Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation)

If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), and you

  • Are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than one year, and your Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card or Form I-551) has been lost, stolen, expired, destroyed/mutilated;    -or-
  • Are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than two years and your re-entry permit has been lost stolen or destroyed. (Re-entry permit must have been valid at time of filing Form I-131A)

You may need to submit an Application for a Travel Document (Carrier Documentation), unless you meet the requirements for Lawful Permanent Residents with an expired Green Card (below).

How is the length of time outside the United States calculated?
The length of the absence will be measured from the time you departed the U.S. to the time you pay the Form I-131A fee. You must have been an LPR when you left the U.S. and still be an LPR when you return to the U.S. If you abandoned your LPR status or it was terminated, you should not file Form I-131A.

Can the I-131A fee paid to USCIS be refunded?
The I-131A fee will only be refunded in the event of U.S. government error. USCIS will not process a refund if an applicant later determines that Carrier Documentation was unnecessary. Please contact the relevant USCIS Field Office for more information.

What happens after attending the interview for Carrier Documentation?
After you attend your interview, if a Carrier Document is authorized, it will generally be valid for a single entry for 30 days for return travel to the U.S. You will be required to present this to the airline at the time of your check-in for your flight and to the Customs and Border Patrol Inspector/Officer at your first U.S. port-of-entry.

How do I replace my green card that was lost/stolen/expired/destroyed/mutilated?
U.S. Embassies and Consulates DO NOT issue replacement green cards.  A Carrier Document permits the airlines to transport you to the US without them being subject to significant penalties. It does not ensure that you will be admitted into the U.S. You will be sent to secondary inspection for validation checks and an interview. Afterwards you must initiate follow-up actions with the USCIS in regard to being issued a replacement green card.

Where can I obtain my A number or find out more information?
Please direct your inquiries to your nearest USCIS field office.

A machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV) usually has the following text on it: “UPON ENDORSEMENT SERVES AS TEMPORARY I-551 EVIDENCING PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR 1 YEAR.” When a new immigrant first enters the U.S., U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will stamp the passport with an admission stamp that indicates the immigrant has permanent resident status and has the date the new immigrant entered the U.S. The employee’s foreign passport with the MRIV is evidence the employee has permanent residence status for 1 year from the date of admission. Even if the MRIV is issued without the statement “FOR 1 YEAR,” employers should treat the MRIV as an acceptable List A document valid for 1 year from the date of admission.

If the stamp in the passport is endorsed and is near but not on the immigrant visa, it is still a valid endorsement. Here is an example of an immigrant visa with the CBP endorsement:

You may not need to file Form I-131A if you have an expired Green Card.

Although regulations generally require an LPR to travel with a valid Green Card, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policy permits a transportation carrier bound for the United States to allow you to board without carrier documentation if you:

  • Are an LPR with an expired Green Card that was issued with a 10-year expiration date (and you have been outside of the U.S. for less than a year);
  • Are an LPR who has an expired Green Card with a two-year expiration date and you also have Form I-797, Notice of Action, showing that you filed a Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status (and you have been outside of the U.S. for less than a year). The Notice of Action extends the validity of the card for a specified length of time, generally one year; or
  • Are an LPR military service member or employee of the U.S. government (or an LPR dependent of such an individual) on official U.S. military or government travel orders, regardless of time outside of the United States

Check with your airline or transportation carrier before you file Form I-131A because, in some situations, the airline or transportation carrier may still refuse to let you board even if you are in one of the categories above. In that case, you will need to file a Form I-131A.

Before an appointment will be scheduled, applicants must email (in PDF format) the following documents to the Consulate where they will need to appear in person to finalize their application. Upon receipt of all required documentation, we will contact you with appointment details:

  1. Form I-131A: Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation)
  2. Biographic page of your valid passport
  3. Filing Fee receipt

Contact information for the Consulates: