On May 6, 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) updated its guidelines on how to validate one's timely departure from the United States if the I-94 form was not turned in at the time of departure. Generally, a visitor to the United States should turn in his/her Form I-94 or Form I-94W Departure Record upon departure from the United States, except when taking trips of 30 days or less to Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean Islands during the U.S. visit (in such cases the visitor should turn in the I-94 when leaving the U.S. to return home). Even if a visitor did not turn in his/her Form I-94 upon departure, no action is necessary if the visitor left the United States by commercial plane or ship, although keeping the outbound boarding pass may expedite the visitor's future reentry into the United States. However, if a visitor departed by land, private plane, or private ship, then he/she must validate timely departure (even if the visitor was present in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program). Otherwise, the next time the visitor seeks admission to the United States, CBP may conclude that the visitor remained in the U.S. beyond his/her authorized stay and deny entry/order his/her immediate return.

A visitor to the United States can validate his/her timely departure by mailing the I-94 Departure Record, an explanation letter in English, and documentation proving departure to the following CBP address: DHS – CBP SBU, 1084 South Laurel Road, London, KY 40744. Documentation proving departure includes but is not limited to:

  • Original boarding pass the visitor used to depart another country, such as Canada, if he/she flew home from there;
  • Photocopies of entry or departure stamps in the visitor's passport indicating entry to another country after his/her departure from the United States (the visitor should copy all passport pages that are not completely blank, and include the biographical page containing his/her photograph);
  • Photocopies of dated pay slips or vouchers from the visitor's employer to indicate that the visitor worked in another country after departing the United States;
  • Photocopies of dated bank records showing transactions to indicate the visitor was in another country after leaving the United States;
  • Photocopies of school records showing attendance at a school outside the United States to indicate that the visitor was in another country after leaving the United States;
  • Photocopies of dated credit card receipts showing the visitor's name, with the credit card number deleted, for purchases made after the visitor left the United States to indicate that visitor was in another country after leaving the United States.  

The visitor should retain a copy of all materials sent to CBP and carry a copy of these materials with him/her during next travel to the United States.