Is one allowed to travel back to one's country of origin using a valid passport issued by the consular office in the US? Would that trigger detention in the airport?

Overstayed over 2 decades and have a clean record.

  • 52
    20 Years is a long long time, I feel sorry that you were not able to legalize your stay in those 20 years... Sep 27, 2019 at 5:06
  • 8
    Answerers, please realize the OP is not asking for the effects of the overstay. Please ensure the two questions asked are answered.
    – CGCampbell
    Sep 27, 2019 at 16:33
  • 3
    this is unrelated to "travel" and should be migrated to maybe expats.
    – Fattie
    Sep 29, 2019 at 12:39
  • Have you gotten a new Passport from your Consular Office. I meant Passport and not Emergency Travel Certificates.
    – Jeff Lee
    Dec 11, 2019 at 11:37

3 Answers 3


There are 2 aspects:

  • Will CBP allow you to exit the country?
  • Will the airline allow you to board?

The US doesn't formally have exit controls, so no agency is systematically checking exit documents. Even if a CBP officer did spot-check you, they'd go "My job is to get you to leave. Since you're leaving on your own, can I carry your bags for you? Guide you to your gate?"

Retribution isn't coming. What is coming, is future refusal when you try to re-enter the USA as a temporary visitor. Because you'll have a 10-year ban, and after that, you will have difficulty convincing them that your next visit will be temporary.

Today, they just want you to leave.

As far as the airline boarding -- If you are a citizen of country X, you are entitled to travel there. You need to show the airline proper proof of that, becuase they have a legal obligation not to fly you somewhere you'll be refused. Your passport issued by that country will suffice. Of course, beware of situations where you select a route through a third country and they want a transit visa or something.

  • 6
    Describing a later refusal of entry as "retribution" is ignoring the point of such refusals, and the meaning of the world itself. Entry is permitted given certain conditions - it is a privilege extended at the discretion of the country, not a right or a property being taken away from the person proposing entry.
    – Nij
    Sep 28, 2019 at 3:58
  • 7
    @Nij Yes, I'm just saying it that way becaus OP is expecting retribution, and I fear an answer of "there's none" may not be believable. Sep 28, 2019 at 4:03
  • 3
    @nij you sold me. Please leave comment #1 in place for reference. Thanks. . Sep 28, 2019 at 4:13
  • 3
    That doesn't make sense, how would the US know you entered another country? Many countries don't stamp passports on entry, especially their own citizens' passports. And even then, an entry stamp in another country from today doesn't prove that I was in the US before that even if I entered the US 5 years ago. Perhaps I should ask it as a different question?
    – JJJ
    Sep 28, 2019 at 15:40
  • 4
    @JJJ however, your question actually is "what can I do to satisfy CBP that I didn't overstay last visit?" Or perhaps "How can I sneak out of the US in a manner that lets me conceal my overstay from CBP?" Sep 28, 2019 at 16:01

The US doesn't have exit checks. You can always exit the US if you don't have a pending arrest warrant. You won't be detained or deported.

You will likely be banned for ten years from coming back to the US and it will be virtually impossible to get a visitor visa afterward.

  • 2
    What time could the ten year ban be based on, when the exit is not recorded? Sep 29, 2019 at 2:25
  • 5
    @VolkerSiegel from the date of exit. When the person tries to get back in, they'll ask when she or he left . The ban starts then. If they can't establish that date because the person is uncooperative or not credible, then I guess they'd use the date of attempted reentry or perhaps the day before, presuming that the person just left and came back immediately.
    – phoog
    Sep 29, 2019 at 7:34
  • 1
    Since there are no exit checks you can probably exit with a pending arrest warrant as well ;-). (Perhaps you want to use a vehicle which is not tied to you, or cross the Rio Grande (it's trivial in that direction if you are looking Anglo). Sep 29, 2019 at 20:57
  • 3
    RE "you won't be deported": Well, that would do no damage now, would it? ;-) Sep 29, 2019 at 20:58
  • 3
    @VolkerSiegel The exit is not checked physically, but it is recorded. The airline will provide details of all passengers leaving the country to CBP, which will update their records, and find the discrepancy. IIRC the records are sent a first time a little bit before the flight departs (so if the passenger is wanted they could send someone to arrest them) and a second time once the flight has actually departed with the passenger onboard (though I may be mistaking that with the procedure for inbound international flights).
    – jcaron
    Dec 11, 2019 at 10:04

Yes, you are allowed to exit US, both legally (there is no law which would prevent you from leaving) and technically - unlike most other countries, there are no immigration checks when you leave the country.

Departing US after being in US illegally for more than 1 year triggers an automatic 10-years re-entry ban, however, the duration of the ban is only important for certain type of visas (mostly immigrant ones). A non-immigrant visa is unlikely to ever be granted to such a person even after formal ban expires.

Technically, it's departing the US after accruing 1 year of "unlawful presence". One could have "overstayed", without accruing "unlawful presence", depending on what status they entered on and other circumstances.

  • 10
    "Departing US after being in US illegally for more than 1 year triggers an automatic 10-years re-entry ban" Technically, it's departing the US after accruing 1 year of "unlawful presence". One could have "overstayed", without accruing "unlawful presence", depending on what status they entered on and other circumstances.
    – user102008
    Sep 27, 2019 at 18:44
  • 3
    @user102008 that it is indeed true, but I didn't feel the need to divulge into those quite complicated areas.
    – SergeyA
    Sep 27, 2019 at 18:48
  • 2
    But is it possible that the overstay won't be detected and thus not affect future entries?
    – WGroleau
    Sep 28, 2019 at 4:50
  • 1
    @WGroleau yes, it's possible, but there's no way really to find out.
    – phoog
    Sep 28, 2019 at 6:05
  • 1
    So, then the answer is more accurately "triggers a 10-year re-entry ban if detected."
    – WGroleau
    Sep 28, 2019 at 15:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .