Permanent resident cards (commonly known as “green cards”) can only be issued or replaced in the U.S. and can never be obtained overseas. A green card is required for re-entry into the U.S. as a permanent resident. If you left your green card in the U.S., you should arrange for someone to send it to you. If your green card has been lost, stolen or destroyed and you have been outside of the U.S. for less than 364 days without a Permit to Reenter the U.S., you may be able to obtain a “boarding foil” authorizing an air carrier to carry you to the U.S without penalty. It is important to highlight that the boarding foil does not guarantee entry into the U.S. and that the Department of Homeland Security is the final authority for entry. It serves only to exempt the air carrier from penalty under section 273(b).
Applying for a boarding foil
If you plan to file a Form I-131A to apply for a LPR boarding foil, you must pay the filing fee online on the USCIS website before appearing in person at any 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. You may find additional information on and instructions for the I-131A on the I-131A Form and Instructions page.
Once this payment has been made, individuals seeking a boarding foil should send an email to PragueIVP@state.gov and include scanned copies of the following:
- Completed and signed Form I-131A
- Evidence of payment (i.e. printed email receipt notice or confirmation page)
- Unexpired passport valid for six (6) months beyond your intended date of return to the U.S.
- Evidence of your identity (driver license card, local ID with photo)
- Airplane tickets showing your departure date from the U.S.
- Evidence of your U.S. legal resident status (i.e. passport showing admission to the United States as an immigrant)
- Evidence that you were in the United States within the last 12 months
- Copy of your report to the police of the card’s loss/theft or detailed explanation as to why you do not have your card
- 1 recent passport-style photograph, please see photo requirements
Once you have sent the required documents, the consular section will confirm an appointment date and time to assist you. Do not show up without a confirmed appointment as you will not be allowed an appointment if you have not scheduled it in advance. Processing time will depend on the circumstances of your case and the amount of information and evidence you provide. The time required can be several days. We strongly suggest not purchasing your airline tickets until you have received your boarding foil.
NOTE: Boarding foils are only processed during normal business hours. Requests will not be processed on weekends, holidays, or after hours. An I-131A fee will only be refunded in the event of U.S. government error. USCIS will not process a refund if an applicant later determines that a LPR boarding foil was unnecessary. Please contact the relevant USCIS Field Office for more information.