European, overstayed for several years, leaving from LAX. No longer have original passport with the I-94 I entered the US on, just a (valid) renewed passport. It's also unlikely I will have a photographic match in the system when photograph is taken at boarding. I know many people online claim that there is never an issue in leaving the US and I'm sure this was true in the past but a recent CBP document says this:

"If the system checks yield no derogatory information, the CBP officer allows the traveler to board/continue travel. Based on the inspection results and the queries using the newly collected biometric and biographic data, if CBP finds actionable derogatory information on the traveler, the CBP officer may escort the traveler to the FIS area to conduct further questioning and take the appropriate actions under CBP's law enforcement authorities."

Section 7 No Match Procedures, 3rd and 4th paragraphs: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/11/19/2020-24707/collection-of-biometric-data-from

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    The section you're referencing is for inspection at entry/for transit passengers. You won't see a CBP officer on exit from a US airport. If they're really interested in you they can definitely find you, but I think a voluntary departure after overstay isn't a big target for them.
    – Ozzy
    Aug 11, 2023 at 4:05
  • To quote further from the document I cited: "At departure, after the manual review of the travel document (i.e., scanning a boarding pass and checking a traveler's passport), the airline or cruise line may notify CBP's outbound enforcement teams should additional inspection be required.[69] In such case, CBP officers may inspect the traveler's passport or other valid travel document." So in certain cases you indeed will see a CBP officer.
    – cr2718
    Aug 11, 2023 at 9:28
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    The rule you linked to is a "proposed rule" about a proposed biometric entry/exit system, not a "final rule". A proposed rule does not have any effect by itself, and is not part of the actual regulations until a final rule takes effect. No final rule has been published for this proposed rule so far, and the US does not currently have a biometric entry/exit system.
    – user102008
    Aug 11, 2023 at 19:43
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    Do you have any evidence or other reason to believe that there are any biometric scanners for departing passengers at LAX? None of the US airports I've flown through recently have had any.
    – brhans
    Aug 12, 2023 at 15:57
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    If you're extremely concerned about this, you can always cross into Mexico overland and then take a flight from Mexico. That way your overstay won't even be recorded in the system.
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 5, 2023 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


I answered this question in practice by actually doing it yesterday on the flight from LAX to London. Almost everybody who wrote an answer turned out to be wrong. There was indeed Biometric Exit which I failed as expected but fortunately on this occasion it was supervized by airline crew and not CBP and so I was not delayed unduly and made the flight.

  • FWIW even under the proposed rules, overstays are not checked automatically by the biometric exit system. CBP is only involved when there is a lack of a photograph or mismatch of photographs (or match to a person of concern, not overstayers).
    – xngtng
    Oct 3, 2023 at 21:13
  • The standard procedure during the previous trials is that the airline agent will first try to use TVS to match between the traveller and the traveller's passport, if that also fails the travellers will be redirected to CBP. crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R47541
    – xngtng
    Oct 3, 2023 at 21:15

There is international policy that would be relevant here: Article 13.2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

Basically, they cannot keep you from leaving, unless under proper jurisdiction have a legal right to detain you for a crime (which would be something more serious than an overstay).

In my own experiences with overstays, it greatly depends on the country and officer. I can't comment about the U.S., being a citizen. In the few instances I've had overstays in places...

Ecuador - total accident, immigration refused to take my extension over BS about their office hours, was stuck there several extra months - officer at exit simply smiled and stamped me out asking how my stay was

France - Technically I had an extra 90 days by way of an old treaty, but either way, they generally looked confused at my stamps and just stamped me out (had recently gotten my passport washed - washing machine incident...)

Spain - Known for being lax, I was simply stamped out as usual with a one month overstay, also somewhat unplanned

Cambodia - Ugh, they will fine you by the day, at no small cost - three days overstay was like a $50 fine, and nearly an hour of extra paperwork being stalled at the security checkpoint... don't recommend.

I guess the point here is you generally shouldn't worry. I would plan to go to the airport a couple extra hours early in case someone pulls you aside. Don't get nervous or defensive if this happens. You know what you've done, know that you have every right to leave the country, they may just want to ask the why of it all, and decide whether or not to apply a ban to your passport. Just building in this extra time may relieve some stress, though.

Don't worry, you should have no problem leaving. The question is more whether or not you'll be allowed the right to return. Be especially kind and respectful on exit, and hope you get away with just a regular exit stamp.

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    I don’t think the claim that every country will simply let you exit is true: see this question for an example of the bureaucratic nightmare you have to go through for even the shortest overstay in Russia, for example travel.stackexchange.com/questions/152418/…
    – Joe Malt
    Sep 5, 2023 at 20:03
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    "get away with a regular exit stamp" doesn't exist in the US since there is no exit stamp.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 5, 2023 at 22:16
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    The UDHR has no force of law. "decide whether or not to apply a ban to your passport": there's no decision; there is an automatic 10-year ban. "Be especially kind and respectful on exit, and hope you get away with just a regular exit stamp": the US does not stamp passports of departing travelers.
    – phoog
    Sep 5, 2023 at 22:25
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    In addition to carrying no force of law, the rights are not interpreted as absolutes. Overstay is probably an valid reason for temporarily denying exit. But the answer is horrible on multiple counts, and is in my opinion extremely poor answer.
    – vidarlo
    Sep 6, 2023 at 5:54
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    "A general understanding of immigration procedures" doesn't particularly answer this question, which is about the procedures of one specific country whose procedures you don't discuss. And since the procedures in different countries can vary from "nothing happens" to "you're criminally prosecuted for immigration violations" depending on the country and the whims of the officials involved, a general understanding doesn't really do much to help the OP know what, if anything (and nothing is indeed a likely outcome), will happen at LAX. Sep 7, 2023 at 21:20

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