A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States who has stayed abroad for less than one year or within the validity of an I-327 (re-entry permit) and wishes to re-enter the United States must present a Green Card (Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card) in order to board a flight to the United States. If your Green Card has been lost, stolen, or damaged, you can apply for a Boarding Foil, which allows the airline to transport you back to the United States. This document is valid for a single entry within 30 days.
Please note that even if you have a valid I-551, remaining outside the United States for more than one year or beyond the validity of I-327 (re-entry permit), whichever comes later, may result in a loss of Lawful Permanent Resident status. For details, please visit our Maintaining Permanent Resident Status page.
If you are outside the United States for less than one year or within the validity of your Re-Entry permit (I-327) and you have one of the following items, a Boarding Foil is not required:
- 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,
- Orders from the U.S. government (civilian or military) showing that time outside the U.S. was on official government business.
- A valid Re-entry Permit.
If you meet criteria 1 or 2 above, consult your air carrier prior to completion of an I-131A and payment of the fee.
If you have an expired Green Card with a 2-year expiration date AND a Form I-797, Notice of Action, showing that you have filed a Form I-751 or Form I-829 to remove the conditions on your Permanent Resident status, the Form I-797 extends the validity of the card for the length of time specified on the form.
- If you have left your Green Card in the United States, ask a friend or relative there to send you the card.
- If your Form I-751/I-829 is in pending status, or if your Form I-797, Notice of Action, with valid conditional status extension, has been lost, stolen, or destroyed, you may be able to apply for a Boarding Foil.
- Effective September 4, 2021, USCIS is extending the time that receipt notices can be used to show evidence of status for a specified length of time. Conditional Permanent Residents who properly file Form I-751 or Form I-829 will receive a receipt notice. If you have not received the receipt notice, please contact USCIS.
How to apply
Step 1: Pay the I-131A filing fee online.
- If you plan to file Form I-131A to apply for an LPR boarding foil, you must pay the nonrefundable filing fee online before appearing in person at a consular section. Information on the form and fee is located at the USCIS I-131A page. 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. You will need an Alien Registration Number (A-Number) to pay the fee. If you do not to have it, contact USCIS
- Q: Where can I obtain my A-Number?
A: Please check your A-Number on your Green Card if you have a photocopy of the lost Green Card. Check your “Registration Number” on your immigrant visa for your A-Number if you have had an immigrant visa issued before. If you entered the United States with a Green Card in the past, you may find your A-Number written beside the U.S. immigration stamp in your passport page. If you have none of those, please inquire with USCIS.
Step 2: Schedule an appointment
To request an appointment, submit the Appointment Request Form on our webpage. We will email you an appointment date and time. Note: Boarding Foils can only be processed during normal business hours on an appointment basis at U.S. Embassy Tokyo and U.S. Consulates General Osaka and Naha. We cannot process Boarding Foil requests on weekends or holidays, after hours, or without an appointment.
Step 3: Bring the following documents
- A completed Form I-131A Page 1 – 3 (and page 4-5 if applicable)
- Copy of I-131A payment receipt (printed email receipt notice or confirmation page)
- Valid passport
- Your airplane ticket showing your departure date from the United States
- 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. If none is available, a detailed explanation of when and to whom you reported loss or theft of the card
- One passport-style color photograph with white background taken in the last 30 days.
Note: applicants are not permitted to wear eyeglasses in the photos.
Processing time will depend on the circumstances of your case and the amount of information and evidence you provide. Processing time can be as little as a few working days, but Boarding Foils are not available for pickup on the same day as the initial interview. Your Boarding Foil can be returned by prepaid, self-addressed Japan Post LetterPack, or by in-person pickup at the embassy or consulate.