Immigrant Visas: Returning Resident Visa

A permanent resident (called lawful permanent resident or LPR) or conditional resident (CR) who has remained outside the United States for longer than one year, or beyond the validity period of a Re-entry Permit, will require a new immigrant visa to enter the United States and resume permanent residence.  You can learn more about Returning Resident Visas on State Department Website.

After reading the instructions contained in the link above and if you think you may eligible to apply for an SB1 Returning Resident immigrant visa, you can book an appointment by emailing

You will be met by a Consular Officer who will review your case and give you further instructions on how to proceed in order to apply.

Boarding Foils – Replacing Lost or Stolen Green Cards

If you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) who has lost your Green card and/or reentry permit and you need travel documentation to return to the U.S., you may be able to file a Form I-131A with any U.S. embassy consular section.

You may apply for carrier documentation 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; or
  • 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.

For eligibility purposes, we will measure the length of your absence from the United States, 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 a Form I-131A. You should check with your airline.

If you would like to file your I-131A at the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, please send the following information to, before filling out the I-131A form or paying the fee:

  • First Name of Lawful Permanent Resident:
  • Last Name of Lawful Permanent Resident:
  • Place of birth (include city/town and country)
  • Country of citizenship
  • Date of birth (please spell out the month)
  • A number (this has 9 digits, for example: A000 000 000)
  • Passport number
  • Reason for request for a Transportation Letter: e.g. expired, lost, stolen – please include a brief description in your email.
  • Date of last departure from United States (please spell out the month)
  • Date of your planned return flight to the United States (please spell out month)
  • Phone Number in Burundi.

A consular staffer will reply to your email and give you specific instructions on whether you are eligible to file the I-131A and give you a specific appointment date.  If you are eligible to file a Form I-131A, you must pay the filing fee for this form online using the USCIS online payment system before your appointment date.

Filing the I-131A and Other Special Instructions:

You may pay the fee with your credit or debit card or U.S. bank account online.  When you appear at the interview in person to file Form I-131A, you must bring evidence that you paid the fee, such as a printed copy of your payment confirmation page or a printed copy of your emailed receipt. No refunds are granted for immigration services, regardless of an application decision.

Please note that if have been out of the US for more than one calendar year (or 2 years with reentry permit and/or on U.S. government travel orders), you are NOT eligible to use a travel document and must go through SB1 processing.  Please see above for more information about SB1s.