U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues alien registration cards (I-551) to immigrants who are legally admitted for residence in the United States. Alien registration cards (commonly known as “green cards”) can only be issued or replaced in the United States and can never be obtained overseas. A green card is required for re-entry into the United States as a legal permanent resident.
If you have one of the following items, a boarding foil is not required:
You should consult the air carrier prior to applying for a boarding foil (completion of an I-131A form and payment of the fee).
- An expired Permanent Resident Card with a 10-year expiration date,
- An expired Permanent Resident Card (with a two-year validity), and a Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating that status is extended,
Note: If you have an expired Green Card with a 2-year expiration date AND a Form I-797, Notice of Action, showing that they have filed a Form I-751 or Form I-829 to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status, the Form I-797 extends the validity of the card for a specified length of time, generally one year.
- Orders from the U.S. government (civilian or military) showing that time outside the U.S. was on official government business.
- A valid Reentry Permit.
If you have left your Green Card in the United States, you should ask a friend or relative there to send you the card.
If your Green Card has been lost, stolen, or expired, you may be able to obtain a “Boarding Foil” valid for 30 days, for a single entry authorizing a transportation line to carry you to the United States without penalty. To issue a “Boarding Foil”, we must be satisfied that you hold legal resident status in the United States.
How to apply for a boarding foil:
Step 1: Pay the I-131A filing fee online.
- Pay the filing fee using a credit or debit card or U.S. bank account through the USCIS online payment system ELIS. Be sure to read the instructions before you pay as this fee is not refundable regardless of the decision on the application. Applicants will need their A number in order to pay the fee, which they may obtain from the nearest USCIS office if they do not have it.
- If you plan to file the I-131A Form, please note that you must pay the filing fee online on the USCIS website before appearing in person at a 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. USCIS will also not provide applicants an I-131A fee payment refund if the individual should have applied for an SB-1 instead of a boarding foil.
Step 2: Prepare the following documents
- A completed I-131A Form
- Copy of payment receipt for the I-131A online, i.e., a printed email receipt notice or confirmation page
- Unexpired passport
- Your airplane tickets (the one ticket showing your most recent departure date from the U.S.). DO NOT buy non-changeable tickets to return to the U.S. until you have received your boarding foil.
- Evidence of your U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident status (e.g., passport showing the admission stamp to the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident, copy of your green card if available)
- Evidence that you were in the United States within the last 12 months
- Police report from when the card was lost or stolen
- One passport-style color photograph with white background taken within 30 days. Note: Applicants are not permitted to wear eyeglasses in the photos.
Requests boarding foils can only be processed during normal business hours. We cannot process requests on weekends, holidays, or in the evening.
Processing time will depend on the circumstances of your case and the amount of information and evidence you provide. The normal processing time is three to five working days from the time of your interview with a consular officer, but individual circumstances can vary. At least two visits to the embassy are required. (i.e., one for the interview, and one for picking up your passport with a boarding foil when approved.)
Step 3: Make an appointment to come to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta for an interview with a consular officer
- Email JakIV@state.gov with “Apply for a Boarding Foil” as the email subject to request an appointment time
- When you come to your appointment, you need to have all the documents in step 2 already prepared and bring them with you. If you do not have these completed documents with you, the consular officer will be unable to interview you and you will need to make another appointment for a later date