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Friday, September 30, 2016

Newsflash - Form I-131A Now Available


USCIS has published Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation), a new form that allows lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to apply for a travel document (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
  • - Are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than two years, and their Reentry Permit has been lost, stolen or destroyed.The length of the absence will be measured from the time the LPR departed the U.S. to the time he or she pays the Form I-131A fee. 
Applying for Carrier Documentation

To file Form I-131A, LPRs must pay the required fee online and then apply in person at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

The embassy or consulate will generally issue the carrier documentation within two weeks. The LPR should present the carrier documentation, which may be a boarding foil (similar to a visa) or transportation letter, to a transportation carrier instead of their Green Card or Reentry Permit.

The carrier documentation allows an LPR to prove to a transportation carrier only that they are authorized to travel to a United States port of entry to apply for admission to the United States. It is not a guarantee of admission or parole into the United States. CBP will conduct all required inspections when the LPR arrives at a United States port of entry and will make the final determination of whether to admit or parole the LPR to the United States.
Filing a Form I-131A does not give an LPR a new Green Card. To apply for a new Green Card, they must file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, and pay the filing fee. Visit the USCIS Form I-90 page at uscis.gov/I-90 for more information.

LPRs with Expired Green Cards

LPRs with expired Green Cards may not need to file Form I-131A. We encourage LPRs to check with their airline or vessel before determining whether to file 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:
  • - They have an expired Green Card that was issued with a 10-year expiration date, or
  • - They have an expired Green Card with a 2-year expiration date AND a Form I-797, Notice of Action, showing that they have filed a Form I-751 or Form I-829 to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status. The Notice of Action extends the validity of the card for a specified length of time, generally one year. 
Filing Fee

The filing fee for Form I-131A is $360. There is no biometric services fee. The fee for this form must be paid online using a credit or debit card or U.S. bank account through the USCIS Online Payment System.

Applicants cannot use a fee waiver for this form. As with all immigration fees, USCIS does not issue refunds, regardless of the decision on the application.
Form I-131A filing fee is current as of the publication date of this alert. However, because USCIS fees change periodically, please verify the current fee at uscis.gov/forms.

Where to File

Before appearing at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate to file Form I-131A, LPRs must submit the filing fee on the USCIS website. When appearing in person at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate to file Form I-131A, they must bring evidence that they paid the fee. Please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate or visit its website to verify that they can process the Form I-131A and to read instructions on how to file.

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