Wednesday, 09 December 2009 09:52
By US Embassy
What can I do if my legal permanent residence (LPR or “green”) card is lost, stolen, or expires while I am outside of the U.S.?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues LPR or “green” cards to immigrants who are legally admitted for residence to the United States. Green cards can only be issued or replaced in the United States and can never be obtained overseas at an Embassy or Consulate. A green card is required for re-entry into the United States as a legal permanent resident.
If you find that you have left your green card in the U.S., arrange for someone to send it to you overseas using a secure courier such as DHL or FedEx.
If your green card has been lost or stolen, you may be able to obtain a "transportation letter" valid for one month authorizing the airlines to take you to the United States without penalty. To issue a transportation letter the Embassy must be satisfied that you hold legal resident status in the United States and that you have not been outside of the United States for more than 365 consecutive days.
To apply for a "transportation letter," bring the following documents to the U.S. Embassy:
-Evidence of your identity (passport, photo ID)
-Your airplane tickets (the one showing your departure date from the U.S. and return date)
-Evidence of your U.S. legal resident status (e.g. passport showing admission stamp to the United States as an immigrant)
-Evidence that you were in the United States within the last 12 months
-Copy of your report to the police of the card's loss/theft or detailed explanation as to why you do not have your card
-Application fee (US$165)
-4 identical passport-style photographs
Processing time will depend on the circumstances of your case and the amount of information and evidence you provide. The time required can be as little as one hour or more than several days.
The above information should be presented in person at the U.S. Embassy in Barbados any Monday – Thursday between 7:30 a.m. and 10:00a.m., excluding U.S. or Barbadian holidays.
Requests for transportation letters can only be processed during normal business hours. We cannot process requests on weekends, holidays, or in the evening.
For further information on obtaining a transportation letter, please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit in Bridgetown by e-mail at
. You may also try to contact us by phone at (246) 227- 3110, between the hours of 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday. I am a permanent resident and I have been outside of the United States for more than one year. What are my options for immigrating to the United States again?
Under limited circumstances a permanent resident who has remained outside of the United States for more than one year without obtaining advance permission from USCIS may apply for a returning resident (SB) visa at the Immigrant Visa Unit. However, to qualify for this type of visa you must show that you 1) left the United States as a legal permanent resident, 2) had the intention of returning to the United States at the time of departure, and 3) remained abroad for more than one year due to reasons beyond your control and for which you were not responsible.
It is important to note that "reasons beyond your control" means that at the time of your planned departure, specific, unforeseen circumstances prevented your travel back to the United States within one year.
If you were prevented from returning to the United States for reasons which do not meet the description above (e.g. relative cost of health care, travel or other expenses, climate, desire to live close to friends and family), you will likely not qualify for an SB visa. You may still be able to immigrate again, but you must first be petitioned by a Legal Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen relative and go through the entire Immigrant Visa process again.
To apply for a SB visa, contact the Immigrant Visa Unit in Bridgetown by email at
. You may also try to contact us by phone at (246) 227- 3110, between the hours of 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday. I was a permanent resident and I have been outside of the United States for years now. I have no interest in returning to the United States permanently. Can I apply for a tourist visa?
If you are a legal permanent resident (LPR) and have remained abroad for more than 12 months without a re-entry permit, it is likely that your LPR status has expired. A former immigrant who has lost U.S. resident status and desires to return to the United States as an immigrant must obtain a new immigrant visa based on either an approved immigrant petition or returning resident status. Please see above for details on application procedures.
If your LPR status has expired and you intend to travel to the U.S. as a non-immigrant or tourist, you need to file an Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status Form I-407 to clarify your status. You will have to submit your original green card and the I-407 form in person at the U.S. Embassy in Barbados and have an interview with a consular officer. Former LPRs will be asked to surrender their green card before being issued a non-immigrant visa. To abandon Lawful Permanent Resident status, please bring the following documents to the U.S. Embassy/U.S. Consulate:
- Your green card
- Reentry permit (Even if it has expired)
- Form I-407
Please note that if you wish to apply for a non-immigrant visa (such as a tourist or business visa) at the same time, you must make a non-immigrant visa appointment for the same day you wish to abandon your green card.
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. If you qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, you may also travel without a visa. When you travel, you are advised to carry a copy of Form I-407 to clarify your status at the port of entry.
Any further questions about this, or other Consular and travel topics can be found at our website at http://barbados.usembassy.gov.