How To Provide Proof Of Onward Travel (So You Don’t Get Kicked Off Your Flight!)

This post may contain affiliate links. See my policy page for more info.

Proof Of Onward Travel Tips

How To Provide Proof Of Onward Travel

Flying Travel Tips [UPDATED: January 2019]

Planning to travel internationally on a one-way ticket? You might have a problem. Some airlines and countries require proof of onward travel. Here’s how you can get it.

“Before you can board this flight, I need to see your proof of onward travel.” What?! But I’m traveling on a one-way ticket!

I remember the first time it happened to me. I was checking in at Boston’s Logan Airport for an international flight to Bangkok, Thailand.

Excited to visit Southeast Asia for the first time, and planning to spend a few months living in Chiang Mai as a digital nomad. I was flying one-way because, you know, I wasn’t sure how long I’d stay.

One month? Three? Would I even go back to the United States? Maybe I’ll travel to a different country after Thailand… overland. I simply hadn’t planned that far ahead yet.

However due to my American privilege, and my inexperience with international travel, it never once crossed my mind that this would be a problem.

Can’t I just buy another ticket when I’m ready to leave? Nope.

READY TO FLY? Need to rent a cheap ticket confirmation for proof of onward travel? Click Here To Get Started »
Proof Of Onward Travel Tips

How To Provide Proof Of Onward Travel

What Is Proof Of Onward Travel?

Basically, some countries want to make sure you aren’t attempting to move there on a tourist visa and never leave. It happens all the time here in the United States, and other countries too.

They are trying to prevent illegal immigration.

Government officials need to see proof that you plan on flying out, respecting the rules of their tourist visa. They want proof of onward travel to another destination.

So while you can technically travel on a one-way ticket, they also need some kind of official return ticket confirmation showing that you are leaving the country eventually.

They won’t necessarily care where that ticket goes, just as long as it’s out of their country.

Ticket Confirmation

Example Ticket Confirmation

Airline Requirements

Many countries actually pass this responsibility on to airlines, meaning that it’s the airline check-in desk who will ask to see proof of your onward travel before they let you board the flight.

Because if they don’t check, and allow you on the flight with a one-way ticket, but immigration officials refuse to let you in, the airline will be responsible for the costs of flying (deporting?) you back to your home country, along with possible fines.

Some airlines are very strict about the proof of onward travel rule.

If you can’t provide proof, you won’t be allowed to board your flight. Or they’ll ask you to buy a return ticket from them right then and there — which can often cost hundreds of dollars more than you want to spend.

Onward Travel Rules Suck!

I feel your pain. Why can’t they just make it easy and allow me travel on a one-way ticket, trusting me when I tell them I plan to leave in two months?

Some of us prefer to travel spontaneously, without plans!

Most long-term travelers are on a tight budget, trying to make their money last as long as possible. Or they aren’t exactly sure which country they want to visit next. Or they want to travel overland by bus.

Buying round trip tickets just isn’t in the cards for everyone.

Don’t take it personally though. These are their rules, and we have to respect them. We have the same laws for foreigners attempting to visit our country.

Luckily there are a few easy (and legal) ways to get around this proof-of-onward-travel requirement, so you can travel on a one-way ticket, and not be forced to pre-plan your entire trip down to the last detail.

How To Get Proof Of Onward Travel

If you think you may need proof of onward travel during your adventure, there are a few legal ways to get around the rules without having to buy round trip tickets everywhere you go.

Buy A Refundable Ticket

If you don’t mind waiting a while (sometimes months) to receive a refund, buying a fully refundable second one-way return ticket is definitely possible.

To make it work, you’ll need to buy that second ticket before you leave for your destination.

Once you’ve entered the country, cancel your exit ticket, and wait for the refund. Just make sure to read the fine print — because some airlines charge cancelation fees, or only refund tickets using flight vouchers instead of cash.

Rent A Ticket Confirmation (BEST)

The safest/cheapest option is to “rent” an airline ticket confirmation from a real-life travel agency. is a service that books a real return ticket in your name, then cancels it for you later.

It only costs €19 EURO, and you’ll get your official ticket confirmation within hours. It’s cheaper than buying your own ticket and safer than trying to forge one. This is the option I recommend.

Book With Airline Miles

If you are a travel-hacking whiz and have accumulated a ton of points or miles on your travel rewards credit cards, you can use those points to book a one-way return flight and cancel it later.

Most of the time you’ll find that your points or miles are refunded right away, making it a no-brainer.

Buy A Cheap Ticket

Extreme budget airlines around the world can have some amazing flight deals. While the airline itself might not be the best if you don’t plan on actually using the ticket, who cares!

Find the cheapest one-way ticket to a major city in the country next door, and eat the cost. Maybe $50 or $100.

This works best in cheaper areas of the world, like Asia or Latin America. Some examples of budget airlines include EasyJet, AirAsia, Volaris, etc. Click here for a full list.

What about bus or train tickets out of the country? In my experience, sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. I think it depends on the mood of the check-in agent.

Forge A Ticket Confirmation

First of all, I do not recommend this method. If you get caught, it could end up badly. Especially if you try to show a fake piece of paper to actual immigration officials rather than airline employees.

Lying to immigration officials is illegal, and could land you in jail.

But if you’re willing to risk it, the website helps you create a fake onward travel confirmation. Use this option at your own risk!

Which Countries Require Proof?

Many countries technically require proof of onward travel, however, they don’t always enforce the rule. To reduce your chances of them asking, it’s wise to avoid dressing like a bum/hippie with no money.

Business casual works best at airports if you want to avoid questions.

A few countries definitely require documented proof of onward travel. They include New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Peru, and the Philippines.

However, depending on the airline you use, you might also get asked for proof before visiting countries like Thailand, Mexico, and Panama. Do some research on your destination country to be sure.

Don’t Get Caught Off Guard!

Even though this rule might seem ridiculous, if you are a long-term traveler who prefers to travel on one-way tickets, you will eventually get asked for proof of onward travel.

I’ve probably been asked at least 10 times over the past few years.

Luckily there are legal loopholes around it. You just need to remember to get everything sorted in advance before you find yourself stuck arguing with the airline check-in agent, about to miss your flight. ★

READY TO FLY? Need to rent a cheap ticket confirmation for proof of onward travel? Click Here To Get Started »

Pin This!

Tips for how to provide proof of onward travel when flying on a one-way ticket. More at
Tips for how to provide proof of onward travel when flying on a one-way ticket. More at
Tips for how to provide proof of onward travel when flying on a one-way ticket. More at

Have any questions about proof of onward travel? Have you ever been asked? Drop me a message in the comments below!

Share Your Comments Or Questions!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. My question is, can I book a ticket with 2 different airlines? For example …

    If I live in Los Angeles and I want to visit Manila, Can I book a flight on Eva-airlines to Manila, Philippines and book a return flight back to Los Angeles on China Airlines before I leave USA?

  2. Just found this article, and the outgoing ticket requirement has come up a few times lately for me. Thanks so much for it.

    A question or two, and a few comments-

    First, the questions- I was wondering-
    Is it safe and legal to just look for the cheapest tickets from the COUNTRY that I’m going to be visiting that has the outgoing ticket requirement, even if it might be from a CITY or area I may not end up visiting?
    Has anyone ever had either an airline or immigration official questioning an outgoing ticket just based on the fact it was departing from a totally different area of the country from where the incoming ticket is to?
    (For example, I’m scheduled into Bali, Indonesia soon. Looking at flights, I can reserve pretty much a throwaway ticket (~US$16) from a different region of Indonesia (Palembang in Sumatra to Singapore), while tickets from Bali or 2-3 times as much.)
    Note- I would just book a ticket from Bali (DPS), but like with Thailand, Indonesia allows pretty stress-free visa extension for another 30 days, which I will probably want to do. Since they still require an outgoing ticket based on the initial visa end-date, it just seems a waste to buy 2 higher priced tickets for one departure.

    Now, a few random comments I have just based on my LIMITED experience-
    — I didn’t see any Mainland Europe/ Schengen Zone countries listed in the great post above requiring outgoing tickets, but when I flew from Singapore to Portugal earlier this year, British Air wouldn’t let me check in without proof of an outgoing ticket from Portugal. I fought it for a bit, and even called a couple different British Air support numbers, and they wouldn’t budge (even though I hadn’t been asked for an outgoing ticket the last 2 times I’d flown into Portugal over the last couple years).
    I was able to board after buying the cheapest online bus ticket (I believe around 10 Euros) I could find from northern Portugal to Spain. (Interesting to me they didn’t even care that I would still be within the Schengen Zone in Spain; I only had to prove I was leaving Portugal.)

    — Re those companies that buy and then cancel a refundable ticket for you, I recommend people be smart enough (NOT like me) to VERIFY their business hours before using their services.
    I have only tried to use one of their services one time (in late 2016), and didn’t notice until after I’d paid them that the company I used pretty much had 9-5 hours hours, and was only open on weekdays (unless you paid a LOT more), and seemed to be based in the Far East, so based on when I left the U.S. (and the length of my flight requiring me to wait until the last minute), I didn’t receive the outgoing ticket until AFTER I needed it since I left before they opened for business. (Luckily for me in that case, the airline only asked me when I planned on leaving Thailand, and didn’t ask for a proof of a ticket, so I as OK.)

    — I haven’t looked into details yet as I haven’t any set plans to visit Thailand again as of this moment, but also wanted to mention-
    that I believe I’ve read that, at least for some of their visas, they require proof of lodging during your whole stay in addition to an outgoing ticket. (And, if I remember correctly, they didn’t accept reservations on Airbnb. Most people seemed to recommend just booking “no cancellation fee” lodgings via a hotel booking site and then cancelling when arrived in the country; bummer for those hotels.) From briefly reading, it does NOT sound to me like you currently need lodging proof or info for your whole trip in Thaland if you’re just getting a visa exemption stamp when entering Thailand. (They DO have the right to ask for proof of funds before entering the country in that case, but wonder how often they do so. Also note I believe the form asks for a Thai address, so I’m guessing you’ll at least want to have one day’s lodging set up.)
    Also re Thailand, I know, at least a couple years ago (when I last visited there) that at least in some cases the official stance was they did not accept “land” tickets (bus, train, ship) as outgoing tickets to meet the visa requirement; it had to be a plane ticket.

    — As to countries I’ve visited the last couple years for which I was NOT asked for proof of outgoing travel- they are India, France, Malaysia and Vietnam.

    — Of course, as with everything in the visa area, it’s probably ALWAYS good to do some searching (via Google or equivalent) to see what the current rules and practices are for ANY country we plan on visiting.

  3. I’m trying to find a refundable flight between Bangkok and any nearby city. All of the airlines (Thai, Cathay,etc) have refundable tickets but have a cancellation fee. If you check carefully the wording on Expedia it says there are no fees from Expedia itself, but fees from the airline will be passed on. How do I ensure if I need to refund that I won’t get a cancellation fee, even when Expedia says free cancellation within 24 hrs? Virtually all flights from Bangkok with “free cancellation” have a footnote saying “cancellations are permitted, fee may apply”. Thanks.

  4. I have plans to travel Malaysia and Singapore from India in January 2019. Can I buy one way airtickets, Delhi to Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and Singapore to Delhi. I hope it is not going to pose any problem!
    Instead, can I show immigration officer, bus/train ticket to leave Malaysia?

  5. Also Singapore, they even want to see that you have cash on hand and in your bank account before entering. Well at least the airline wanted this not the immigration….

  6. If I am an American citizen and am buying a one way ticket back to the US from the Caribbean (Aruba), do I need proof of onward travel?

    1. No, American’s don’t need proof to re-enter their own country, if that’s what you mean. You’re legally allowed to stay in your own country.

      But if you bought a one-way ticket to Aruba, and haven’t purchased the one-way ticket back to the United States yet, then you could get in trouble when trying to fly out of the US to Aruba. Airline officials want to see proof that you’re returning to the US — they are trying to prevent people from flying into other countries and staying there without a proper visa. Basically, illegal immigration (to Aruba for example) using a tourist visa to get in. They want proof that you plan to return to the United States, before allowing you to fly to Aruba.

  7. Hi, is it enough a ticket out of the country I’ll visit? Or will they ask me a return flight to my own country? Sometimes I’ve heard about people got asked for a return flight to their home. What are your experiences? Thanks!

  8. If we are buying all our onevway tickets in advance is this proof. We want to fly one way from Canada to Bali then one way to Australia, one way to NZ then one way back to Canada

    1. yes this should be ok if you can show them the proof, confirmation of booking. don’t worry they cannot verify that you actually bought it, the booking is enough.

  9. I booked a ticket, but only received an itinerary like the sample in the article but no ticket number, winch didn’t seem official to me. When I checked on Emirates website with last name and flight reference I found the flight and my name but it says ” Your tickets are not yet issued. Contact your agent to issue your tickets so that you can travel.” So I am not sure if this will be accepted as proof or not. Can anyone tell me what to do?

  10. Can someone clarify this for me. I want to book a round trip ticket in and out of Bangkok for 6 months. I’m doing the Banana Pancake Route so my initial start will be in Thailand and I will end my travels in Thailand. If I can show that I will leave Thailand within the 30 days by booking a train to Laos can I come back into Thailand again to leave for my return flight? I hope this makes sense.

    1. When you get to Thailand by air you get 30 days visa and 15 days by land. You can re-enter the country normally with no trouble and again you will get 30 by air or 15 by land.
      It is possible to travel to Thailand with visa, you need to present a proof of outbound ticket and pay the fee, this will give you 60 days visa if you need it . It pays off if you planning to stay longer than 30 days.
      Obviously details change as per which country you are from.

  11. Thanks for this article. I am embarking on a 6 month trip soon and i had wondered what the policy was. I’m not sure if you know the rules in specific countries, but i am planning on travelling to Canada, USA, South America (Colombia, Bolivia, Peru). I think i will try to calculate how long i want to be in each country and buy my onward tickets accordingly.

  12. Hello!
    So I am traveling from Boston to Florence for a study abroad. I do not have a return ticket since the program ends before the 89 day period when I would need a Visa. I plan on traveling around Europe after my program and I am going to be leaving before the 89 days where I would need a Visa, but since I do not know the date/location of when I will return I did not get a return flight. Do you think since I am a student going abroad with a university that I would have any trouble not having a return flight purchased? I looked on Italian government websites and didn’t see any return flight requirements for entering the country.

  13. Thanks for the tips.

    I have been asked by airlines to buy onward tickets on the spot before. It sucks but, well, it wasn’t as dramatic. Mobile phone makes things easy.

  14. My boyfriend and I are going back to America, he is a Kiwi. He has a 3 month visa in America but we only bought one-way tickets. We found out he needed a return ticket and so my mom called the airline and they told her to just buy a return ticket and cancel it in 24 hours. She bought the ticket today and is going to cancel it tomorrow. I leave on the 7th of August with my boyfriend. I printed off my boarding pass and his. If its cancelled can we still go or do you think there is a chance it will show that his flight was cancelled?

    1. Generally you cancel the return ticket after you’ve already entered the country. Especially for the United States, my guess is they are going to be very strict and actually look it up.

      1. Thank you for this article! So, if I enter France with a “rented” one-way ticket, for example, and plan to travel by train to Spain and Italy as well, will I be asked for travel documents on the trains as I enter/exit Spain and Italy?

        1. No, it’s just when you’re flying into Europe. And you probably won’t be asked flying between two EU countries anyway — but if you fly into the EU from the United States, they could ask.

  15. This was really useful advice. We are at the end of a 3 month sabbatical, and getting a flight from Heathrow to Bangkok was the first time I’ve ever booked a one way ticket. Thankfully I’d seen this, and booked a cheap ticket between Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang to show proof of exit. We ended up using this flight in the end, so thanks for the tip!

    1. Do you possibly have a website or other source regarding the list of countries (esp’ly the US) that require proof on onward travel? We want to make sure before buying tickets.

  16. Hi, great article, thanks! I was wondering if immigration may keep track of your cheap ticket and whether you may have problems with it if you flyout of the country on another flight, thanks!

  17. Hi glad I came across this post. I currently live in the UK but I am a US citizen with a US passport. I have something in my expired US passport that allows me to gain entry in the UK. I am supposed to renew it but it costs £400. I have not had any issues gaining entry back into the UK but I have an issue when boarding my flight in the US. I am trying to find the best and cheapest way to prove I am allowed to live in the UK. I also have British citizenship

  18. Hi. My wife and I are flying to Mexico, she is American, I bought the onward tickets to Cancun but we are planning to flight back from Mexico city, is there gonna be a problem if we don’t have the tickets front the same city we arrived?

  19. Hi there, my wife and I are planning on selling everything in about 5 months to start traveling full time. We wanted to start in Europe, but I think the biggest question we have is when traveling full time and buying a one way ticket what are the most important things to prepare for? The last thing we want to happen is to continue buying tickets to visit other countries and get stopped by immigration giving us problems or just simply getting in trouble.

  20. Has anyone used As suggested in the thread?. I have got I hope valid bookings from them but wont find out for sure if they are legit for another week. Fingers crossed.
    An update, I flew from Bali to Japan but they didn’t check so waiting for Mexico connection but I’m in departure lounge so probably won’t be checked again. When I finally get to try out these bookings I’ll post here & answer my own question for others to know.

    1. Sorry about the delay. Yes, worked perfectly even to the point where one airline checked on the computer to check the booking was legit.

  21. Hi Matthew
    I had a question which you might be able to assist and share some advice and thoughts on
    I currently have booked a return flight with Emirates from London to Mauritius at the end of March 2018
    I however wish to actually fly out to Singapore from Mauritius via a single journey before the return date on original emirates ticket. I booked a single trip with emirates and received a notification of a duplicate ticket – with some research and enquiry found out if the same passenger is flying on same airlines with similar dates then they will cancel the ticket
    Am i able to purchase a single journey with a different airline and not board my return ticket with emirates as i will be in another destination before that date of return?
    Hoping this make sense and can assist further with your opinion
    Thanks in advance and hope to hear back as soon as
    Kind Regards

  22. hi, so i can get my ticket to philippines and another from philippines to thailand and before i leave to go to thailand just book another from lets just say thailand to vietnam and so on? I will probably be heading to the philippines in april or so, feedback is greatly appreciated

  23. Great post! I’m currently sitting at LAX faced with the unexpected task of buying a secondary flight out of Thailand. Your info just saved the day 🙏

  24. Thanks for this information!

    I used and they are the same. Once used and they stole my money. :(

  25. Hello Matt I’m going to be traveling to the Philippines soon. I understand that I have to have an onward ticket when traveling to the Philippines I am going to be going on a one-way ticket and buying a cheap onward I won’t be going anywhere else I’ll be staying there for a few months. My question to you is about my Visa book my onward flight. I am going in April with no idea of when I will return but it will be at least three months so I don’t know when so I so I don’t know when so I don’t know to book the onward flight and when I should extend my Visa? so if you can give me a tip or 2 I would greatly appreciate it

  26. Hi..
    I am traveling from Delhi to Uruguay with stop overs in Abu Dhabi and Madrid.
    I travel via Iberia Airlines from Madrid to Montevideo.
    Do I need to show return ticket back to India or just onward ticket from Montevideo to Bolivia would also get me into Uruguay ?

  27. Hey Matt, found your blog by accident, found this particular post extremely helpful for my situation. I’m traveling next year from Chile to Denmark with a stopover in London (3 hours) from what I’ve read, Ingland is very strict regarding onward tickets, do I need this ticket to be back to Chile, or just outside Europe? I haven’t been able to find clear information about this

    1. Hi Matt
      I am reading these comments about onward travel and feeling some concern. My husband and I are about to travel to London on the first leg of a 6 month trip to Europe. We do have an onward ticket to Ireland, and will probably have other trains and small flights booked by the time we leave Australia in July. However, we will not have a return ticket to Australia as we are unsure where we will end up in Europe. As we are in our 60’s, I was wondering if we were still likely to be questioned about this lack of a return ticket……I wouldn’t have thought we presented as typical illegal immigrant material!

      1. I think you’ll be fine Claire. As long as you can show that you’re leaving the United Kingdom eventually (because it’s not part of the EU Schengen Visa), the airline shouldn’t give you a problem.

        As for customs in the UK, explain what you’re doing, and you may have to show some future transportation and/or hotel confirmations elsewhere in Europe. Sometimes it just depends on how friendly the customs officer is that day.

  28. I need HELP, ASAP!

    I’m flying in to Costa Rica on the 25th and only have a one way ticket.

    Please, tell me what would be the best of option for me???? I HAVE VERY LITTLE TIME.

    Thank you!

  29. Fly Onward seems to have crashed. See recent Trust Pilot horror stories. I used successfully in the past, but they take $ & never send tickets. Messages on their website go unanswered. You need to warn people.

  30. hi there, I have a tricky situation. I am flying into taiwan – I have a return ticket back to Canada from taiwan. But we’re heading to thailand and maybe one other country so we haven’t booked a ticket out of thailand but we DO have a return ticket back to Canada. Does that count or does the ticket have to be literally exiting thailand?


  31. My daughter needed proof of onward travel when flying to South Korea for over the 90 day visa (she was exiting within that time, but her trip organization hadn’t purchased those tickets yet). As she was checking in for the flight, I purchased a RT ticket to Japan a couple months out that she could use, just in case I couldn’t cancel in time. The confirmation was on her phone when she checked in. They had to ask a couple people, but then approved it. When she touched down and made it through customs, I went online and canceled. I think I used Experian for that one. I purchased a OW ticket for her to return to S.Korea after the holidays since she won’t be returning for 8 months. We will try and get the rest of her schedule figured out during Christmas break, and will probably buy a last minute 24 hr cancel ticket again.

    1. THIS is the best suggestion.

      To reiterate: buy a return ticket right before you depart. By law, you have 24 hours to cancel a plane ticket. As soon as you land at your destination, hop online and cancel the plane ticket for a full refund. Problem solved :)

      1. that’s not correct afaik: i’ve seen multiple flights i bought with no cancellation policy of 24hours. (unless they don’t mention it. and if i say call them, they wud cancel it over the fone within 24hrs)

  32. just to let people know my families experience today. we wanted to travel into Costa Rica from Guatemala.. then we planned to do the border crossing from Cahuita to Bocas del Toro in Panama. We didn’t have any plans to book this until I stumbled upon the requirement to have onward bookings. What I did, which was successful and easy. Panama shuttles has a service from Cahuita to Bocas del Toro, which is 27US, I think. But, to make the booking and get a confirmation email of your booking you only need to pay a deposit of $5US.
    For our family we will use the booking, but for those just looking to get onto their plane for CR, it is a $5US solution to the problem. When we went to the airport we were asked at check in to provide our onward booking and he entered some details from the print out I received as confirmation.

  33. Hey Matt, great article.
    I’m flying from Sydney into Mexico City via LA. At the moment I’ve just got a one way flight as i plan to be in Central America for a while. Do you think i’ll have any troubles transiting via the USA and what are my best options?

    1. Hey there Adam, I just saw your question now, how you flown yet? Anyway if you are travelling on an ESTA through the USA, it is here you will most likely be asked for proof of onward travel, and unfortunately Mexico does not qualify as onward travel when passing though the USA. The is info on it somewhere here
      you need to have proof of onward travel out of the Canada/USA/Mexico/Caribbean Island areas ….. the closest country would probably be south of Mexico somewhere. Would a screwed up rule the world sucks and is wrong with this one here, especially the usa including Mexico/canadia and Caribbean islands as if it is part of that country. In Mexico you may be asked for proof of onward, but not as likely here.

  34. Hi. I haven’t experienced this but my son has just had this problem at Singapore & they refused to give him a boarding card without proof of Onward Travel out of the Philippines.. it’s his first proper independent trip & he’s planned quite well.. when he messaged me from Philippines he sounded exhausted but relieved.. He is now booked to leave Philippines for Vietnam on the 27 Nov & arrives in VN in the very early hours.. he says he hopes similarly they don’t also require proof out of Vietnam, as he doesn’t have anything booked yet ? Do you know whether the same applies.. thanks Jools

  35. Hi I am Michael I have never flew in a airline plane I plane to go to philippines also understand there are a rule for needing a ticket for exit of I have 2 questions 1 does your exit ticket need to be before tourist visa expires because I plane to stay longer then its given I would just renew in the Philippines second question is how do I obtain a copy of ticket which is suppose to leave a country ur not yet in where do I print or get this information so I have in advance also any other tips you offer for a first time flying would be greatly appreciated thanks mike

    1. hello Michael
      I can answer some of your questions, first you really need a onward flight ticket before bisa expires, by law. If you go with intension in renew bisa they definitny wont let go in. that’s why they ask for onward flight to avoid people stay longer. A round trip flight is gonna be expensive if you plan to ramain in the country, besides to change date they will charge a lot of money in cancelation fee I recommend to buy two one way ticket or a one that allows you to change date on time. answer to 2 second quesrion is that as soon you book a flight the airline will send you a email with the itinerary and the link to the website where you can check you flight.

  36. I booked an one-way ticket from Los Angeles to London for January 2018. I planned to travel to Paris after London but I don’t know the duration of stay in london. Afterwards I want to have the flexibility to go wherever whenever. My question is can the proof of onward travel be a train ticket from London to Paris?
    I also have an expired U.K. Passport for I was born in a British colony. Can an expired passport be a failed safe on the immigration denial of access?

  37. Thanks so much Matthew for the great info. We’ve just about finished selling everything we own so we can travel the world with our family of four for the next several years. Was a real wake up call when I realized we had to have exit flights for most of the country’s we wanted to visit. We’re starting in India for 4 weeks Jan 1st, moving on to Sri Lanka for a week afterwards, then to the Maldives for 2 weeks and then to Philippines for 4 months, Malaysia for 30 days after that, then Thailand 2 months, then Bali 2 months and then who knows. Would really appreciate any tips you can provide on when and how you apply for visas for each country you’re going to visit. Do you wing it as you go? How far in advance to you plan and obtain visas for future destinations? Thanks again and we look forward in continuing to follow your journey. Definitely inspiring watching what you’ve done. :-)

  38. Hope this helps, I’d like to add another website that might help, and so far, it’s free. Might change later. It’s called

    I don’t want to spam, only if owner of the site allows it to be posted. If there is any suggestions on how to make the site better, please post on the site.

  39. I would echo the comments below about and request that you remove your recommendation of them. I, like many others now, have sent them the money, received nothing, requested a refund within their 7 day refund policy window and heard nothing from them. They have essentially stolen my money. Terrible company, definitely not worth using. I’m disappointed after all the comments below they are still on your website.

    1. Hey Rory, after many similar comments and emails from others about Fly Onward, I’ve removed my recommendation. While I’ve used it many times in the past, it now seems something has happened and the service is no longer working. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

        1. Has anyone used this. I have got I hope valid bookings from them but wont find out for sure if they are legit for another week. Fingers crossed.

  40. My daughter is doing a unofficial work exchange and has booked a one way ticket to San Jose Costa Rica. I see you recommend the renting of onward travel tickets. I just want to make sure it is ligit or should she purchase a bus ticket?

    1. Hey Dawn,

      Costa Rica is a real stickler on having an onward ticket so I would make sure you have a legit one. I once just bought a bus ticket to Nicaragua with Ticabus as my “onward ticket” and that worked so you could try that. The bus tickets are pretty cheap so even if you don’t use them it’s no big deal.

  41. What about signing a note of affidavit releasing airline of financial responsibility in case i have problem with immigration of visiting country? They only care about the cost of the return flight anyhow. To handle immigration do you think it matters if i can show my bank statement to prove that at least i am not going to be there for illegal work (which i suppose it is their ultimate concern)?

  42. We are travelling to Costa Rica soon on a one way ticket on Southwest. My wife is from there and we don’t know how long we’ll stay this visit. SW offers refundable tickets for good prices. Can anyone think of a reason not to buy a separate one way refundable ticket with the same airline? Or does that raise suspicions or create other potential issues? Thanks!

  43. Thank you so much! I’m about to fly from Chiang Mai to India. So I’m going to look into that ten dollar service you mentioned. Thanks so much.

    When I went to indonesia they asked, so I quickly bought a ticket to Malaysia. Strangely when I went to the Philippines they didn’t ask. I’m from the US do they ask in Mexico?

  44. Hi!
    This was a very helpful article! I am travelling to Argentina for at least one month for a residency program but after that i want to travel around south america and i only just found out about their onward ticket policy! I leave in two weeks, my flight is from TPA-FLL-LIM-SCL-EZE(argentina) if the ticket has a time limit on it, when do i need to provide proof? at each destination or at my first? I booked my ticket through Kiwi so I’m flying with a couple different airlines. please help!

    1. I’m not the expert here but my belief is that if you’re only transiting the intermediate stops (less than 24 hours), then you only need an onward ticket at the point of origin to satisfy the airline. The other place that people use these is when applying in person at a consulate for a tourist visa to that country (as I did in Penang Malaysia last year for a visa into Thailand).

  45. Hello! I am looking to possibly travel somewhere sunny this year for a few days over Christmas. I will be recently divorced and just need to get away from the “normal” holiday hustle and bustle (snow, etc.). Limited budget (of course, right?). I was thinking Puerto Rico, but have no idea where to even begin looking for deals. Any ideas for direction? Thank you in advance!

  46. Im very nervous….I purchased a one way flight to Dominican republic.. My husband lives in Dr and we have an appointment there..I’m afraid they won’t let me on the

  47. Hi Matt, awesome article! My wife and I are going to Chiang Mai in 2 days and your article got me thinking. We have an onward ticket to Laos. However, it is a round-trip ticket. So it shows us leaving Thailand like we’re supposed to, but then returning a few days later…do you think that will be a problem? We really appreciate your help and advice

  48. This was probably the most organized and simply explained information I’ve found. Resourceful and informative. Big help!

  49. Hi Matt, I am with these valuable tips you gave for a long time and last month I finally needed to use the Flyonward service.
    The confirmation of order is very quick, but the tickets were sent to me just more then 1 day later. I am not sure if I had a kind of bad lucky, but I try twice to use the service and the same happens in both occasions.
    So, I think is useful to advise people to not try to book with them just in the boarding corner, so it is probable that you won’t have the tickets on time (happens with me) and maybe try to rent the tickets at least 48hs before, because even 24hs before is not enough (happens to me).
    And I also would like to say that I sent a lot of messages and try many times to communicate with them and never get an answer…

  50. We have two one way tickets on different airlines like delhi to Sydney and Sydney to Delhi while travelling to Australia on tourist visa as is there any objections to airline staff or immigration officers on this while boarding as i get two one way tickets more cheaper
    then round trip ticket

      1. Well actually I thought I could fool them ,so after the rude agents would not let me on, I went to the self service kiosk, checked in and boarded plane and they sold my seat again , then kicked me off.
        They were very rude about it.
        I now have a bus ticket from Costa Rica to Panama that is good for one year ,so let’s see if this works🙏

  51. Thanks for the interesting and valuable blog Matthew. My Q is (re: Sth America) if the return tix are from a different country (flight into Ecuador but return booked from Chile) is this likely to be acceptable? Many thanks

  52. I had this problem leaving Aus for Chile but I had a tour in Ecuador booked for 2 months later so in the end all they asked for was to see a credit card that was proof I could buy an onward ticket. Leaving Ecuador for Belize I also encountered this. I had a ticket from us to UK booked a few months in advance which they accepted. Hoping that when I leave us a booked safari in Africa a few months ahead will be enough.

  53. So, I have to have a booking out of the country I’m entering but I don’t have to have a booking back to my home country when I leave home. Is that correct?
    We are going to Portugal via the UK so the UK only care that we have an onward ticket to Portugal and Portugal would want us to have a ticket out of their country? We may bus/train to Spain so would a air ticket from another EU country be all we would need to make Portugal happy? TIA

    1. Correct. Portugal just wants to see that you are leaving their country for anywhere else. Sometimes another airline ticket between two other countries in the future will be enough. It really depends on the gate agent — so be very friendly and hope you don’t catch them in a bad mood.

      1. I am confused with tour answer Matt. I was for one year in Austria with touriat visa, I can travel without problem, unless my visa expires. When arriving people are asking for onward tickect from Schengen area so a bus from Portugal to Spain is not gonna work. thanks for your post

    2. as far Portugal and Spain are part of Schengen area you can not only have a bus ticket to other country form the same region. Actually they will ask for a ticket to leave schengen area and not only Portugal. Uk may ask also a flight out Europe.

  54. What a great article! Really helpful! However do you think I’ll have a problem if my onward ticket a return ticket coming back into the same country? Say for example KL-Paris-UK-Paris? I am sure airline is fine with whatever as long as they are abiding the immigration, but will I have problems with border control? Thanks in advance!

  55. A bus ticket out of the country in question is also acceptable. Apparently. I bought an online bus ticket out of Nicaragua to satisfy officials in Japan who weren’t letting me board due to this restriction. Very stressful but made the flight.

  56. I bought a 24 hour refundable ticket on Orbitz when i visited Thailand although no one asked me for onward travel (I didn’t want to take the risk). I bought the cheapest ticket and cancelled after 24 hours once in Thailand. Full refund within a week. I’ll be doing the same when I return in a few weeks.

  57. Hi iam living n the philippines with my philippine wife yot marry in the philippines my return ticket has run out i wont to go back to uk forna few months going to get a return from manila to uk shall i get one of those ticket because i wont have a on ward ticket thank u .

  58. The “FlyOnward” site sounds like such a simple (and legal!) solution to an extremely vexing matter. Thanks so much for the information. It sounds like you cannot lose using this.

    Also, we are so happy to hear you mention Panama as a country requiring proof of onward travel. This is also very true if you are entering overland, for we have a very funny experience crossing into Panama from Costa Rica. We entered without an onward ticket (to where?) and somehow wore down the agent just enough to be given 14 days.

    However, we found the exact opposite to be the case with Mexican border officials; they were very considerate and welcoming. Our travels saw us crossing into Mexico several times by land. We cannot speak for air travel to these countries, but keep in mind that Panama nails a ton of travelers crossing by land who are left scrambling at the last minute.
    Thanks for the great info!


  59. What a fantastic article Matthew!
    Jam packed with value! I have really only been asked once for this. They didn’t make it a big deal. BUT now that we are getting serious about travelling for longer time periods, it is important we do this right!

    I love the rental ticket idea. BRILLIANT!

    We really appreciate your advice! You seem pretty seasoned in the DN lifestyle! Maybe we will bump into you!? :)

  60. Yes I have on my last return flight from States to Bali. Had to buy a ticket at the counter from Cathay Pacific and wait over a month for my 1400. refund. Won’t do that again! I had never been asked before and was flying on the last half of my R/T that I had bought with miles.

  61. I had no idea you could rent a return ticket! This just opened up a whole new world of ideas… Thanks for the recommendation!

  62. Hey, when was the last time you used that Fly onward website?
    I sent a few emails, but they just dont answer :(

    1. You could, but then you’d be wasting a lot of money. For example if I’m traveling to Mexico, but not sure which date I want to leave. Mexico has a 6 month visa for Americans… maybe I want to leave after 2 months, 3 months, or 4 months? Obviously this is a bigger problem for long-term travelers than it is for people going on a week-long vacation.

      What if I decide to take a bus to Belize instead of fly back to the US?

      Buying a round trip ticket and not using the 2nd half would be a waste of money in those situations. A one way ticket to Mexico could be $250, and round trip could be $500. So I’m losing $250 by not using the 2nd half.

      1. There is exactly where I am going, VIVA Mexico! When buying a one-way ticket with Thomas Cook Airlines, their very own website said a return/on-ward ticket was necessary. I was worried of not being able to fly but looking at your post I feel much more confident. Thanks!

  63. This has never happened to me, though I’ve flown one way a couple of times.

    I had a local in Thailand suggest buying a one way ticket into the country and using a local agency to get the flight out in order to save money. He said if they gave me a hard time at immigration, I could explain that and they would probably let me go. Haven’t tried it, but I’d be afraid to find out he was wrong for sure!

    That confirmation rental service is brilliant, though. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

  64. Great Article. It’s very informative and does solve problem of buying two way tickets. This really eats our cost of travel and makes a big hole in our pocket.

    Thanks for this piece of writing.

    From now on I’m buying only one way ticket..:)

  65. I just used Fly Onward coming into Mexico. Thanks for the advice, it worked great! I’ve been visiting some of the cenotes in Mexico that you’ve recommended which have been great!!!

  66. Great article, we used fly onward to get our Thai visas in Singapore since we didn’t have the homebound flights booked at that time. It’s such a great service which makes things a little easier for us digital nomad types. On another occasion at the Thai border we desperately tried to book some cheap flights via Opodo after being refused entry. The AirAsia server was failing that day so we only managed to get an ‘attempted’ booking email which we printed out. They duly let us through without really checking the paperwork. Ironically we got a refund the following day as the booking had failed. Some kind of travel karma in operation there we think!

  67. Great advice and love the rent a return tip- never heard of it!

    I am currently constructing my own travel blog as I head out on an adventure later this year, London to Brisbane overland and then hopefully carry on. With that in mind do you have any tips or encountered any difficulties with travelling overland without proof of onward travel?

    Thanks, Ed

  68. FlyOnward sounds like a great option if you don’t know how your itinerary will play out. I was flagged before getting on a flight in Singapore headed to the Philippines because I was travelling on two one-way tickets (it was cheaper). Luckily, I was able to pull up the confirmation of my flight home on my phone at the gate and could board. Would not have been fun being detained. :\

  69. Awesome Post! I had never heard of renting a ticket, but I will definitely be looking into it in the future! Thanks for the great info!

  70. One more option I found, specific to Japan, jetstar wouldn’t let me board my flight from Oz without onward ticket. So I tried the cheap tickets option on Peach airlines to Korea.
    When I got to the pay page, I had 2 options, credit card or show-up at 7-11 within 24 hours. Picked the latter and was issued a confirmation of flight. (Never made it to 7-11 so reservation was cancelled 24 hours later)

  71. Hi Matthew… did you use lately? Their Facebook page is full of people commenting that they are not replying to any messages.

    1. Hi! I am also wondering if this service is still reliable? It looks like their FB page hasn’t been updated since early 2016. Would love to hear anyone’s feedback as its’s such a great idea. Or are there reliable alternatives out there?

  72. This has happened to me more than once… I always travel with a one-way ticket and I never remember to check which countries require an onward ticket. I’ve never heard you could rent a ticket! That’s brilliant!

  73. Thank you.
    This was the perfect time for me to read this article.
    I will be leaving the U.S. for Asia in March and I’ve bought a 1-way ticket to Japan. I eventually plan on getting another 1-way ticket from there to China where I will travel through to S.E. Asia by train or bus.
    And a part of me just knows that I might get asked for my proof of onward travel.

    Would reservations for a hostel in another country be enough proof for onward travel as well??

  74. Thank you so much for this post. Ironically, I just booked a one way flight to Thailand from Boston, haha! One question- I will be traveling for 22 hours and will be arriving in Thailand +2days with the time difference and travel time. I see that the onward ticket gives you a 48hr option, which I think would be enough, but I think it might be cutting it too close to book a ticket with a 24hr refund time, right? Thank you!

  75. We actually had a problem checking in for our flight from Tokyo to Belgrade via Istanbul. Turkish Airlines didn’t like the fact that we didn’t have on onward ticket from Belgrade. We ended up signing a waiver not holding them responsible should we have problems at Serbian immigration. Well, guess what? Easiest immigration procedure we ever went through..

    Sometimes airlines just to preoccupied protecting their own butts.

    Frank (bbqboy)

  76. It actually gets way easier than that! Sites like Expedia, Kayak and Orbitz have a 24 hour cancellation guarantee during which they put a hold on the amount payable, but the money is not actually taken out of your account until after this period. So book a trip out, get through passport control, cancel your ticket, and the hold will be dropped and your $$$ available to you within the next 3 days. Tried and tested :)

  77. You have to be kidding yourself if you are even suggesting people forge a booking or similar.

    If you’re not smart enough to realise and research the immigration laws and visa requirements of a country you deserve to be refused boarding or similar.

  78. This has happened to me twice in the past few years. The first time, flying into New Zealand, we had to just purchase an exit flight right then and there. We chose Papua New Guinea and it was interesting! The second time, we needed flights in and out of China to get a visa, so we just reserved a ticket and printed it out, but didn’t actually purchase the plane ticket.

      1. I reckon it depends on the type of visa you have, as if you have a year working visa they won’t hassle you with needing a return flight

    1. Hi, I am leaving for China in November and then going south to SE Asia, however i am struggling to find a way to prove i am leaving the country in order to get my visa. We are planning on just getting a bus from China to Vietnam, however, you cannot pre book these. Reserving a ticket is a very good idea. Which website did you use?

  79. Hi Matthew,
    Great read and great tips. We had an issue flying out of Fort Lauderdale where the airline lady insisted we had a return flight to El Salvador (Uk passports). We’d done the research and found we didn’t so didn’t buy one. She still refused after we pointed this out. I eventually asked for a manager. Apparently Spirit Airlines have a pre prepared list and sure enough we didn’t need one so they let us fly. Took close to an hour of debating this fact with them till they checked their own information. Until this point it had never happened and I wasn’t aware they had written rules. I’ll always ask in future straight away.
    Thanks for the information.

  80. I’ve often found that when airlines have asked me for proof of onward travel you can ask them for a disclaimer form to sign saying the airline will not be responsible for your flight out if not allowed entry, and then they let you on. You might have to argue for it for a while but you can get it. I use this method a lot and never had any problems.

    Off course that won’t work if the actual immigration officer wants to see proof of onward travel when you arrive, but in 19 years of travel I have never been asked that from an immigration official, even in countries that require it. But then you never know…

      1. I had to use it a few times last year, such as flying Osaka to Taipei in the summer, but haven’t needed to with flight routes I’ve used in the past few months (Bishkek – Istanbul, Tbilisi – Dubai) so I hope it hasn’t changed with all airlines all of a sudden! Paying $10 for an easy service in the future if needed is not so bad I guess. But that $10 could be an awesome meal somewhere :)

  81. hi, i love the first option!! will def try that in the future! i’m traveling in asia right now and i had to show proof to board a plane to Taiwan. i knew this because i checked the visa requirements before going. also i have to do the same thing for thailand next. so i bought a round trip ticket from bangkok to india since i want to go there too and so i can break up a trip to thailand with a month trip to India. i find the proof of onward travel not so bad considering there are tourist visa requirements anyway. if i can only stay in a country for a certain amount of time then i have to have a ticket to leave anyway. except for onward travel by land of course. i can see it sucking if you buy a ticket and end up not liking a country and want to leave earlier than you planned. but i like that it’s teaching me to commit to something. if i say to myself i’m gonna spend 2 months in a country and have a ticket then i find my mindset is more positive and in the moment. making the best out of everything instead of always looking to the future. japan was open ended and i actually left earlier than i planned to simply because i could.

    1. Yeah it’s not a problem if you have a solid plan, and already have tickets ready. But if you’re thinking of sticking around longer, and applying for a visa extension, or traveling overland by bus, then it’s something to keep in mind.

    1. Yes. I’ve been asked for proof of onward travel going to Mexico before. However usually they don’t ask. You never know — a bit like a game of roulette. It just takes that one time to screw up your day.

  82. I flew to the Phillies on a one way. There is the possibility for tourists to extend their tourist visa up to 18 months without ever leaving the country so I don’t see why they would make a big deal if you come without a return flight. It’s not even possible to book that far ahead. This is the same argument I gave when I boarded my flight in Guanghzou in China to Manila.

    1. Some rules are just strange. It even works like this in the US. If you’re entering the country on a student visa you need to have a return flight. You can’t book a flight 2 years in the future, so many people just book a random flight somewhere nearby in order to enter the country.

  83. I am a TEFL teacher. Recently, I have taught in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile. The only time I had an issue was when I went to Mexico on Delta airlines in 2003. They were not going to let me board because I didn’t have a return ticket. I have heard others have had similar problems with Delta. I told them I was planning to leave by bus, and after much arguing, they let me go. I had no trouble in Colombia or in Peru. I didn’t have a visa when I entered either place. I guess they argued with me a little in Peru, but they let me in. I entered Chile in a bus, so there wasn’t even a question.

    1. Delta seems to ask a lot. It’s always good to arrive at the airport plenty early if you plan to take a chance, just in case you have to spend time arguing or have to buy another flight. The stress levels get magnified if you’re running late for your flight anyway!

  84. Had this problem when I went to the US this year actually. I went to see my girlfriend in DC, flying from Spain (I am Danish but was living in Spain at that moment). Her roommates weren’t fond of the idea of me being in their apartment for several months, so we decided to give it 6 weeks and see if it would be too much, thus I didn’t buy a return ticket. I was pulled aside by airport control in Boston and they explained me the case and told me that I had to buy a ticket out of the country again, so I just bought an expensive ticket back 5-6 weeks later. I was completely unaware of this and had not been travelling that much prior to this experience, but the rule makes sense to me. In the future I will be sure to have the next ticket ready and it seems that your advices will be helpful. Thank you, Matthew!


      1. I am planning a 6 month trip to SE Asia from the UK. Is it better to buy a one way to Thailand and exit from there too? Or just book a return for 6 months time? I dont have a set date in my head for return. Happy to book a ticket one step ahead e.g to Laos before getting to Thailand as I have no set plan and am happy for plans to change. Just don’t want to buy a return to England and end up wasting the return or paying a fortune to change the date. Which option is best?

  85. Love these ideas!!! Haven’t found myself in the situation where I need these yet but always good to keep in mind in case it’s needed in the future!! (Especially as I’m planning a 6 month trip in south east Asia without pre-determining my route ahead of time!! ?)