Can Someone Travel Back to the U.S. if They Lost Their Green Card?

Lost Green Card AbroadGreen card holders travel abroad for different reasons. While some travel for business purposes, others travel to spend quality time overseas with their friends and families. One important thing they will need to remember during their trip is to keep their travel documents, including their green cards, safe. Without a green card, they may not be able to get back to the U.S. That is because without proper evidence to support their lawful permanent resident status in the U.S., they will not even be allowed to board a flight to the country.

Losing all their important documents or their green cards abroad can be very stressful. On losing a green card, many will first attempt to file the green card replacement application, Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, to get a new card. Unfortunately, they cannot file this form and get a new card while in a foreign country. What they need to do is to get a boarding foil, which was earlier known as transportation letter.

Anyone who lost their green card outside of the U.S. will first need to

  • notify the police department about the lost green card and obtain a police report and
  • visit the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and request a boarding foil.

The boarding foil they get from the overseas embassy or consulate will let them fly back to the U.S. It must be remembered that a boarding foil does not guarantee entry into the U.S. At the port of entry, they will be inspected by immigration authorities who will decide whether or not to grant them entry into the U.S.

An overseas consular officer may be able to issue a boarding foil if the officer is able to confirm the applicant’s legal permanent resident status. The legal permanent resident needs to be present at the consular office in person to report loss of green card and to request a boarding foil. They will need to pay the required fee and also submit the police report.

The applicant will also be required to complete Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Neither will the overseas consular office collect the filing fee for the I-90 application nor send the form to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services. The requirement to complete the form is only for data collection purposes. The form will be scanned and returned to the applicant.

A boarding foil will be issued once the identity of the applicant is verified. This foil will be valid for a 30 day period. Upon arrival in the U.S., the legal permanent resident will need to submit Form I-90 for green card replacement with the exact fees.