I'm an international student in the US, and my visa already expired, will I be able to travel out of US without a valid visa?

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    America has no outgoing border check, period. There's nobody to even look at your visa. (Now, when you fly the airline will demand to see your passport--but they're interested in whether you will be allowed in at your destination, not whether it's legal for you to leave. If a plane brings someone they should have known won't be admitted they get a nasty fine.) – Loren Pechtel Feb 11 '16 at 2:39
  • Yes. A valid visa is necessary only for entering the US. If you mean "travel out of the US and return" then the answer is no, subject to the exceptions in the posted answer. You cannot get a new visa while you are in the US unless you have one of certain A or G visas. – phoog Feb 11 '16 at 3:30
  • @LorenPechtel the fact that there are no exit checks is not particularly relevant. Even if there were, it would still be okay to leave with an expired visa, just as it is okay to remain with one. – phoog Feb 11 '16 at 3:45
  • @phoog The point about the border checks is that they don't look at anything, let alone visa status. – Loren Pechtel Feb 11 '16 at 4:35
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    @jcaron the question does not have enough information to conclude that the asker has overstayed. The expiration of the visa has no bearing whatsoever on that question. – phoog Feb 11 '16 at 9:50

Yes, you can leave the US if your student (F or J) visa has expired. The US does not prevent anyone from departing the country if they wish to do so.

However, you may need to get a new visa if you wish to return to the US.

You can re-enter the US without renewing your visa under automatic revalidation if your trip is to Canada, Mexico or certain Caribbean islands and you spend no more than 30 days outside the US. You must take a copy of your I-20 and I-94 with you.

For further information on automatic revalidation, see the CBP Automatic Revalidation Fact Sheet.

If you do not qualify for automatic revalidation, you will need to obtain a new visa in order to return to the US. Note that nationals of Iran, Syria and Sudan do not qualify for automatic revalidation in any case.

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  • It's worth noting that unless the student is in A or G status, it will be necessary to apply for the new visa after leaving the US. – phoog Feb 11 '16 at 3:33
  • @phoog True enough, but remember that A and G status are for diplomatic and government officials and their families; that they can study in the US is mostly incidental, and it's highly unlikely that the person asking the question is in such a status. – Michael Hampton Feb 11 '16 at 4:18
  • Exactly, all the more reason to point out that if the traveler wants to leave and return it's almost certainly necessary to get a new visa, which almost certainly will have to be done after leaving the US. – phoog Feb 11 '16 at 6:15

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