What will happen if I've overstayed in the USA and I want to go back to my native country of Canada? Its been almost 2 years now and I need to travel back home. Does anyone know what will happen at the airports when immigration checks? I know they check the dates that you've been gone on the card when you are doing an international flight.

Will I have to explain it all to the immigration officers or will they stamp my passport and refuse my entrance in the US again? Just wondering what will happen with immigration officers at the airport in Canada and the US.

thank you

  • 1
    One thing to consider is that you will have lost your Canadian residence during your overly long US visit. Once you are out of the country for >180 days, you lose your provincial Medicare benefits, I'm not sure what happens then, but you'll likely want health insurance. The Canada Revenue Agency will not care that you left the country, though. Unless you were really careful when you planned this out (which doesn't seem the case) you will be deemed to have been a Canadian resident for tax purposes and will owe them income on your world-wide income (give or take tax treaties).
    – Flydog57
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 0:48
  • It varies a little by province but if you genuinely move there to stay and aren't just dropping back in the country for some free healthcare before returning to your foreign residence, then you are more or less immediately covered for healthcare as soon as you have established a fixed address in the province.
    – user101852
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 16:33
  • 1
    Consult an immigration lawyer before bringing yourself to the attention of either set of authorities. Once the authorities notice you, your choices are limited. Check with your local Law Society, they may have a fixed price limited time consultation available
    – waltinator
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 17:24
  • 1
    Asking Dr. Internet about something that could end up with you in jail or banned from a country does not seem to be the wisest path. Just sayin'
    – waltinator
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 17:29

2 Answers 2


There are no exit immigration checks in airports in the US:

  • You will leave without seeing anyone from CBP
  • The airline will notify CBP of your departure
  • CBP will know you have overstayed (a lot)
  • CBP won't let you in again
  • You'll have to ask for a visa to enter again, and expect a lot of difficulty getting one.

Canada doesn't care how long you were away.

  • 6
    In fact Canadian non-immigrants are visa exempt and pretty much never need to get one. It makes no difference, though, since the CBP will instead evaluate their qualifications for the status they request and in this case that's unlikely to go well.
    – user38879
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 17:31
  • 4
    Dennis is correct. This history would not trigger a visa requirement.
    – phoog
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 20:04
  • Canada absolutely does care about how long you were away - for reasons of taxes and for things like provincial medical insurance. Not to say that Canada won't let you back into the country - they will, of course, but being untruthful about how long you were away can have serious financial consequences.
    – J...
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 22:19

When you leave the United States, you are not generally subject to inspection by a US immigration officer. Rather, the US will know that you have left (and the date) because the airline will transmit a list of passengers leaving a country to the US government. So they will not stop you from leaving, but they will likely know that you have overstayed because of this information coming from the airline. This will likely make it difficult to enter the US in the future. (How difficult depends on various factors, in particular exactly how long you overstayed.)

As for Canadian immigration, you will see them only when you arrive Canada, and whether or not you overstayed in the US is not their concern.

  • 12
    As a Canadian citizen, whether or not you overstayed in the US is not their concern. I know a UK citizen trying to visit Canada during an extended overstay in the US, intending to return to the US and continue overstaying, who was astonished to be refused entry into Canada and deported to the UK. Commented May 26, 2021 at 18:25
  • 5
    I would add that leaving overland to Canada will also result in the CBP knowing you’ve left. Only untracked exit is via the Mexican land border.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 20:29
  • @JonathanReez are you saying that legally passing through the Mexican land border won't alert CBP?
    – llama
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 16:37
  • 3
    @llama see this answer. It can in fact cause issues for people who haven't overstayed as their exit will never be recorded by default.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 16:45

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