replacement card.

1 nope need the card for the letter to have meaning

2 yes see what I wrote above. sorry I don't remember the forms you need to do.

3 not while you are abroad but the form I mentioned will work for letting you in.

4 yes you still can and do need to file an i90

5 not really just need to fill out paperwork and pay the fees plus a bit of waiting

good luck

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Hi everyone,

I'm in an unusual situation, for which I haven't managed to find an answer in past discussions. I'm a conditional resident, and about two weeks ago I submitted my i-751 to remove the conditions and become a permanent resident (it's definitely been received at the VSC, because they cashed my check). Unfortunately, though, I think I've lost my green card.

I last used my green card a week ago, to travel from Austin to New York. I'm still waiting to hear back from all the various lost property places (airline, airports, etc) I've contacted, but not feeling that hopeful right now. This has never happened to me before, and it's REALLY bad timing, because in 6 days time, I'm flying home to the UK for Christmas. I'm due to return to the US in early January, and now am very worried that if I go, I won't be able to re-enter.

My green card expires at the end of February. I've yet to receive my NOA1. Hopefully that will come within the next week. The New York InfoPass centre has zero available appointments (same for the Long Island one). So I have a few questions:

1. If I receive the NOA1, but don't find my green card, will that, plus my valid UK passport, be enough for me to re-enter the US? No, the letter is meaningless without the card.

2. If I don't receive the NOA1 in time, is there any other document that could get me back in? An I-551 stamp.

3. Is there any way to get an i-551 stamp without an InfoPass appointment? Should I try to make an InfoPass appointment at the London embassy? No. Not sure about London embassy but you should try showing up at your InfoPass center w/o an appointment.

4. I know that ordinarily I would use form i-90 to apply for a replacement green card -- but can I do that after having submitted i-751? Yes.

5. How screwed am I? Very if you don't get another green card or the stamp. You won't be getting back in.

Any help that anyone would give would be hugely appreciated. I'm feeling pretty freaked right now! I'll update this thread if I get any more information, or am lucky enough to find my green card.

Thank you!

FM

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1 - Nope. The extension letter accompanies an expired card, but doesn't replace it or eliminate it . However, an infopass I-551 stamp DOES replace the need to show an expired card + letter. The extension letters normally arrive in a couple of weeks, so hopefully it will be with you soon. Do you have a photo or scan of the expired card still?

You do not need anything to board the flight to the UK except your UK passport so your leaving the country isn't affected.

2 - You need a transportation letter from the London embassy.

Link here: https://uk.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/government-agencies/dhs/uscis/transportation-letter-request/ - send this NOW and do not leave until you have their instructions and confirmation. You can also call them.

3 - You could try a walk in, but the New York federal plaza office is not exactly the friendliest and can be pretty busy.. having said that, last time I went there (which was very recently) at no point did anyone visually check my letter or scan it, they just asked my purpose of visit, so you could try and blag it. Alternatively keep checking online between midnite eastern and midnite pacific and as well as new appointments for 14 days later, cancellations get dumped back into the system. However, without the extension letter in hand, they will only stamp until the original expiry date of the card, so pray for your extension letter to arrive and an appointment to open up before you leave.

The London Embassy does not routinely offer I-551 stamp infopass appointments, and you cannot do walk-ins there either, so email for the transportation letter as per my link above which will result in an appointment. Do not leave the US until you have their instructions and confirmation.

4 - They will not replace an expired card, and even if you filed it now before it expires, the chances of having it by the time it expires are very slim, given it is taking between three and six months currently. It is also a total waste of $400 or so. Better to get the transportation letter for travel, and the infopass appointment with extension letter in hand, and then get the stamp until the expiry of the extension letter.

5 - Not very. Just a few more hoops to jump through. Your status isn't affected, just the proof of it, which unfortunately for you is what you need right now. It isn't so much immigration when trying to re-enter, as there are ways for them to verify, but it is the fact that no carrier will allow you to board a flight to the US without showing proof of your status. In theory you could apply for an ESTA and then board that way, but then you will have the hassle at the border and doing that that may cause other problems further down the line. Better to do the method for the transportation letter as above and all should be well.

This kind of ball ache is exactly why I personally choose not to carry my GC day to day, and when travelling it lives in a specific safe place inside a pocket of my bag. I only ever use my drivers license as ID for domestic flights.

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This kind of ball ache is exactly why I personally choose not to carry my GC day to day, and when travelling it lives in a specific safe place inside a pocket of my bag. I only ever use my drivers license as ID for domestic flights.

Just a note for anyone reading, not carrying your Green Card or other proof of residency is a misdemeanor offense, so this is at your own risk. It depends entirely on what you view to be worse or more likely to happen.

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Just a note for anyone reading, not carrying your Green Card or other proof of residency is a misdemeanor offense, so this is at your own risk. It depends entirely on what you view to be worse or more likely to happen.

This is true. Never heard of anybody ever being prosecuted for said misdemeanor. I'm not saying it never happens, but it's extremely unlikely to happen.

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1 - Nope. The extension letter accompanies an expired card, but doesn't replace it or eliminate it . However, an infopass I-551 stamp DOES replace the need to show an expired card + letter. The extension letters normally arrive in a couple of weeks, so hopefully it will be with you soon. Do you have a photo or scan of the expired card still?

You do not need anything to board the flight to the UK except your UK passport so your leaving the country isn't affected.

...

2 - You need a transportation letter from the London embassy.

Link here: https://uk.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/government-agencies/dhs/uscis/transportation-letter-request/ - send this NOW and do not leave until you have their instructions and confirmation. You can also call them.

...

4 - They will not replace an expired card, and even if you filed it now before it expires, the chances of having it by the time it expires are very slim, given it is taking between three and six months currently. It is also a total waste of $400 or so. Better to get the transportation letter for travel, and the infopass appointment with extension letter in hand, and then get the stamp until the expiry of the extension letter.

Thank you all for your responses! This kind of insight is exactly why forums like this are so important. You can never get a real answer from USCIS on anything!

mindthegap, I have a few follow-up questions:

1. Yes, I do have scans of the card, front and back. It doesn't actually expire til the end of February. Are scans any use?

2. Just to be clear: if I get the transportation letter from the London embassy, do I still need to get the i-551 stamp? If I understand you correctly, I can travel on just the transportation letter from the Embassy. Is the stamp something I need to have while waiting for the new card? And is there a fee for that?

Thank you again!

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Thank you all for your responses! This kind of insight is exactly why forums like this are so important. You can never get a real answer from USCIS on anything!

mindthegap, I have a few follow-up questions:

1. Yes, I do have scans of the card, front and back. It doesn't actually expire til the end of February. Are scans any use?

2. Just to be clear: if I get the transportation letter from the London embassy, do I still need to get the i-551 stamp? If I understand you correctly, I can travel on just the transportation letter from the Embassy. Is the stamp something I need to have while waiting for the new card? And is there a fee for that?

Thank you again!

The embassy will tell you what the score is with the process for the transportation letter - I have no personal experience of it and no idea about fees.

The transportation letter + your UK passport will be sufficient to board back to the US and go through immigration, although you will probably be subjected to secondary while they verify the details. The transportation letters I believe are one-time use only but it will get you back to the US successfully which is the primary aim here.

After that, you will still need the stamp after you receive your extension letter, as it will act as your proof of status instead of your expired card+extension letter. The extension letter by itself is a nothing and would leave you in the same situation as now.

When you get back to the US, take the extension letter and scans of GC with you, plus a copy of your (used) transportation letter to an infopass appointment and your passport, clearly explain the situation and why you need a stamp, and all *should* be well.

Edited by mindthegap

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How did you get on?  Did you go to the London Embassy for a transportation letter and pay the extortionate fee? I don't understand why a transportation letter would cost $565, I just can't get my head around it to be honest.  Am I right in thinking if you have a 1551 stamp in your passport then you dont need the transportation letter?  I am very confused about this.   I do know that a lost or stolen card takes at least 4 months as I lost mine coming through Philadelphia airport and had to apply for a new one, so pointless as by the time you receive one then it will be out of date.

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10 hours ago, shell20 said:

How did you get on?  Did you go to the London Embassy for a transportation letter and pay the extortionate fee? I don't understand why a transportation letter would cost $565, I just can't get my head around it to be honest.  Am I right in thinking if you have a 1551 stamp in your passport then you dont need the transportation letter?  I am very confused about this.   I do know that a lost or stolen card takes at least 4 months as I lost mine coming through Philadelphia airport and had to apply for a new one, so pointless as by the time you receive one then it will be out of date.

Hi shell20, thanks for asking. I just got back from my trip yesterday, and wanted to wait and see that everything would work at immigration before I followed up. I was really lucky in the end, and got an emergency passport stamp, for free. Here's what happened:

 

- As suggested above, I got in touch with the London Embassy. Found out the fee for the transportation letter, etc., and was about to book an appointment and pay the fee, but thought I'd wait an extra day to look for my green card.

- The next day (two days before my trip), I received my NOA1 letter. Once I had that, I thought I'd try calling USCIS one more time. This time I managed to get through to a real person (not easy!), who told me that because I had already submitted my ROC request and received my NOA1, I was not eligible for a replacement green card, but was eligible for an i-551 stamp in my passport. What's more, she said it was free! I explained that I had been trying to get an InfoPass appointment at a USCIS center, but they were all booked up. She said that in an emergency situation (i.e. when traveling in a few days time), the center would accept a walk-in.

- The following morning, I went to the Federal Plaza USCIS center. Nobody asked for an appointment letter at security. When I was in, I was directed to a room at the back on the ground floor, where they dealt with appointments, etc. I explained my situation to one of the staff members (showing her my NOA1, my passport, and my itinerary), and she gave me an immediate appointment. Half an hour later, I had a stamp in my passport. The whole thing took no more than 45 minutes.

- When checking in at Heathrow to return, I showed my NOA1 letter and passport stamp. Then, at immigration at JFK, I mistakenly only showed my passport (I had the NOA1 in my hand ready to show, but wasn't asked for it -- should have told the guy, though). Probably because of this, I was held back for about half an hour, but as soon as another officer looked at the letter and stamp, I was admitted.

 

So, to summarise for anyone else in this situation:

1. Call USCIS and speak to a real person: the rules always have exceptions that aren't publicised, and this turns out to be one of them.

2. If you have submitted your ROC and received your NOA1, you should be eligible for a free i-551 stamp in your passport. That might even be the case if you haven't received your NOA1 -- but I'm not sure.

3. If you have a travel emergency, you can do a walk in, at least at the Federal Plaza office (and given how busy that one is, I imagine that would apply elsewhere).

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Thanks for sharing!  I am SO glad it worked out for you!!  My situation right now is pretty dire, if not horrendous.   It makes me wonder why I bother with the immigration process as it has been one, complete nightmare from the off set.

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1 hour ago, fgcm said:

Hi shell20, thanks for asking. I just got back from my trip yesterday, and wanted to wait and see that everything would work at immigration before I followed up. I was really lucky in the end, and got an emergency passport stamp, for free. Here's what happened:

 

- As suggested above, I got in touch with the London Embassy. Found out the fee for the transportation letter, etc., and was about to book an appointment and pay the fee, but thought I'd wait an extra day to look for my green card.

- The next day (two days before my trip), I received my NOA1 letter. Once I had that, I thought I'd try calling USCIS one more time. This time I managed to get through to a real person (not easy!), who told me that because I had already submitted my ROC request and received my NOA1, I was not eligible for a replacement green card, but was eligible for an i-551 stamp in my passport. What's more, she said it was free! I explained that I had been trying to get an InfoPass appointment at a USCIS center, but they were all booked up. She said that in an emergency situation (i.e. when traveling in a few days time), the center would accept a walk-in.

- The following morning, I went to the Federal Plaza USCIS center. Nobody asked for an appointment letter at security. When I was in, I was directed to a room at the back on the ground floor, where they dealt with appointments, etc. I explained my situation to one of the staff members (showing her my NOA1, my passport, and my itinerary), and she gave me an immediate appointment. Half an hour later, I had a stamp in my passport. The whole thing took no more than 45 minutes.

- When checking in at Heathrow to return, I showed my NOA1 letter and passport stamp. Then, at immigration at JFK, I mistakenly only showed my passport (I had the NOA1 in my hand ready to show, but wasn't asked for it -- should have told the guy, though). Probably because of this, I was held back for about half an hour, but as soon as another officer looked at the letter and stamp, I was admitted.

 

So, to summarise for anyone else in this situation:

1. Call USCIS and speak to a real person: the rules always have exceptions that aren't publicised, and this turns out to be one of them.

2. If you have submitted your ROC and received your NOA1, you should be eligible for a free i-551 stamp in your passport. That might even be the case if you haven't received your NOA1 -- but I'm not sure.

3. If you have a travel emergency, you can do a walk in, at least at the Federal Plaza office (and given how busy that one is, I imagine that would apply elsewhere).

Thanks a lot for all this helpful info! Happy it worked out smoothly for you! great job!

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Wow that was lucky.. I had to get in contact with my local senator to get my stamp when I lost my wallet. The guy at the uscis told me he needed to see my greencard to get the stamp.. I also found out in August this year that the I-751 petitions for ROC were only now being processed from July 15  2016 or before.. So I'm in the process of finding out if i need an extension of the 1 year because my letter runs out in Febuary.

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