I'm a British citizen who resides in the USA, packing now and realize I've come here without my Greencard. I did this once before and the airline was quite relaxed ( I'm Executive Platinum and first class check in desks are very different) and entry into the US was easy as I'm global entry, I didn't have to show it to anyone. Am due to travel tomorrow, wondered if

  1. Things are very different in the Covid era
  2. Is there anything I can bring to help,I have a photo of the card.
  3. If I'm denied boarding due to this, will it be easy enough to get them to put me on a flight on Monday, by which time I could perhaps courtier the card to me
  4. Are there any other options for getting the GC here before, I/e getting a friend to persuade someone at the US airport to bring it to London
  • You still have your British passport, I assume? Jul 8, 2021 at 17:22
  • When we went for the World Cup in Brazil my friend also did the same thing. He had his wife send it by courier so he stayed an extra day (or two I believe). He had such a blast he considered it a blessing instead lol. Of course you can enter on your British passport and then fix it by making a Mexico border run or something. Not ideal but doable. Jul 8, 2021 at 17:35
  • Photo of the card doesn’t do anything unfortunately. #4 is an option however difficult to execute. You need a willing partner Jul 8, 2021 at 17:42
  • @AugustineofHippo can a British citizen who is not an LPR fly to the US in light of the COVID-19 restrictions? If not, how will Moose do so without a green card?
    – phoog
    Jul 8, 2021 at 17:42
  • 1
    @AugistineofHippo, If he can get to a CBP officer with the British passport there'll be nothing to fix. He'll tell them he's a LPR (and they'll know even if he doesn't) and at worst they'll send him to secondary to check the USCIS records, give him crap for not having the card and then let him in as an LPR. My wife did that once. The problem is entirely about getting on the plane to get to the CBP officer (my wife had a Canadian passport and it was pre-COVID so that was easier for her).
    – user38879
    Jul 9, 2021 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


Officially, you should not be allow board your flight to the US without either your original I-551 (Green Card), or without an approved form I-131A which will require a trip to a US Consulate.

In "normal times" it may be possible to travel without the physical documentation if your airline already has the card on file, as you state occurred to your previously. This would generally only be possible if you were doing on-line check-in, and if the airline had sighted/scanned your card within a certain time period (every airline is different, but on at least some it's within the past 6 months).

However, times are indeed different at the moment. Before boarding, the airline will want to confirm that you are allowed fly to the US (most non-US citizens are barred from travelling there, with permanent residents being one of the exceptions that are allowed), and that you have a negative COVID-19 test result. This means that they are going to want to physically interact with each passenger, and check their relevant documents - and that's going to include your Green Card.

The odds of being allowed board a flight at the moment without being able to prove that you have the required documents to travel to the US (one of US passport, Green Card, visa or ESTA approval), AND without having the relevant documents that you are an exception under the COVID regulations (US Passport, Green Card, US citizen spouse, etc), is pretty much zero.

Attempting to have an unknown party transport your Green Card across country lines is likely asking for trouble. Almost certainly your best option is going to be to get it sent via courier (Fedex, UPS, DHL, USPS Global Express Guaranteed, etc).

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