New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Transportation Letter or Boarding Foil

Author: US green card lawyer Alena Shautsova

Recently I have received many requests for assistances from my clients, permanent resident (LPR) who left the country and lost their green cards abroad. They asked me if there is a way for them to come back to the United States without applying for a green card.

Yes, there is a way. A lawful permanent resident (LPR) who was in possession of a 10 year green card has to go to the United States embassy in the country he/she is located currently. The person will have to make an appointment with the embassy.

The purpose of going to the embassy is to apply for a transportation letter of boarding foil. It is a special permission to board a plane heading for the United States given to a green card holder who lost his green card.

Boarding Foils or Transportation letters are valid for 30 days and may be issued only to permanent residents who stayed outside of the United States for less than a year.

What are the requirements for obtaining a boarding foil? They slightly differ in each embassy, but in general the following documents need to be provided to the embassy:

  • Photo ID (passport; student ID; driver’s license, etc).
  • Evidence showing the date when you last departed from the U.S. (e-tickets, boarding passes, etc.);
  • Evidence showing that you acquired U.S. legal resident status (copy of your immigrant visa, USCIS admission stamp in your passport, etc.);
  • Evidence showing that you maintained residence in the U.S. while temporarily visiting country where you are at now and/or other countries overseas (information about your employment in the U.S., tax returns, family situation, etc.);
  • Police report if your green card and/or other travel documents have been stolen;
  • One color photograph (5x5cm) of your full face, front view, eyes open against a light background taken within the last six months.
  • The embassies don’t charge a fee for this request.

    What to do if the green card already expired? What if the green card was not for 10 but for 2 years?

    You can read more about Transportation letters at

    If you have immigration concerns, consult a skilled green card lawyer at 917-885-2261 and find out about your options.

31 October 2012
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