The process for replacing a lost "Green Card" by filing a Form I-90 takes a very long time. While I recommend that you take that course, you also may make an INFOPASS appointment to get a temporary stamp in your passport that will serve as temporary evidence of your status and will allow you to travel (although you should expect to be subjected to "secondary inspection" when you return because passport stamps are not as tamper-resistant as an original "Green Card.").
If you received Conditional Residency because at time of approval you had been married less than two years, then it will become necessary for you to file a Petition to Remove Condition in order to get a regular ("10-year") Green Card. Generally, you may apply upon completion of your divorce if that happens sooner than 21 months following the grant of Conditional Residence, otherwise you must file between 21 and 24 months following the grant of Conditional Residence. As you may expect, very persuasive evidence of the bona fide nature of your marriage will be necessary, and it would be wise to engage an immigration attorney to help you with that important step.
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David N. Soloway
Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C.
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Atlanta, Georgia 30345 www.fspklaw.com
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I recently filed an I-90 for a replacement alien registration ("green") card just a couple of months ago and it was already approved, so what used to take a long time takes much less time today because not a lot of people are filing cases, and the government has a lot of employees to handle immigration cases.
When you file an I-90, you get a receipt. Depending on where you live, there could be a local procedure for getting a stamp in your passport as further evidence of your permanent residence to make it easier to travel by simply relying on the receipt. In some parts of the country, the receipt alone could be enough to travel, but if it's possible to get the stamp, then that's better to have.
If you have proof that you entered your marriage in good faith, you can divorce at any time and still keep your green card. Whether married or divorced, or in the process of divorcing, you need to file to remove the conditions on your permanent residence. These cases can be tricky if you are divorcing and your marriage has not ended within the window ending three months before your permanent residence is two years old.
Sometimes I tell people I think they can handle their immigration case on their own. This is not one of them. In a case like yours, with various unusual issues, you should be represented to apply for the I-90 and remove the conditions on your permanent residence.
Alice Yardum-Hunter, Attorney, Certified Specialist, Immigration & Nationality Law
State Bar of CA, Bd. of Legal Specialization