I was travelling out of Turkey the other day and was surprised that they have exit immigration (checking passports/visas on the way out). This introduces somewhat of a delay into the airport process, so it's helpful to know in advance whether it's going to happen when visiting a new country.

I'm from the UK, where we don't do this (well, we do, but it's only very recently introduced, and electronic, so is mostly transparent for air travel). In the US, I believe exit records are electronic also. Schengen countries have exit immigration when leaving Schengen but it is mostly incidental/very quick for EU citizens.

Is there any comprehensive or consistent way to know if a country is going to have exit immigration before you get to the airport in order to factor that into your timings?

Note: I am mostly focused on airport travel here, although a more general answer could be helpful.

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    UK, where we don't do this Not any more. I think they have started exit checks too. Am sure about on Eurostar, not so much in airports though but I am assuming it would be happening too.
    – DumbCoder
    May 27, 2015 at 12:06
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    I left the UK via LHR T4 this month and there were no exit checks. My flight destination was a Schengen country though. This might make a difference.
    – JoErNanO
    May 27, 2015 at 12:08
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    @DumbCoder, did you read the rest of the sentence? ;) May 27, 2015 at 12:10
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    @JoErNanO, there were. I think they were just transparent to you. May 27, 2015 at 12:11
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    "exit immigration" sounds strange, wouldn't that be emigration? May 27, 2015 at 12:23

2 Answers 2


Most countries except for the UK, USA, Ireland, Mexico and Canada impose formal exit checks in the same way they impose entry checks. (I am excluding passenger information being submitted to governments, by exit check, I mean all departing passengers queue up and an immigration officer looks at every outgoing passport.)

Therefore unless you are exiting one of those above-mentioned countries, there are formal exit controls.

Travelling within the Schengen zone of course involves no passport control, because it is designed as one immigration zone, but when you leave the zone there is an exit control.

There may be further exceptions (please reply in the comments) but actually I can think of none off the top of my head.

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    I'm unsure as to how this answers the Is there any comprehensive or consistent way to know if a country is going to have exit immigration before you get to the airport in order to factor that into your timings? question.
    – JoErNanO
    May 27, 2015 at 12:44
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    That's my experience- it's pretty ubiquitous outside of North America . Just another queue to go through. Even within regions (for example, leaving China walking across the border to Hong Kong- or the other way around) there will be outgoing immigration controls where you surrender a portion of a landing card or fill out a new departure card. That's how they check that you've not overstayed your visa, for example. May 27, 2015 at 14:13
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    @JoErNanO The comprehensive and consistent way is to check, "Am I leaving any country except the US/Canada/UK/Ireland? Yes? Then I must go through passport control." (Treating the Schengen zone as one immigration zone.) As it was unclear, I will edit my answer to make this manifest.
    – Calchas
    May 27, 2015 at 14:54
  • @Calchas I appreciate you are closer than anyone else so far - but that's not comprehensive. Have you visited every country on the planet? ;) May 27, 2015 at 15:32
  • For example, I know that Mexico does not have exit checks (you hand back a form, but only to the airline, similar to how it was done in the US for many years)... you may wish to edit that into your answer. May 27, 2015 at 15:36

I have never seen a comprehensive list, but most major international airport websites have terminal maps and most of the time they show immigration counters and/or areas. In which case, you can research before you go and safely assume there will be exit formalities if there is any sort of immigration facility noted on the departure level before the gates.

For international travel, as a general rule, I assume there will be exit formalities and budget my airport time accordingly. And with 60+ countries under my belt, it has been my experience that they all had exit formalities (except those Calchas has already listed UK, USA, Ireland, Canada, haven't been to Mexico)

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