Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues Permanent Resident Cards (I-551) to immigrants who are legally admitted for residence in the United States. Permanent Resident Cards (commonly known as “Green Cards”) can only be issued or replaced in the United States and cannot be obtained overseas.
If you have one of the following items, a boarding foil is not required:
These individuals should consult their 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,
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 Unites States, you should ask a friend or relative there to send you the card.
If your Green Card has been lost, stolen, or destroyed, you may be able to obtain a “Boarding Foil” valid for 30 days or less, for a single entry. To issue a “Boarding Foil”, the consular officer interviews you to confirm that you hold a Lawful Permanent Resident status in the United States.
How to apply
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.
- If you plan to file a Form I-131A to apply for a LPR boarding foil, 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.
- 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. When having 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 to USCIS .
Step 2: Schedule an appointment
To request an appointment, submit the Appointment Request Form on our webpage. We will email you an appointment. Note: Boarding Foils can only be processed during normal business hours on an appointment basis at U.S. Embassy Tokyo, U.S. Consulate Generals Osaka and Naha. We cannot process Boarding Foil requests on weekends, 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 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 departure date from the U.S.)
- 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 loss or stolen. Detailed explanation is required as to when and to whom you reported loss or theft of the card, if police report is not available
- One passport-style color photograph with white background taken within 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. The normal processing time can be as little as a few working days. Also, at least two visits to the embassy or consulate are required. (i.e. One for the interview, the other one for picking up your passport when approved.)