How to Leave the United States Properly

Your passport must be up-to-date and have space available to be stamped.
Your passport must be up-to-date and have space available to be stamped. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

There are specific preparations that must be accounted for before leaving the United States to make it through immigration control successfully and avoid violating international laws. It is important to look up the requirements of the country you will be traveling to in order to have all the proper documentation ready. A foreign country has the right to deny you entrance. To avoid this, you must apply for all the necessary visas and have other paperwork ready before you leave the United States.

Things You'll Need

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Return ticket

Obtain a passport, if you do not already possess one. They can be applied for at most local post offices. Submit the documentation for a passport at least six weeks before you plan on using it to make sure it will arrive in time. If you already own a passport, make sure it will not expire while you are traveling, and that there is space left on it to be stamped.

Apply for a visa, if necessary. Some countries require U.S. citizens to apply for a visa before entering their borders, while some do not. An American may travel to Europe, for example, for up to 90 days without a visa. Check the requirements on the destination country's immigration website.

Obtain proof of sufficient funds. Some countries require visitors to show a document that states they have enough money to support themselves without working for the duration of their stay. The amount of money required varies by country. Generally, proof is in the form of a bank statement or a letter from a financial sponsor.

Print out the details for your return ticket. Many countries want proof that you have intention of leaving their borders within the allotted time frame. Some countries will let you in without a return ticket, as long as you can prove you have enough money to buy a return ticket. Look up the requirements before traveling.

Purchase health insurance that covers international travel if your current plan does not. Immigration officers may require a letter from the insurance company that explains that you are covered abroad. Special travel insurance can be obtained for only the duration of the trip.

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