** LEGAL UPDATE **
After massive problems with its online application filing system (which it had originally thought would be finished in 2013) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has scaled back its ambitions so that only Form I-90, which is used by lawful permanent residents to renew or replace a green card, can be filed online.
All other immigration forms must be filed by mail. And that's probably the best way to file Form I-90 as well, given recent reports of trouble with the online filing system.
A November, 2016 report by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) found that over the past three years, USCIS produced at least 19,000 green cards that included wrong information or were issued in duplicate. And most of the problems could be traced right back to the online filing system.
What's more, over the same three-year period, USCIS received over 200,000 reports from approved applicants about missing green cards, based in part on cards being sent to wrong addresses because the online processes for updating addresses is complex.
You would think this problem would be serious enough to warrant quick action—after all, as the OIG report noted, "In the wrong hands, Green Cards may enable terrorists, criminals, and illegal aliens to remain in the United States and access immigrant benefits"—but if USCIS were capable of a quick resolution, this system would have been up and running long before.
The bottom line is, you might want to play it safe and file by mail, if you don't want to see your application get scrambled in a clunky computer system. See Filling Out USCIS Form I-90 to Renew or Replace Green Card for help with this process.
Effective Date: January, 2017