I am an international student studying in US. Unfortunately I lost my passport with my F1 student visa inside. I have asked my home country for replacement of my lost passport. I will finish my studies soon and leave the US back to my home country. But there is no direct flight to my country, so I need to take a domestic flight from South Carolina to San Francisco before taking an international flight to Hong Kong.

As such, do I need to show my F1 visa to immigration in South Carolina or San Francisco? If not, I would like to save the trouble of replacing my F1 visa which can only be done in Hong Kong.

Please help me on this issue. Thanks.

  • 1
    Before the international flight, you will not pass the immigration. In any case, in general: always take a copy (or a photo) of your passport, visa, and entry stamp. It is a good backup plan in case of lost passport. Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 7:28

2 Answers 2


There is no immigration leaving the USA (apart from random spot checks).

The only people that will look at your passport are the check-in staff and TSA will check your passport details(name) against your ticket before security.

You also do not pass through immigration on internal flights in the USA.

  • So do you mean even I arrive San Francisco from South Carolina, I need not pass the immigration? As such I can go back to Hong Kong without replacing my lost F1 visa , right?
    – Rositta
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 8:34
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    @Rositta, no it's an internal flight, you will just need to go to your gate for your flight to Hong Kong, maybe change terminal also if your flight leaves from a different terminal. Internal flights do not pass through immigration.
    – BritishSam
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 9:52

The US does not have departure immigration formalities. You do not speak to any immigration agent when leaving the US. You check in, go through security and directly to your departure gate, the same as a domestic flight. Your airline will inform immigration that you have departed.

You don't need to replace your visa to depart the US, or even to remain in the US. It is not possible to replace it in the US anyway. And your F1 status remains valid as long as you are still in the US.

You do need to apply for a new F1 visa in your home country if you wish to return to the US.

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