The Department of Homeland Security Prevent Departure Program was created to stop non-U.S. citizens from departing the country. This program may be an effective tool to stop an international parental abduction in progress. It is important to note, however, that the program only applies to aliens. it is not available to stop U.S. citizens or dual U.S./foreign citizens from leaving the country.
Parents should note that there is a strict protocol to follow in requesting entry of a child or children into the Prevent Departure Program.
Contact the Office of Children’s Issues immediately if:
- Your child is in the process of being abducted internationally by a family member, and
- Is NOT yet abroad.
Evenings, Holidays, and Weekends - Call 1-888-407-4747
For other possible prevention solutions see the Office of Children's Issues website here.
Purpose of the Prevent Departure Program:
The purpose of the prevent departure program is to ensure that no alien shall depart, or attempt to depart, from the United States if his departure would be prejudicial to the interests of the United States. The statutory authority to prevent departure from the U.S. of persons whose departure would be prejudicial to the national interests is contained in 8 USC 1185(a) and 8 CFR 215.3. The specific reasons for prevention of departure and the rules for the conduct of proceedings are detailed in those sections and in 22 CFR 46.
Prevent Departure Program seeks to provide an immediate capability to intercept known or suspected terrorists, criminals and other wanted individuals through an effective method for disseminating prevent departure information to the transportation industry. This roster has included cases of potential international kidnappings by non-custodial parents as well.
The immediate goal is to effectively and efficiently provide all air, land and maritime conveyances a single point of contact at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and provide a single, comprehensive prevent departure lookout database of prevent departure subjects for whom the United States suspects of imminent or immediate departure to foreign countries.
At the time of this writing, requirements of the program are as follows:
- Subject may NOT be a US citizen;
- The nomination must include a law enforcement agency contact with 24/7 coverage;
- There must be a court order showing which parent has been awarded custody or shows that the subject is restrained from removing his/her minor child from certain counties, the state or the U.S.;
- The Subject must be in the US; and
- There must be some likelihood that the Subject will attempt to depart in the immediate future.