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I am using online check-in for a one-way flight from the United States to Mexico with American Airlines. I am not a US Citizen, but I am a US resident.

During online check-in, it asks "Country of Residence - Select the country / region you live in currently" and I enter the United States.

It then asks for my "Green Card or US Visa - Only enter documents you're using for this trip." And also "Address while in the U.S. - Enter a local address if you're staying in the U.S."

I am not allowed to proceed unless I enter this information. Why do I need to enter my green card and address in the United States, for a one-way trip from the US to Mexico?

If I change my country of residence to Canada, then I don't need to enter my US Green Card or address in the United States, however this is not truthful.

Update : I decided to not use online check-in and checked in using the American Airlines kiosk at the airport. I only needed to scan my Canadian passport, and it printed my boarding pass, and now I'm in Mexico. I never needed to enter my green card or US address at the kiosk, and I never had to interact with a gate agent.

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    What is your citizenship?
    – jcaron
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 8:08
  • Canadian citizen
    – mark
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 3:56

3 Answers 3

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Airlines need to report your exit from the US to the CBP. They use the information you're providing to make that report. Since there's no exit immigration controls in the US, this report is the way for the CBP to track exits from the country.

To clarify in response to comments: for LPRs the information needed is your green card details since that's how you're recorded when entering the country and the CBP wants matching entry and exit records. You may have been able to fly with a different travel document before, probably by either providing a different answer or with an airline (possibly even the same) that didn't collect that information at that time during booking or online check in. The information would then be collected at check-in at the airport, and at that time you may have shown the passport with which you intend to enter your destination and no-one asked about what you used to enter the US. But now - that's what they're asking.

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    I've never had to enter my green card online when traveling from the US to Canada though, which makes this confusing
    – mark
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 1:47
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    I agree with mark. I've left the US dozens of times on itineraries starting in the US, both one-way and return trips, and I've never need to provide visa or greencard details on departure.
    – Doc
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 2:35
  • @Doc for both of you - I'm sure you provided some other travel document. In this case the airline asks you to provide the information upfront and since you said you're LPR - that's what they're asking for, because that's what they'll be reporting. I'm not sure why you're downvoting my answer - you asked why and that's what I answered. If you were able to circumvent that before (either because airlines didn't explicitly ask, or because you provided a different travel document), it doesn't change the answer.
    – littleadv
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 4:13
  • Passenger address is not required for departure APIS. (It's also not required on arrival for US citizens or permanent residents, but every time I fly into the US, the airline's system requires me to submit an address even though I'm using a US passport.) The green card is supposed to be reported for departures.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 10:52
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    @JonathanReez the OP is Canadian, or so it seems. So no, I don't think that's the issue. This is not the first time this question comes up, and again with regards to AA. I'm more inclined to think like phoog - they have crappy programmers and are not doing a very good job at fine-grained information collection required by regulations.
    – littleadv
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 17:13
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One possibility could be that you have a citizenship which does not allow visa-free entry into Mexico. Holders of US visas or green cards are allowed visa-free entry into Mexico, so if you provide the correct info they don’t need to ask for a visa for Mexico.

Not sure the US address is really relevant, but it’s possible they just hardcoded “use same fields and checks as for the US” as a shortcut and they ended up with this even though not required.

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  • I'm a Canadian citizen, so that isn't the case. I think it's probably just a bug in American Airlines' logic for their online check-in system
    – mark
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 3:55
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    @mark Yep. They probably want the information in case it helps, but it should either be disabled as you already have a citizenship which gives you visa-free entry or at least made optional. Being a Canadian citizen, I think the easiest is to just state that you reside in Canada, I doubt it would cause any problem.
    – jcaron
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 13:10
  • I wouldn't want that information to flow back to the USCIS though. They may use this as evidence that I've abandoned my LPR status. I think it's also a question on US naturalization applications (have you ever claimed to be a nonresident)
    – mark
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 22:17
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If I change my country of residence to Canada, then I don't need to enter my US Green Card or address in the United States, however this is not truthful.

For future reference, I'd say changing your residency to "Canada" is completely fine and has a ~0% chance of landing you in any sort of trouble. Airlines couldn't care less what you put down in that field as a Canadian citizen flying to Mexico and in the very worst case scenario you can just sort things out at the airport. As outlined in For UK/USA bound flights, are details entered during online check-in, such as date of birth or passport number ever checked by airlines/immigration?, the only two fields that airlines truly care about are "First Name" and "Last Name", everything else can be sorted out at the airport if necessary.

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  • Another answer on that related question claims that the info does get sent to CBP/USCIS. travel.stackexchange.com/a/79642/133877 I wouldn't want to claim I'm a Canadian resident as that could be used as evidence that I've abandoned my LPR status and/or cause denial of a naturalization application.
    – mark
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 22:22
  • @mark there's a very specific procedure for abandoning one's LPR defined by law and APIS statements on residence is not a part of said procedure. I stick by my claim that the risk is null.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 22:27
  • My understanding (and I did consult a lawyer on this), is that involuntary LPR abandonment is a fact specific determination on each case. It can become an issue for residents who leave the US for too long (eg. years or multiple lengthy trips). In those cases all kinds of evidence can be used to support or refute the claim of permanent residence. Could APIS be used as evidence? I wouldn't want to risk it
    – mark
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 2:10
  • @mark if you're that paranoid, the safest option is to leave the US on foot via the Mexican land border where no data is collected by anyone
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 17:27
  • That's interesting to know, but impractical for my travel. Note am I not trying to hide any information from border authorities. I'm just trying to limit the sending of unnecessary personal information to travel companies, and to be truthful
    – mark
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 22:21

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