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My wife and I are flying to Iceland and we are trying to book tickets but I wasn't sure about the flights.

So I am just asking to clarify. If I leave the US through an airport, do I have to return to the US through the same airport?

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    While in this particular case it did not affect the answer, in general for a question like this I'd want to see information about citizenship, Visa status, length and general purpose of travel, etc., As in some countries they would affect the answer. – arp Jun 7 at 4:26
117

Your question is well founded. Some type of visas to some countries allow you to enter and exit via specific entry points only. For example, ENTRI visa of Malaysia limits to persons who are appearing from direct flights and go out of country on direct flights (or transit to specific countries). And the Airports of arrival is also limited.

For USA, there is no such restrictions on any passport or visa. You can enter any international airport and use any other mode of transportation and use any border to come in and out of the country. Also, note that US doesn't have any exit checks. So, if you are not a US citizen, make sure that your exit is recorded in I-94. Especially if you are not departing by air.

Happy journey.

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    Fantastic answer because it answers the "why is this a question even". – chx Jun 6 at 9:41
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    China also has the same restriction on some VISA that you need to leave and enter through specific port of entry so this answer is very relevant – Matt Douhan Jun 6 at 13:20
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    @CarstenS Its mostly to check whether your exit is logged properly. For US citizens, I don't think it matters much. – Anish Sheela Jun 6 at 13:44
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    @CarstenS US citizens (and residents) do not need an I-94. This is for visitors only. – Dancrumb Jun 6 at 16:35
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    @chx Which is great, because my first thought was "wut" :P – Clonkex Jun 7 at 5:06
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There is no requirement to leave and enter through the same port of entry. Note that this applies to everybody: US citizens, permanent residents, visitors, and anybody else entering or leaving the US.

If you are planning flights, you are certainly free to choose flight routing that comes back via a different route if that ends up being more economical for you.

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    Land borders aren't ports - perhaps point of entry would cover all three modes best? – Nij Jun 6 at 11:18
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    @Nij No, the US calls them Port of Entry regardless of where they are. – Greg Hewgill Jun 6 at 11:32
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    Indeed. I wonder whether it's from Latin portus (port, harbor) or porta (port, gate), or if being from the former it was nonetheless influenced in its usage by the latter. – phoog Jun 6 at 17:40
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    Being as most people aren't USA customs and border officials, a common idiom makes more sense that a technical one, especially where the technical one doesn't quite make sense to the average person. – Nij Jun 6 at 18:44
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    Port of entry is a common idiom, hell I'd even say it's more common than referring to a harbour as a port unless your a pirate from the 1830s. – RyanfaeScotland Jun 6 at 21:20
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The answer is no, In the US you do not need to return to the same port of entry (airport, seaport, ect) that you departed from. you can fly out of New York and come back through LA.

Source: I travel a lot.

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For the reason, look at the question reversed. Do you need to exit at any particular location relative to your entry point? No, because the US does not have exit controls.

In fact, if you are not a citizen, you should take your own initiative to document that you actually did leave the country, either by airflight, or with an I-94 form.. Otherwise you could be accused of overstaying.

  • Especially if you exit to Canada or Mexico. – mckenzm Jun 7 at 2:50
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AFAIK you can leave and enter back at different airports; heck you could come back by boat if you wanted to.

1

Practical data:

The first time I was aware of leaving (there was a previous time as a baby I know almost nothing of) the US I exited via San Francisco (with a fuel stop in Seattle) and returned via New York.

Since then I have called a trip short and the outbound was via Seattle and the return via IIRC Los Angeles.

protected by JonathanReez Jun 7 at 1:46

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