Returning Residents Visas (SB-1)

& Boarding Foil Applicants

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Returning Resident Visas (SB-1)


A Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) loses residence status due to a failure to maintain a residence in the United States after staying more than one year outside of the United States. To regain LPR status, one has to appear in person to apply for a Returning Resident Application (SB-1) in the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. The applicant will be required to submit, in writing, to the satisfaction of a consular officer that his/her failure to return to the United States within one year was due to the circumstances beyond the applicant’s control.  He/she may also be required to submit documentary evidence to support his/her statement.

In order to apply a Returning Resident Application (SB-1), an applicant must set a prior online appointment with U.S. Embassy Islamabad or U.S. Consulate, Karachi.

Click here for more Returning Resident Visas (SB-1) visa information.

Schedule Returning Residents Appointment:

On the day of your appointment, please be prepared to present the following documents:

  • A completed Application to Determine Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117.
  • The Returning Resident Fee. (Please note that the fee is non-refundable, even if you are found ineligible for returning resident status.)
  • Your Permanent Resident Card (also known as Form I-551 or a Green Card).
  • Your Re-entry Permit, if available.
  • Documentation of the exact date that you last departed the United States (Examples: airline tickets, passport stamps, etc.)
  • Proof of your ties to the United States and your intention to return (Examples: tax returns, evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the U.S., etc.)
  • Proof that your protracted stay outside of the United States was for reasons beyond your control (Examples: medical incapacitation, etc.)
  • 1 passport photograph (see our photograph requirements.)
  • Appointment Confirmation letter

Please note: English translations of all foreign language documents are required. Any foreign language document must be accompanied by a full English translation that the translator has certified as complete and correct. The translator must certify that he/she is competent to translate the foreign language into English. It is not necessary to have the translation notarized. A Consular Officer will interview you and review your application and supporting documents.

Boarding Foil Applicants


A Legal Permanent Resident whose green card has been lost /stolen or expired while out of the U.S. for less than one year (or prior to the expiration of a re-entry permit) may apply for a boarding foil to return to the United States. In order for the Embassy/Consulate to issue such a foil, the applicant must appear in person at the Embassy/Consulate to be interviewed by a Consular Officer.

The Form I-131A is the only application form used for this service.  Consular sections will no longer accept Form I-90 in conjunction with boarding foil applications, and will instead require boarding foil applicants to complete Form I-131A.  The service will incur a $575 fee, which applicants must pay through the USCIS online payment system (ELIS) before setting an appointment at the U.S. Embassy/ Consulate.   Applicants will need their A number in order to pay the fee, which they may obtain from the nearest USCIS office.

If you plan to file a Form I-131A to apply for a LPR boarding foil, please note that you must pay the filing fee on the USCIS website  before appearing in person at a consular section.  Information on the new form and fee is located here.  You must bring evidence of payment, in the form of a printed email receipt notice or confirmation page, when you appear in person to file Form I-131A.  As with all immigration fees, USCIS does not issue refunds, regardless of the decision on the application.

You may find additional information on and instructions for the I-131A on the I-131A Form and Instructions page.

Schedule Boarding Foil Appointment:

All requests for boarding foils are handled by appointment only. But before you set an appointment for boarding foil you need to collect your documents and then schedule your Interview.

Please note: If you have been outside of the U.S. for more than one year, you are likely not eligible for a boarding foil.  Instead, you may apply for returning resident status.  Information on maintaining permanent resident status can be found on the USCIS website.

On the day of your Boarding Foil appointment, please be prepared to present the following documents:

  • Completed I-131A
  • USCIS fee receipt to confirm the payment
  • Evidence of your identity (your passport, photo ID card, etc.)  It is useful to have multiple forms of photo identification to show the Consular Officer.
  • Evidence of your U.S. legal resident status (e.g. your passport showing admission to the United States as an immigrant.)
  • Evidence of date that you last departed the United States (e.g. your airplane tickets or boarding passes showing your departure.)
  • Copy of your police report such as a First Incident Report (FIR) of the card’s loss/theft.
  • 1 passport photograph (see our photograph requirements.)
  • Appointment Confirmation letter.