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friend A and B travel to mexico. friend A accidentally brings expired green card instead of current/valid green card. airline rejects friend A from returning to USA and recommends they go to embassy or consulate. friend B returns to USA and will be returning to mexico with friend A’s current green card the following day. plan is to return to USA together the next day. is there anything to worry about? they are worried most about friend B being asked why they returned to mexico after one day and are returning once again to the usa. should they just tell the truth or is transporting someone else’s green card not ok? thanks SB

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  • What are A and B's nationality / residency status ?
    – AakashM
    Jul 7, 2021 at 15:45
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    @AakashM A is obviously a US LPR. I don't suppose A's citizenship matters; am I overlooking something? B's citizenship and residence status may matter in terms of ease of crossing the border, but that's really ancillary to the central question, which seems to be whether one may be open with border officers (in either country) about the reason for the trip and the quick return.
    – phoog
    Jul 7, 2021 at 17:02
  • While this seems perfectly valid, why not use the mail system it's literally designed to ship items. With a tracked package, the likelihood of being lost in negligible. Friend A could also cross the border by road with the expired green card, avoiding the need for Friend B to make the second trip.
    – nikhil
    Jul 7, 2021 at 18:10
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    Did friend A point out to the airline that the US government allows airlines to board people with expired 10-year green cards for travel to the US?
    – user102008
    Jul 7, 2021 at 23:45
  • @phoog If B is a US citizen, or Mexican citizen, or both, or neither, the treatment by border control might well differ. If there's one thing we know about border control, it's that status matters...
    – AakashM
    Jul 8, 2021 at 9:41

2 Answers 2

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There is nothing inherently wrong with this plan. However US Customs and Border Protection has a fair bit of leeway and discretion (to put it politely) and it's entirely possible that Friend B will be subjected to a substantial questioning or no questioning at all.

If questioned its typically best to be open and stick with the actual facts plus any documentation that can help supporting them.

The alternative would be to have friend B return to the US as planned and then simply overnight ship the Green Card to friend A in Mexico with a suitable courier. That's safer and probably cheaper too.

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  • The shipping may be cheaper but there is always the chance that the package will get lost or delayed or delivered to the wrong location. That will be minimized with a human courier.
    – Peter M
    Jul 7, 2021 at 11:37
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    If B is a US citizen or LPR, and if carrying the green card is permitted, US CBP officers have very little leeway or discretion. But what about Mexican border officers?
    – phoog
    Jul 7, 2021 at 17:02
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    @phoog What GC? I just have a wallet full of credit cards, one of which may look like a GC
    – Peter M
    Jul 7, 2021 at 17:37
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    @phoog If the authorities are searching my wallet then I already have a lot of explaining to do
    – Peter M
    Jul 7, 2021 at 19:12
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    A signed statement from the Green Card holder explaining the situation and authorising Friend B to retrieve and bring the GC to him may simplify the whole affair. Jul 7, 2021 at 19:25
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There are lots of people that cross the border every day, so it should not be anything suspicious if you do it too. It is perfectly legal to go or fly to Mexico to eat dinner and them come back two hours later.
Also, as others mentioned, mailing is perfectly fine. Replacement Green Cards come in the normal mail, as do passports, drivers licenses, etc. Of course there is the small risk of loss (with ugly consequences), but if you insure the mail the chance is negligible.

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  • JonathanReez and Aganju, the OP specified airline, so not land border crossing.
    – CGCampbell
    Jul 9, 2021 at 12:48
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    Insured mail can be lost or stolen as easily as uninsured mail. And the insurance payment may make you feel better, but it will be money, not a replacement green card!
    – WGroleau
    Jul 9, 2021 at 21:42

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