If you are interested in applying for an immigrant or fiancé(e) visa because you want to travel to the U.S. to live there as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), click here for a list of all the available visa categories and information about how to file a petition.
If you have been living in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and you are now in the United Kingdom, see below for the answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Important: Admission to the United States is a matter for U.S. immigration officials at the U.S. Port of Entry. No issuance can be given in advance.
The USCIS Field office in London closed permanently on July 31, 2020. LPRs living in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Switzerland who previously received assistance from USCIS London should refer to the information below.
1) Can I return to the United States with my Permanent Residence Card ("Green Card") ?
If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and you have maintained your status by being outside of the U.S. for no more than 12 months (or under 2 years if holding a Re-Entry Permit issued before departing the United States) and by maintaining an unrelinquished domicile in the U.S., you may travel to a U.S. Port of Entry to apply for admission with a valid Permanent Resident Card (‘Green Card’).
- If you entered the United States with an immigrant visa and departed before your Permanent Resident Card was issued, the stamp in your passport will act like a Permanent Resident Card for 12 months from the date of initial entry.
- This information is for guidance only. It is your responsibility to ensure that you maintain your LPR status. See the USCIS website for more information. Admission to the U.S. is a matter for U.S. immigration officials at the U.S. Port of Entry and no assurances can be given in advance.
2) My Permanent Resident Card is lost, stolen, expired, or damaged. Do I need a transportation letter/boarding foil (Form I-131A)?
If you are not in possession of your Permanent Resident Card, you may apply for a transportation boarding foil in order to facilitate boarding by the airline. A boarding foil is valid for a maximum of 30 days and for a single entry to the United States.
You may apply for a transportation boarding foil if you are an LPR and:
- You are returning from temporary international 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 or destroyed.
- You are returning from temporary international travel of less than two years and your reentry permit (Form I-327) has been lost, stolen or destroyed.
The length of your absence from the United States will be measured from the time you departed the U.S. to the time you pay the fee for filing Form I-131A.
If you are an LPR with an expired Green Card, you may not need to file apply for a boarding foil
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 board an LPR without carrier documentation if:
- You are an LPR with an expired Green Card that was issued with a 10-year expiration date
- You are an LPR with an expired Green Card with a two-year expiration date AND you also have a Form I-797, Notice of Action, for Form I-751 or Form I-829 to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status. The Notice of Action extends the validity of the Green Card for a specified length of time, generally one year.
We encourage you to check with your airline or vessel before applying for a boarding foil.
How to apply for a boarding foil
If you believe you have maintained your LPR status and require a boarding foil to reenter the United States, please complete and submit this contact form.
The Immigrant Visa Unit will contact you within two business days.
If you qualify to apply for a boarding foil, you will be required to complete Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document and pay a boarding foil fee. You will also be required to visit the U.S. Embassy in London and apply in person to attend a pre-scheduled interview.
Processing times will depend on the circumstances of your case and the amount of information and evidence you provide. If your application is approved, we aim to process your boarding foil within three business days.
Once issued, the transportation boarding foil will be attached to your passport page and returned to you via DX courier. The U.S Embassy is unable to accommodate a same day turnaround service.
Important: No same day appointments or same day services are available. We cannot process boarding foil requests in the evenings or on weekends, U.S. or UK public holidays, or without an appointment.
3) How long can I stay outside the United States?/What should I do if I have been outside the U.S. for longer than a year/beyond the validity period of my reentry permit?
How long can I stay outside the United States?
- U.S. law presumes that LPRs will live in the United States permanently. Therefore, remaining outside the United States for an extended period results in a loss of LPR status.
- To maintain your LPR status, you should stay out of the United States for no more than 12 months (or no more than two years with a reentry permit obtained before leaving the U.S.).
- We suggest that you plan to return to the United States well before that time in case of any unexpected travel delays.
- If you know you before you leave the United States that you will be out of the United States for an extended period, you can apply for a reentry permit through USCIS. This allows an absence from the United States of up to 24 months. It is not possible to apply for a reentry permit after you have left the United States.
- If you stay out of the U.S. for 12 months or more (or two years or more with a reentry permit), you will lose your LPR status.
- The only exception to this is U.S. Government personnel (military and direct-hire civil service employees) and their spouses and minor children. If they are LPRs, they may remain outside the United States for the duration of their official overseas assignment plus four months.
How can I return to the United States if I have lost my LPR status?
- If you want to return to the United States to live there indefinitely or permanently, click here for information about the circumstances under which a former LPR may qualify for Returning Resident status. If you do not qualify for Returning Resident status, a new immigrant visa petition will be required.
- If you want to travel to the U.S. for a visit only, you will first be required to formally abandon your LPR status by filing Form I-407. See FAQ 4 below for details.
4) How can I abandon my LPR status?/How can I file Form I-407?
How can I file Form I-407 to formally abandon my LPR status?
You must submit your Form I-407 to the USCIS Eastern Forms Center. Click here to visit the USCIS website to obtain the form and information about how to submit it.
If you have questions about the status of a Form I-407 that you have already filed, please contact the USCIS Contact Center.
- Expect the processing of your Form I-407 to take several months.
- An endorsed copy of your form will be returned to you. Make sure you store the copy of Form I-407 safely. You should carry the form with you when you travel to the United States.
How can I travel to the United States after I have abandoned my LPR status?
5) I applied for a reentry permit before I left the United States. When will it be available/how can I collect it?
6) I have a question about filing taxes in the United States?/Am I required to file taxes?
7) I am an LPR and I gave birth outside the United States. Does my child need a visa?
A child be granted Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status upon admission to the United States if all of the following criteria are met:
- The child is under the age of 2 and was born during a temporary absence of an LPR mother
- The child is accompanying an LPR parent who is traveling to the U.S. for the first time after the birth of the child, and the purpose of the parent’s travel is to resume residence in the United States
- The child’s long form birth certificate is presented at the Port of Entry
- Admission to the United States is a matter for CBP officials at the U.S. Port of Entry. Please contact CBP directly for more details.
The final determination on each individual’s eligibility for admission to the United States is a matter for the immigration officials at the U.S. Port of Entry. No assurances can be given in advance.
8) Can I have my fingerprints taken at the Embassy in connection with my USCIS application?
Due to the impact of COVID-19, we are not currently able to offer fingerprinting/biometrics appointments, and we do not have an estimated timeframe for when appointments will resume. We will update our website as soon as we can resume the service, so please keep checking regularly.
9) I'm in the U.S. military stationed overseas/a military family member/a veteran of the U.S. military. Can I file Form N-400 to apply to naturalize as a U.S. citizen?
Please see the USCIS website or call 800-375-5283 for Form N-400 filing instructions.
You can also visit this USCIS webpage for details of a dedicated email address and telephone help line for military members and their families plus veterans. If you are currently serving in the military, you can access the toll-free number through your base telephone operator or by using the Defense Switched Network (DSN).