International Travel Tip: How to record departure from the United States after the fact

International Travel Tip: How to record departure from the United States after the fact

If you fail to turn in your I-94 when departing the US and return to your home-country with your Form I-94 (white) or Form I-94W (green) in your passport, it is possible that your departure was not recorded properly.

If you departed by a commercial air or sea carrier (airlines or cruise ships), your departure from the US can be independently verified, and it is not necessary to take any further action, although holding on to your outbound (from the U.S.) boarding pass, if you still have it, can help expedite your re-entry next time you come back to the US.

If you departed by land, private vessel or private plane, you will need to take steps to correct the record. If you do not validate your timely departure from the US, or, if you cannot reasonably prove you departed within the time frame given to you when you entered, the next time you apply for admission to the US, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may conclude you remained in the US beyond your authorized stay. If this happens, your visa may be subject to cancellation or you may be returned immediately to your foreign point of origin.

To avoid such consequences, if you failed to turn in your I-94 Departure Record, please send it, along with any documentation that proves you left the United States to:

1084 South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744

Do not mail your Form I-94 Departure Record or supporting information to any US Consulate or Embassy, to any other CBP Office in the US, or to any address other than the one above. Only at this location is CBP able to make the necessary corrections to its records. The London, Kentucky office does not answer correspondence, so please do not ask for confirmation that your record has been updated.

To validate departure, CBP will consider a variety of information, including but not limited to:

  • Original boarding passes you used to depart another country, such as Canada, if you flew home from there;
  • Photocopies of entry or departure stamps in your passport indicating entry to another country after you departed the US (you should copy all passport pages that are not completely blank, and include the biographical page containing your photograph); and
  • Photocopies of other supporting evidence such as dated pay-slips from your employer to indicate you worked in another country after you departed the US, dated bank records showing transactions to indicate you were in another country after you left the US, school records showing attendance at a school outside the US after you left the US, and dated credit card receipts, showing your name, but, the credit card number deleted, for purchases made after you left the US to indicate you were in another country after leaving the US.

To assist CBP in understanding the situation and correct your records, they advise including an explanation letter in English. If you send original materials, you should retain a copy. CBP cannot return original materials after processing.

CBP also strongly urges keeping a copy of what is sent to DHS-CBP and carrying it the next time one enters the US in case the CBP Officer has any questions about eligibility to enter. Carrying those materials with you will also allow your record to be corrected at the time of entry if, for some reason, the London, Kentucky office has not yet done so.

If taking short trips (30 days or less) to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean Islands during the course of your visit to the US, hold onto your I-94 or I-94 (W). Your I-94 should only be turned in when you leave the US to return home.

Delays beyond the traveler's control, such as cancelled or delayed flights, medical emergencies requiring a doctor's care, etc. are not considered unauthorized overstays, however, you will need to bring proof of the cause of your overstay next time you travel to the US in order for it to be forgiven. For airline delays, ask the airline for a letter affirming the delay or a copy of your cancelled boarding pass.