Permanent Resident Alien Registration Cards (commonly known as Form I-551 or “green cards”) can be issued or replaced only by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A Legal Permanent Resident whose green card has been lost /stolen or expired while out of the U.S. for less than one year (or prior to the expiration of a re-entry permit) may apply for a boarding foil to return to the United States. In order for the Embassy/Consulate to issue such a foil, the applicant must appear in person at the Embassy/Consulate to be interviewed by a Consular Officer. This process can take several weeks. Therefore, if you simply left your green card behind in the United States, please ask your relatives to mail it to your current address in Pakistan using a secure courier or express mail service.
Please note: If you have been outside of the U.S. for more than one year, you are likely not eligible for a boarding foil. Instead, you may apply for returning resident status. Information on maintaining permanent resident status can be found on the USCIS website.
All requests for boarding foils are handled by appointment only. But before you set an appointment for boarding foil you need to Apply for Carrier Documentation.
The Form I-131A is the only application form used for this service. Consular sections will no longer accept Form I-90 in conjunction with boarding foil applications, and will instead require boarding foil applicants to complete Form I-131A. The service will incur a $360 fee, which applicants must pay through the USCIS online payment system (ELIS) before setting an appointment at the U.S. Embassy/ Consulate. Applicants will need their A number in order to pay the fee, which they may obtain from the nearest USCIS office.
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 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.
You may find additional information on and instructions for the I-131A on the I-131A Form and Instructions page.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can the I-131A fee paid to USCIS be refunded? 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.
What evidence can LPRs present at an airport, rather than applying for a boarding foil? To enter the U.S., a LPR may present at least one of the following items in place of a boarding foil:
- An expired Permanent Resident Card with a 10-year expiration date,
- A valid 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. These individuals should consult their air carrier prior to completion of an I-131A and payment of the fee.
Where can I obtain my A number or find out more information? Please direct your inquiries to the nearest USCIS field office location.
To schedule an appointment with the Consular Section at U.S. Embassy Islamabad (covering all of Pakistan except for the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan); please send an email using the form on our website. Under Topic, please select “Other.” In the Message section, please specify that you would like to request an appointment for a boarding foil. Please make sure to provide accurate contact information including phone numbers in Pakistan and your email address. Please also provide your ‘A’ number and the exact date of your last departure from the United States. We will return your email within a few days with a date/time for the appointment. To schedule an appointment with the Consular Section at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi (covering the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan), please send your e-mails to U.S. Consulate Karachi using the form on our website
On the day of your appointment, please be prepared to present the following documents:
- Evidence of your identity (your passport, photo ID card, etc.) It is useful to have multiple forms of photo identification to show the Consular Officer.
- Evidence of your U.S. legal resident status (e.g. your passport showing admission to the United States as an immigrant.)
- Evidence of date that you last departed the United States (e.g. your airplane tickets or boarding passes showing your departure.)
- Completed I-131A
- Copy of your police report such as a First Incident Report (FIR) of the card’s loss/theft.
- 1 passport photograph (see our photograph requirements.)
Important: Requests for boarding foils are handled only during regular office hours – we cannot process requests on weekends, holidays, or after working hours. Processing time varies depending on the particular circumstances of your case and the amount of information and evidence you provide at the time of your appointment. Please do not purchase a plane ticket to return to the United States until the boarding foil has been issued in your passport. As it can take several weeks or even months for the boarding foil application to be processed, we urge you to plan appropriately.