If you are traveling outside the United States and your green card has expired, you don't necessarily need to file Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation).
Customs and Border Protection policy permits a transportation carrier bound for the United States to board a permanent resident without carrier documentation if he or she carries:
- an expired 10-year Permanent Resident Card; OR
- an expired two-year Permanent Resident Card and valid Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating that status is extended.
If you have either of these documents, you most likely can use them to return to the United States, and you do not need to file Form I-131A. However, we highly recommend that you contact your transportation carrier to verify that they will accept these documents.
Regardless, you will be required to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, upon your return to the United States.