If your legal permanent resident card (“green card”) has been lost or stolen, you will need a boarding foil to travel back to the United States as a legal permanent resident. A boarding foil looks similar to a visa, is placed in your passport like a visa, and allows you to be boarded by an airline for a flight back and to apply for entry to the United States without your legal permanent resident card.
Only those who have been outside the United States for less than a year are eligible to receive a boarding foil.
Because the application for a boarding foil can be complicated, please plan to come to the Embassy at least one week before your expected departure back to the United States.
If you need to apply for a boarding foil, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Form and Fee
To provide U.S. LPRs with a unified process to request a boarding foil while overseas, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) created a new Form (I-131A), Application for Travel Document (Carrier Evidence). USCIS also established an associated processing fee of USD $575 starting in January 2017. Lawful Permanent Residents will need their alien registration number, or “A-Number”, to pay the online fee.
Starting September 30, 2016, the new Form I-131A is the only application form accepted for this service. If you plan to file a Form I-131A to apply for a Lawful Permanent Resident boarding foil, please note that you must pay the filing fee online on the USCIS website before appearing in person at the consular section. Information on the new form and fee is located here. You must bring evidence of payment, in the form of a printed email receipt notice or confirmation page, when you appear in person to file Form I-131A. As with all immigration fees, USCIS does not issue refunds, regardless of the decision on the application
Where can I obtain my A number or find out more information?
Returning Resident (SB-1) Visas
Legal Permanent Residents, also known as “green-card” holders, who remain outside the United States for longer than one year without prior Department of Homeland Security permission lose their permanent resident status and require a new immigrant (SB-1) visa to return to the United States.
An exception is made for those who obtain a re-entry permit before departing the United States. Re-entry permits may be issued for a period of up to two years.
Green-card holders who have been out of the United States for more than one year and wish to return to the United States to reside there may be eligible for a new immigrant visa, known as a returning resident (SB-1) visa. They must demonstrate, however, that they did not intend to abandon their U.S. residence when they departed the United States and that they remained outside the United States for longer than permitted for reasons beyond their control.
For further questions about Returning Resident visas please e-mail ReykjavikConsular@state.gov.
It is important to note that USCIS will not provide applicants a -131A fee payment refund if the individual should have applied for an SB-1 instead of a boarding foil.
What if my Lawful Permanent Resident card is expired?
A boarding foil is not required if you are a Lawful Permanent Resident AND:
- You are in possession of an expired Permanent Resident Card with a 10-year expiration date);
- An Permanent Resident Card (with a 2-year expiration date) and valid Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating that status is extended; or
- You have orders from the U.S. Government (civilian or military) showing the time outside the U.S. was on official government business.
If you fall into one of the above categories, we encourage you to consult your air carrier prior to paying for Form I-131A.