Information for Legal Permanent Residents

Introduction

As of June 2020, the consular section at the U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo assumed certain specific services previously provided by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office.  If you require USCIS assistance with any matter not specifically addressed below, please refer to https://www.uscis.gov/ for more information.

The services provided include:

  • Boarding foils (also known as “travel letters”)
  • Pass back of re-entry permits
  • Acceptance of SB1 applications (DS-117)
  • Acceptance of locally filed I-130 petitions

Boarding foils

A boarding foil is used for travel to the U.S. if a lawful permanent resident (LPR):

  1. Has a lost, stolen, damaged, or mutilated LPR card (“green card”); and
  2. Has been outside of the U.S. for less than 365 days and has retained their LPR status at the time of application.

If you think qualify for a boarding foil, you need to apply here. https://do.usembassy.gov/embassy/santo-domingo/sections-offices/u-s-customs-border-protection/apply-transportation-letter/

NOTE: The boarding foil fees are NOT refundable.  Please confirm that you qualify for boarding foil and need it before payment.

A boarding foil is NOT necessary if the LPR card has expired but is not lost, damaged or mutilated. In this case, the LPR needs:

  1. An expired LPR card with a 10-year expiration date; or
  2. An expired LPR card with a 2-year expiration date (“Conditional Resident”) and valid Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating the status is extended; or
  3. Orders from the USG (civilian or military) showing the time outside of the U.S. was on official business

NOTE: Before making payment for the Form I-131A boarding application, these applicants should consult their air carrier to confirm that they can board with an expired LPR card.  If the air carrier refuses to board these individuals, they are encouraged to email SantoDomingoConsBF@state.gov. 

IMPORTANT: If requesting a boarding foil, the Embassy will provide you with an appointment for an interview only after you have filed form I-131A, provided all the supporting documents as required in the instructions, and paid the application fee.   Please do not expect the boarding foil to be ready on the same day of your interview.  Please allow 10 business days to process your request from the day of your interview at the Embassy.  A boarding foil is valid for one-time entry to the United States within 30 days of approval.  The fee for the appointment is non-refundable regardless of the decision rendered.  

Pass back of Re-entry permits

Applicants who have an approved Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and have been notified that their re-entry permit has been sent to Santo Domingo, may arrange to pick up their re-entry permit at the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo by appointment only. Please email SantoDomingoConsBF@state.gov to request a pick-up appointment and provide your full name, date of birth and alien registration number.

SB1 Visa

A Returning Resident Visa (SB1) is different from a Boarding foil or re-entry permit. An LPR may consider applying for SB1 Visa if the LPR has:

  1. Remained outside of the U.S. for over a year; OR
  2. Remained outside of the U.S. for over 2 years with a re-entry permit; AND
  3. Believes they were unable to return due to the circumstances beyond their control; AND
  4. Maintained intent to return to the US for residency purposes.

Permanent resident aliens, who were unable to return to the United States for reasons beyond their control within the travel validity period of the Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), or the Reentry Permit, may apply for a special immigrant Returning Resident (SB1) visa.

To qualify for Returning Resident Status, you must show:

  • That you were a lawful permanent resident when you departed the United States,
  • That when you departed you intended to return to the United States and have maintained this intent,
  • That you are returning from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay was protracted, it was caused by reasons beyond your control and for which you were not responsible, and
  • That you are eligible for the immigrant visa in all other respects.

If you have lost your permanent resident status, and you wish to apply for a “Returning Resident visa,” you must contact the Consular Section by e-mailing to SantoDomingoVisas@state.gov in order to schedule an appointment to file an “Application to Determine Returning Resident Status” (Form DS-117) and submit evidence to support the above requirements along with filing the form.

Please find more information about the application process, including information on current fees, at Travel.State.Gov, the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

The fee for filing the “Application to Determine Returning Resident Status” (Form DS-117) is non-refundable if your application is denied. Payment is accepted in cash (US$ or DOP) or credit card.

If the application for Returning Resident Status is approved by the consular officer, the Consular Section will send you more detailed information on how to proceed with applying for the visa.

Misconceptions and inaccurate information:

Many applicants receive inaccurate information about the boarding foils from outside sources and pay the fee when it is unnecessary.  We encourage you to consult with the air carriers first and follow up with the consular section BEFORE spending $575 non-refundable fee.