U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues Permanent Resident Cards (I-551) to immigrants who are legally admitted to reside 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 an applicant has one of the following items, a boarding foil is not required:
You should consult your air carrier prior to applying for a Boarding Foil (completion of an I-131A form and payment of the fee).
- Orders from the U.S. government (civilian or military) showing that time spent outside the United States was on official U.S. government business.
- 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
Note: 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 a specified length of time, generally one year.
- A valid Re-entry Permit.
If you have left your Green Card in the Unites States, you should ask a friend or relative in the United States 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 maximum 30 days for a single entry. To issue a “Boarding Foil”, an interview with a consular officer is required 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 the fee is not refundable regardless of the decision on the application.
- You must bring either a printed email receipt or a confirmation page when you appear in person to file Form I-131A. USCIS will not provide applicants an I-131A fee refund if an individual should have applied for a SB-1 instead of a Boarding Foil.
Step 2: Schedule an appointment.
You must request an appointment at a Mission Germany Consular Section.
- For U.S. Embassy Berlin, please send an email to ConsBerlin@state.gov.
- For U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt, please complete this Appointment Request Form. For general inquiries you may also contact the Immigrant Visa Unit in Frankfurt at FrnUSCISInquiries@state.gov
- For U.S. Consulate General Munich, please send an email to ConsMunich@state.gov.
You will receive an email confirming your appointment date. Note: Boarding Foils are processed during normal business hours only.. We do not process Boarding Foil requests on weekends, after hours, or on U.S. or German national holidays.
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 or a confirmation page
- Valid passport
- Your airplane tickets (the ticket showing your last 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 to prove the Green Card was lost 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 U.S. passport size photo 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. It normally takes 2-3 business days to issue a Boarding Foil.