Boarding Foils

Lawful Permanent Residents

If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States, but:

  • your “Green Card” Form I-551, was lost, stolen, expired, damaged, destroyed/ mutilated and you are returning to the United States within 1 year of your departure from the United States, or
  • your “Reentry Permit” Form I-327, was lost, stolen, expired, damaged, destroyed/ mutilated and you are returning to the United States within the validity of the Reentry Permit, and

if the consular officer is able to confirm your permanent resident status, we may issue you a boarding foil to apply for entry to the United States. You must appear in person and request a boarding foil as explained below. (Important: If your application is approved, you will be issued a boarding foil with a maximum validity of one month and with one entry to the United States.  You will need to travel back to the United States within this period of time.  Please plan to schedule your appointment date accordingly.)

Why a Boarding Foil?

A boarding foil may be considered by the airline as evidence of your status as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States. It serves only to give notice to the air-carrier that the U.S. Government does not intend to issue a penalty under U.S. law (INA 273(b)).

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Carrier Information Guide provides that a boarding foil is not required if the LPR has:

  • An expired green card with a 10-year expiration date;
  • A green card (with a 2-year expiration date) and a valid Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating that status is extended; or
  • Orders from the U.S. Government (civilian or military) showing the time outside the U.S. was on official government business.

If you fall in one of the above categories, we encourage you first to consult with your air-carrier prior to applying for a boarding foil and/or pay for Form I-131-A, otherwise you may apply as per below.

If the above apply and you still hold the permanent resident status, the Embassy may be able to issue a boarding foil in your current biometric passport that would permit you to return to the United States.  In order for the Embassy to issue this boarding foil, a consular officer must first interview you.

To apply for the boarding foil:

Please send an email at acstirana@state.gov with the following information and with an explanation of why you are applying for a boarding foil:

  • Name and Surname:
  • Date of Birth:
  • Alien Number:
  • Phone Number:
  • Current Valid Passport Number:
  • Last Date of Departure from United States:
    (Note: if the last date of departure from United States is more than a year ago, you cannot apply for a boarding foil.  Please visit our webpage “Returning Residents” to learn more.)
  • Date of Planned Return to the United States:
  • Reason:

We will schedule an appointment for you and you will be notified via email.  Please note that we provide this service Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 14:00.

At the time of your appointment, you will need to submit the following documentation:

  • Form I-131A:
    Please complete and print Form I-131A (Application for a Travel Document (Carrier Documentation).  We will keep this form in our files.
  • The $575 Filing Fee Receipt:
    You must pay the fee for this form online using a credit or debit card through USCIS online payment system.  This fee is non-refundable by USCIS, regardless of the decision on the application.  Please print and bring the online payment receipt as evidence of payment.
  • Form I-90:
    We do not need to see Form I-90 (Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card), however, if approved you will need to carry it with you and submit it at the time of entrance to the United States.  If you bring this document, it will be returned to you.
  • Your Current Valid Passport:
    The boarding foil can only be placed in a valid passport.  If you are not in possession of a valid passport, you may apply for one through the Office of Civil Registry for your previous residence in Albania;
  • Your Previous Passport, if applicable:
    If you used a previous passport to exit the United States and enter Albania, please bring it;
  • Form I-551 “Green Card”, if available:
    Your expired “green card”;
  • Police Report, if applicable:
    If your “green card” was lost or stolen, please bring a police report explaining the circumstances;
  • Your Photos:
    Bring 1 photo, 5cm x 5cm, with a white background.  For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “Photo Examples.”
  • Evidence of Status:
    Please bring proof that you have not been outside the United States for more than 1 year (e.g.: border passing cards, airplane ticket, etc.)  If you remained outside the United States for longer than one year, or beyond the validity period of a Re-entry Permit, you cannot apply for a boarding foil.  You may be eligible and can apply at our office for a returning resident (SB-1) special immigrant visa.  For more information, please visit our webpage “Returning Residents.”
  • Additional Evidence:
    If you are a conditional permanent resident, please bring the Receipt Notice (Form I-797) from USCIS demonstrating that a petition to remove conditions of residence has been filed. Note: If you do not have a Receipt Notice and it is past the second anniversary of conditional residency status, we CANNOT issue you a boarding foil.

Refugee or Asylum Status

If you hold refugee or asylum status and traveled abroad without a Refugee Travel Document or claim that your travel document was lost, stolen, expired, damaged, destroyed, or mutilated, only a USCIS office overseas has discretion to accept your application for a boarding or travel letter to return to United States.  Please contact the USCIS office in Athens which has jurisdiction over USCIS matters in Albania.