Form I-131A, all you need to know.

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Form I-131A, what is it for?

One of the worst nightmares a foreigner living in the US may experience is losing their identity card while abroad. And it can happen in a blink of an eye. One moment you are sightseeing on an otherworldly beach, and a second later, your documents are gone. This can happen. Yet, that should not stop you from returning to the US. How? USCIS Form I-131A can help you.

What is I-131a Form?

Form I-131A will allow you to return to the US if you are an LPR. It will help you if you want to apply for a travel document that will allow you to come back to the US. Further, you can use it if one of the following applies to you:

  • You are returning from a trip travel of less than a year, and your green card was lost, stolen, or destroyed.
  • You are returning from a trip of less than two years, and your reentry permit was lost, stolen, or destroyed.

USCIS will measure your length of absence from the moment you departed the US to the time you pay the fee. You must be an LPR when you left the US and when you return. If you abandoned your lawful permanent resident status or USCIS or an immigration judge terminated it, you should not file Form I-131A.

Where to file?

You must file the form in person at a US Embassy or Consulate. Also, You must pay the Form I-131A fee ($575) through the USCIS website before filing. You should also consult the said Embassy or Consulate to see if they can process your Form I-131A. Plus, you should consider that this form does not have a biometric services fee. Yet, there is no fee waiver.

Evidence 

You should take the following evidence to the Embassy or Consulate:

  • Original passport
  • Copy of bio passport page
  • Evidence that you are an LPR
  • Ticket, itinerary, or anything that indicates your latest date of departure from the US and when you intend to return.
  • Passport-style picture taken within 30 days of filing.
  • Form I-131A processing time

USCIS indicates that Form I-131A takes two weeks to process. Yet, the time varies depending on their workload and the embassy or consulate where you filed. Sometimes, the office may issue the document sooner. The best way to avoid any issues is by preparing an accurate application and filing it correctly. Any mistakes or problems will delay the process.

What if I am an LPR with an expired Green Card?

In this instance, you may not need a Form I-131A. Although you would be generally required to have one, CBP allows you to board without documentation if:

  • You are an LPR with a 10-year expiration date Green Card that expired. Yet, this only applies if you were abroad for less than a year.
  • You are an LPR with a two-year expiration date Green Card and Form I-797.
  • Lastly, it applies if you are a military or US government employee on official travel orders.

It is better to check with your carrier before filing. Some airlines may still refuse to board you if you are in one of these categories. If that happens, you may need to file Form I-131A.

Losing your green card may seem like a worst-case scenario. Yet, there are options to avoid it becoming an absolute nightmare. Check a Form I-131A PDF here. Contact HMA Law Firm, and we will help you with your inquiry.

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