New Procedures Make It Easier for Green Card Holders Whose Documents are Lost or Stolen Overseas

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On September 30, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), announced the publication of a new form, Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Document). The purpose of the new form, is to make it easier for lawful permanent residents whose travel documents are lost, stolen or destroyed, to obtain carrier documentation which will allow them to board an aircraft bound for the United States.

Form I-131A will allow lawful permanent residents to obtain carrier documentation if:

  • They are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than one year, and their green card has been lost, stolen or destroyed; or
  • They are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than two years, and their re-entry permit has been lost, stolen or destroyed.

For purposes of Form 131-A, the length of a lawful permanent resident’s absence from the United States is measured from the time they leave the United States until they pay USCIS the filing fee required to file Form I-131A.

In order to apply for carrier documentation through Form I-131A, a lawful permanent resident must first pay the filing fee (currently $360.00) through USCIS’s online payment system. Once payment is made, an individual may bring a copy of the payment receipt with them, and fill out Form I-131A at the nearest United States embassy or consulate. Within one or two weeks of filing out the form, the embassy or consulate will issue the lawful permanent resident carrier documentation. The carrier documentation will allow the lawful permanent resident to board a plane bound for the United States. When the lawful permanent resident returns to the United States, they will still need to prove to U.S. Customs and Border Protection that they are admissible to the United States.

For more information on Form I-131A, or to discuss any other issues you have with your green card, please contact Pittsburgh based immigration law firm, Hartzman Law Firm online, or call our office at (412) 495-9849. Our principal immigration lawyer, Daniel Hartzman, is an experienced immigration attorney who has helped numerous green card holders navigate the United States’ complex immigration laws and regulations.