Green Card Holders

A Green Card holder (permanent resident) is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a “Green Card.”

A lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States is required to present a valid unexpired Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as “Green Card”) at the airline counter if seeking readmission to the U.S. after a temporary absence of less than one year.

If you are an LPR wishing to return to the U.S. soon and you don’t have your I-551, Green Card, for the following reasons:

  • Lost
  • Stolen
  • Expired conditional Green Card
  • Expired 10-year Green Card
  • Not yet received, and the stamp affixed in your passport “Processed for I-551” has expired

You will need a Boarding Foil in order to board a commercial airline flight to the U.S.

Note: If you left your Green Card in the United States you should ask a relative or friend there to send you the card by express mail.

How to Apply for a Boarding Foil

The following are the only locations in Brazil in where you can apply for a Boarding Foil:

  • U.S. Embassy in Brasilia
  • U.S. Consulate General in Sao Paulo
  • U.S. Consulate General in Recife
  • U.S. Consulate General in Porto Alegre
  • U.S. Consulate General in Rio de janeiro

To apply for a Boarding Foil in Brasilia:

To have your Boarding Foil processed in Brasilia, please prepare the required documents listed below and send them scanned to: Brasiliavisa@state.gov. If all documents are correct, the Consular Section will contact you by e-mail to schedule your application interview. Any missing documents will delay your appointment scheduling. After the interview and if the application is approved, the boarding foil will be available for you to pick up at the Consular Section.

To apply for a Boarding Foil in São Paulo:

To have your Boarding Foil processed in Sao Paulo please prepare the required documents listed below and send them scanned to: SaoPauloLPR@state.gov. If all documents are correct, the Consulate will contact you by e-mail to schedule your application interview. Any missing documents will delay your appointment scheduling. After the interview and if the application is approved, the Boarding Foil will be available for you to pick up at the Consulate

To apply for a Boarding Foil in Recife:

To have your Boarding Foil processed in Recife please prepare all the required documents listed below and contact the Visa unit at Recifevisa@state.gov or call (81) 3416-3050 to schedule an appointment.

To apply for a Boarding Foil in Porto Alegre:

To have your Boarding Foil processed in Porto Alegre please prepare the required documents listed below and schedule a service with the American Citizen Services Section (ACS). The ACS unit works by appointment only. To schedule an appointment click here and choose ” notary and other services”.

To apply for a Boarding Foil in Rio de Janeiro:

To have your boarding foill processed in Rio please prepare all the documents listed below, and  schedule  an interview with the Consulate.

The Scheduling process step-by-step:

  • Register at the scheduling site and follow the instructions to create and activate your account. Make sure you are in the “Immigrant Visa” section of the website;
  • Please choose: “I am a Legal Permanent resident outside the U.S. for less than one year with an expired lost or stolen card”, as your classification. You will need to provide your old “Green Card” number – this is a 8-digit number that begins with “A”;
  • Choose your preferred delivery option for receiving the visa if your application is approved and enter your address if you choose home delivery. If you wish, you may choose to pick up your visa at one of the Applicant Service Center (ASC) offices;
  • Schedule an appointment for your interview at the Consulate in Rio de Janeiro;
  • Print your confirmation page and bring it to the Consulate on the day of your interview along with all the required documents listed below.

Required Documents to apply for a Boarding Foil at the Embassy or Consulates:

You must prepare and bring the documents listed below on your interview date. Please don`t send us any document by e-mail.

  • Valid Passport;
  • Fill out form I-131A;
  • Copy of your green card or other official document that shows your resident status;
  • Evidency of the online payment of the I-131A fee (Copy of receipt or confirmation page – Instructions on how to pay can be obtained in the form itself or directly at the USCIS website.
  • One passport photo (5X7cm);
  • Proof of removal of your conditional status – In case you have a conditional card with two year validity ant it is expired;
  • Boarding pass or airline statement showing the date of your last departure from the United States.

Important: All documents you may have sent to the Consulate by e-mail or mail must be brought on your interview date. The fact that you may have sent documentation by email or mail does not exempt you from bringing it in the appointment date. Your request may be denied and you will need to reschedule if any document is missing. All applicable original documents will be returned to you after the interview.

What if I have remained outside the U.S. for more than a year?

DHS will not issue a Boarding Foil to Green Card holders who have been outside of the U.S. for more than 364 days without a Permit to Reenter the U.S. or a Returning Resident Visa. You may apply for a Returning Resident Visa. Please see the instructions for a Returning Resident Visa application in this page.

What if I have an expired 10-year validity Green Card?

If you have an expired 10-year Green Card, you will be required to request a Boarding Foil.

Conditional Permanent Residents in possession of expired green Card must continue to have evidence that their Green Card expiration date has been extended.

If you are an LPR with an expired Green Card, you may not need to file Form I-131A. We encourage you to check with your airline or vessel before filing Form I-131A.

Although regulations generally require an LPR to travel with a valid Green Card, CBP policy permits a transportation carrier bound for the United States to board an LPR without carrier documentation if you:

  • Are an LPR with an expired Green Card that was issued with a 10-year expiration date; or
  • Are an LPR who has an expired Green Card with a 2-year expiration date AND you also have Form I-797, Notice of Action, showing that you filed a Form I-751 or Form I-829 to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status. The Notice of Action extends the validity of the card for a specified length of time, generally one year.

What if I lost my Green Card but I have a Reentry Permit?

If you have a valid unexpired Reentry Permit, you will be able to board a commercial carrier in order to return to the U.S. as a permanent resident. No Boarding Foil is required.

Will I be questioned or interviewed at the Consulate or Embassy?

The Consular officer will review all documents presented and determine if you are eligible for the Boarding Foil. Your identity will be confirmed at a Consulate or Embassy to process your Boarding Foil.  Any person committing fraud or attempting to deceive U.S. officials will be turned over immediately to the Brazilian Civil Police.

Notes:

  • DHS normally requires 5 business days to confirm your legal permanent status in the U.S. before the Embassy or a Consulate can issue a Boarding Foil. 
  • If the Boarding Foil is granted, it will be valid for 30 days for one single entry to the United States. You should not schedule travel arrangements until after the Consul has determined that you are eligible for the Boarding Foil.
  • A Boarding Foil is not a benefit provided for by statute. It is temporary proof of status provided for an LPR to board a passenger aircraft to the return to the U.S.
  • A Boarding Foil is not an entry document, and does not replace the expectation for a traveler to present a valid passport to the DHS officials at the port of entry in the U.S. Permission to re-enter the U.S. as a legal permanent resident with a Boarding Foil or with an expired Green Card will be determined by the Department of Homeland Security Inspectors at your first port-of-entry.

The Immigrant Visa Law, 9 FAM 42.22, states that every Resident Alien (Green Card holder) CANNOT stay outside the U.S. for the period of 1(one) year, otherwise they will lose their immigrant status.

Exception is made for those who obtained a reentry permit from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before departing the United States. Reentry Permit holders can remain outside of the United States for up to two years from the date the permit is issued.

Green card holders who have been out of the United States for more than one year and wish to return to the United States to reside there may be eligible for a new immigrant visa, known as Returning Resident Visa, provided they can demonstrate:

  • that they did not intend to abandon their U.S. residence when they departed the United States;
  • that they remained outside the United States for no longer than the permitted period for reasons beyond their control;
  • proof of Legal Permanent Residency (copy of Green Card) and;
  • proof of the Removal of the Conditional if applicant was under Conditional status. (Green Card valid for two years).

Persons who can demonstrate the above may apply for a Returning Resident Visa. The applicant should pay an application fee and fill out form DS-117 and attach the documentation that demonstrate the requirements above. If you have problems to access the online DS-117, the Consular Section can provide it to you on the day you appear at the Consulate. Please check the fee list for the appropriate value that must be paid at the Consulate’s cashier. If the application is not accepted, a new immigrant visa process will need to be filed. You are not prevented from applying for a Returning Resident visa process, although it is not guaranteed that this application will be approved.  Please, have in mind that if application is not approved by the interviewing officer, the fee paid is not reimbursable.

How to file the DS-117 petition

The following are the only locations in Brazil in where you can file the DSP-117:

  • U.S. Embassy in Brasilia
  • U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro
  • U.S. Consulate General in Sao Paulo
  • U.S. Consulate General in Recife
  • U.S. Consulate General in Porto Alegre

If you wish to file your DS-117 in Brasilia, Recife, São Paulo or Porto Alegre:

Please schedule an on-line appointment with the American Citizen Services Unit (ACS). The ACS Unit operates by appointment only.  To schedule the service for your DS-117 please choose “notarial and other services” in the ACS on-line scheduling system. To schedule an appointment in Brasilia please click here. To schedule an appointment in Recife please click here. To schedule an appointment in Sao Paulo please click here. To schedule an appointment in Porto Alegre please click here.

If you wish to file your DS-117 in Rio de Janeiro:

To apply for your returning resident in Rio please prepare all the documents listed below, and  schedule  an interview with the Consulate.

The Scheduling process step-by-step:

  • Register at the scheduling website and create and activate your  account according to the instructions above. Make sure you are in the “Immigrant Visa” section of the website;
  • Please choose ” I am a Returning Resident outside the U.S. for more than one year“. You will need to provide your old “Green Card” number – this is a 8 digit number that begins with “A”.
  • Choose you preferred delivery option for receiving the visa if your application is approved and enter your address if you choose home delivery. If you wish, you may choose to pick up your visa at one of the Applicant Service Center (ASC) offices;
  • Schedule an appointment for your interview at the Consulate in Rio de Janeiro;
  • Print your confirmation page and bring it to the Consulate on the day of your interview along with all the required documents listed below.

Required documents to apply for the returning resident process at the Embassy and Consulates:

  • DS-117 form completely filled out (the form can be obtained here);
  • Original Green Card and a copy;
  • Proof of removal of the conditional status of your residency (in case you have a conditional Green Card with two year validity);
  • Proof of your ties to the United States and your intention to return (Examples: tax return, and evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the United States);
  • Proof that you protracted stay outside the United States was for reasons beyond your control (Examples: medical incapacity, employment with a U.S. company, etc.).

Important: we reiterate that all documents you may have sent by e-mail or mail must be printed and brought on your interview date. The fact that you may have send documentation through e-mail or mail does not exempt you from bringing it on the appointment date. Your request will be denied and you will need to reschedule if any document is missing. All applicable original documents mentioned above will be returned to you after your interview.

On the day of the interview at the Consulate, you will have to pay the interview fee listed on our website under Schedule of Fees. This fee is not going to be reimbursed in case the request is denied.

 

In order to abandon your permanent resident status in the U.S. and relinquish your Permanent Resident Card or “Green Card”, please download Form I-407 Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Residence and complete the yellow-highlighted sections. This document is in a PDF format that will allow you to enter information prior to printing.

By Mail:

Please return the following items to the address below:

  • Completed I-407
    Notes:
    Item 6(a) – Be sure to state your reasons for abandoning your permanent resident status;
    Item 6(d) – Do not write anything in this block.
  • Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
    Note:If you don’t have your permanent resident card (lost/stolen/misplaced), please explain in 6(b).
  • Your Permit to Re-Enter (I-327) (only if applicable)
  • G-28 – Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative (only if applicable)
  • Inform your e-mail address(es).
    Note: Always inform your e-mail address. Your application will only be processed if you provide an e-mail address.

Note: Do not submit United States “Social Security cards” to this office. For this service, please contact fbu.lisbon@ssa.gov.

Mailing Address

USCIS Eastern Forms Center

Attn: I-407 unit

124 Leroy Road

PO Box 567

Williston, VT 05495

Note: Processing times, from receipt to completion will be within 60 days, which does not include mailing time to or from outside of the United States.

Additional Information:
When you travel to the United States, you should take a copy of the processed I-407 with you to the airport.  Although the port of entry inspector will see electronically that you have abandoned your status, the processed I-407 is mainly for the airlines. If you do not have a copy of the processed I-407 and your passport shows that you have previously been admitted as a ‘LPR’ (Lawful permanent resident) or “ARC” (Alien Resident Card); the airlines may not allow you to board the aircraft.

Please also note that once you have abandoned your lawful permanent resident status, you may apply for a temporary visa or online for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov (if eligible).

Abandoning your Permanent Resident Card and status does not affect your ability to apply to immigrate to the United States in the future. However, you will have to follow a new USCIS petition and visa application process.

Notes:

By presenting a non-immigrant visa and a copy of the I-407 the next time you enter the United States, it may minimize your risk of complications with the immigration authorities concerning your immigrant versus non-immigrant status.  When you travel, as informed above, you are advised to carry a copy of Form I-407 to clarify your status at the port of entry.

The abandonment of lawful permanent resident status is irrevocable. Please be aware that after relinquishing your resident status, you will have to qualify for such status again if you wish to reside in the Units States once more.  

If at the time of admission to the United States, you will have not celebrated the second anniversary of your marriage, which is the basis of your immigrant status, you are subject to the provisions of section 216 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under these provisions, you will be granted conditional permanent residence by an officer of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the time of your admission to the United States. You and your spouse will be required to file a joint petition (Form I-751) with the DHS to have the conditional basis of your status removed.

This petition must be filed within the ninety-day period immediately preceding the second anniversary of the date you were granted conditional permanent resident status. If a petition to remove the conditional basis of your status is not filed within this period, your conditional permanent status will be terminated automatically and you will be subject to deportation from the United States. If you are a conditional permanent resident outside the United States and your card has already expired and you have not filed either form I-751, you have lost your permanent resident status.  You may only reenter the U.S. on a new immigrant visa based on a new approved petition.

Note: If you are a conditional permanent resident living abroad on U.S. government orders, you should still file form I-751 with a USCIS office in the United States. Enclose a copy of your military orders with the I-751. Your case will then be placed on hold until you return to the United States.

What do I need to apply for my child’s transportation letter/boarding foil at the Embassy or Consulate?

Children born overseas to parents who are LPRs or immigrant visa holders are authorized to travel to the United States without a visa or a transportation letter/boarding foil under the terms of 9 FAM 42.1 N1.1 and N2. Please email the immigrant visa unit at immigrationrio@state.gov with any questions and to get a generic letter explaining these regulations which you may present to the transportation carrier personnel or Brazilian immigration authorities when traveling.