How To Provide Proof Of Onward Travel (The Weird Flying Rule)

Proof Of Onward Travel Tips
How To Provide Proof Of Onward Travel
Flying Travel Tips

Planning to travel internationally on a one-way flight? 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 this happened to me. I was checking in at Boston’s Logan Airport for an international one-way flight to Bangkok, Thailand.

Excited to visit Southeast Asia for the first time, I was planning to spend a few months living in Chiang Mai and backpacking around Asia as a digital nomad.

I was flying there on a one-way flight ticket to save money, and also I wasn’t sure how long I’d stay…

One month or three? Would I even go back to the United States? Maybe I’ll travel to another country overland. I simply hadn’t planned that far ahead yet.

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

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

Proof Of Onward Travel Guide For 2020


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 10 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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Comments (188)

  1. I’m a bit confused by the “onward-ticket” issue for travelers flying to countries on a one-way ticket. I mean…if you enter a country, and the tourist visa is only good for 30 days, but you have an “onward-ticket” showing you will depart within 30 days…but then, the “onward-ticket” gets cancelled after your arrival, and you overstay your visa…aren’t you going to be in trouble with the immigration authorities when/if you actually do attempt to leave the country?
    Or…is the strategy here…NOT to overstay the visa…but to have the flexibility to make your future plans…after…your arrival in another country, and that way avoid the extra expense of a round-trip ticket?

    • So one case may be that you do a visa run, or want to sort out a more permanent visa which sometimes can only be done once in the country. Or sometimes you can just extend your visa. In short, there are loads of situations where this happens and it’s all part of the nomad life.

  2. Hello! I am getting a travel visa to Turkey and then a residence one once I arrive. Will using a ticket to cancel work for this? I plan on moving there, all legally but I am unable to get a student visa at this time (covid). Not sure if you have anymore information on this. Thank you!

  3. Hello!! Thank you for your post!!
    But I still have a question. So, I left Australia to Bali (with a return ticket) but I’m not sure that I’m gonna use the return one. Is it legal if I cancel it? Can Indonesian authorities say something about it? I’m not planning on staying more than 30 days.
    Thanks so much

  4. You should add crewing on a sailboat as another valid exit method. I do yacht deliveries and it’s common to fly in and sail out. You need the boat info for the customs forms.

  5. Hello! I am so glad I thought of this before getting stuck at the airport, and I totally plan to take your advice about renting a ticket confirmation. but I have a scenario I need clarification on. If I plan to fly from the US to Ireland, and then the UK, and then the Schengen EU, then Morocco, etc, do I get a ticket for each hop? Example… if I fly to Ireland, will the airline want me to have a ‘rented’ ticket to show that I plan to go the UK next, leaving within the 90 visa limits. And then when I plan to fly to the UK, I would ‘rent’ another ticket, showing that I plan to leave the UK for the Schenger EU zone, again leaving within visa restrictions… right? Or? I really appreciate your help. I never thought this trip would have so many possible hiccups. Thank you in advance. -Kennedy

  6. renting a ticket won’t always work as it does not included an e-ticket number. Many airlines will refuse you boarding with proof of an e-ticket number. Vietnam airlines is one and will deny boarding. This is high risk and not recommended unless you change and issue an e-ticket.

    see onewayfly FAQ:
    “… however be aware that we don’t provide e-ticket number”

  7. Thanks for all of the great info. I am traveling on two one way tickets to and from Peru. I bought them that way because I am using my points and the trip over is during the day so I am going main cabin, but the return is overnight so I am using points to get a bed to sleep in. I didn’t want to spend all of my points for a round trip first class ticket. Showing my return tickets should satisfy the airline for proof that I am returning.

  8. only provides you with a booking number. There dont send a real ticket so there is no ticket number, which is what the airlines want to see.
    I have been fooled by them as airlines dont accept a booking for onward proof.
    Wasted my money on these scammers!!

  9. I usually buy a cheap ticket out of Thailand, when I travel there to overwinter. This time the ticket got slightly more expensive for dates I need. So I want to try using the OneWayFly to get a return ticket for my 60-days single entry visa confirmation to a Thai embassy. How do I check if the OneWayFly sends me the legit booking number? I think they actually verify it in the embassy. Thanks.

  10. I want to tell you that onewayfly doesn’t work. My experience is today. Buy a one-way ticket on the Bogota to Madrid route. And rent a ticket from Madrid to Bogotá with onewayfly this morning. I received the reservation but it is simply an unpaid reservation, it is not even a ticket with refund that they can cancel a few hours later. To my surprise they denied me boarding the plane because the reservation of my madris flight to Bogotá for October 30 was not confirmed. I mean it doesn’t work. I lost my flight, I lost my first ticket money because I didn’t have to pay one back instantly for the costly. In my opinion onewayfly does not work. What they do is a simple reservation to pay. And that you can do for yourself and for free and that has cost me $ 23.90. They are scammers

  11. Hello, so “Lying to immigration officials is illegal”
    what about the legal oneway fly ticket that you mention about, will the question the elgibility of the ticket, like, wouldn’t this ticket be refunded eventually? do you think they will ask such question?

  12. My comment is really a question.
    When I go to the airport in Toronto in 2 days do I have to have this PROOF of onward travel in hand.
    I.e. printed out ticket to Thailand and ticket out to Vietnam?

  13. Hi,

    I’m planning to leave Canada to go visit my boyfriend in the UK for a couple of months. I am planning to get a one-way ticket to get there because I don’t wanna have to pay for a round trip and then also pay for the cancellation. I looked at some of them and they aren’t even any cancellations or changes allowed. If I book a one way plane ticket or a round way ticket to amsterdam and back to england, will I be able to use it as an onward ticket? Thanks for your help.

  14. Hello, so you mean I can fly from LAX To Manila on a one-way ticket & as long as I have a ticket already book to let say Hong Kong or Thailand within that 30 days or less, they let me into the Philippines?

    • Correct, yes. That ticket confirmation would be enough proof of travel. Generally, they check this at the airline check-in desk at LAX, before they let you on the plane.

  15. Thanks for the information it has been truly an eye opener
    What happens if you are returning to a country where you would like to do residency do you still need that onward ticket

  16. your suggestion worked like a charm! thanks so much for writing this. my son is traveling to italy for a month and we don’t know if he’ll be coming home after that or going back to where he actually lives at the moment in LA, so we booked him a one-way ticket til we could figure it out. we read your post previously and knew he had a train ticket from paris (where he was flying into) to milan and figured since he was leaving france for italy that’d be proof enough for the airline. well! he got to the airport and was immediately forbidden to proceed to security without better proof of onward travel! he called me and from across the country i got him a temporary ticket from the site you recommended and within minutes, he had confirmation and was through to security :))) so smooth!! thanks, man.

  17. Okay, so say I rent a return ticket because I’m not sure if I want to stay a week or two months in the U.S. (I’m from Canada), but I’m fully intending to return to my home on a beautiful little gulf island in B.C. Once I really do purchase another one-way ticket home, won’t the U.S. authorities notice that I never took that other trip and if so, will that cause me any trouble?

    • As long as you are not actually overstaying your visa, they don’t care when/how you leave. They aren’t tracking every ticket you buy or cancel. They just want a basic level of proof that you are planning to leave beyond “trust me”.

  18. Hello! I thought your article was very helpful! I have a one way ticket to japan (waiting for my visa to process) and didn’t buy a return flight. Would you recommend (what you suggested in your article)for proof of onward? I am afraid that japan will accept this but turn around and decline myself entry into Japan.
    Thank you for the help!

    First time traveler Donna

  19. I want to travel to Barbados and i will be using Qatar airways and i will like to use a one way ticket because i will be leaving there for another country what do i do to get there because right now am confused

    • You need proof that you’re leaving Barbados at some point. Like another flight confirmation — proof that you’re flying from Barbados to somewhere else in the future.

      Otherwise they might not let you board your one-way flight into the country. Because they don’t want you staying there as an illegal immigrant.

      Even if that is not your intention, you need to prove that to the airline officials. They won’t just take your word for it.

  20. Panama currently requires a return flight ticket to your country of origin from Central America within 90 days. When going to a new country, I always book an onward flight ticket that is fully refundable when cancelled online within 24 hours.

  21. I found a very cheap one way to Stockholm. I’m about to do 2-3 months in Europe and then head to Asia if possible. If I bought a ticket to London (not that is not in the EU) would that count as on ward travel?

    • Yes I think that will cover you Kayla. As long as they see that you are leaving the Schengen Area.

      I know it’s confusing, but even though England is part of the EU (for now), it is not part of the Schengen Area (which is the agreement that deals with travel visas).

      A Schengen Tourist Visa doesn’t include the UK.

  22. Round trip airfares from Europe to the USA are considerably cheaper. I travel to see my family in Europe at the very least twice a year. Are there any repercussions to buying a one way trip to my european destination, for example, in June 2019 for my summer trip and then purchase a round trip ticket from Europe to the USA in July 2019 with a return to Europe in November 2019 and then continue to book round trip tickets in reverse. The savings would be huge. I have not checked to see whether or not they would even sell me a ticket in reverse so that I could always have proof of return in my possession. Thanks in advance…

    • Hey Rosalind! I honestly don’t know. I think all they need is the proof that you are leaving the EU eventually, and within the 3-month tourist visa limit.

      My guess is you should be good. But it doesn’t hurt to rent a ticket confirmation that first attempt, just in case. It doesn’t cost much — a little insurance policy for if it doesn’t work.

  23. So I’m traveling to Thailand and I found a airline ticket to Malaysia for $17. I won’t get on that flight, but the issue is that it is past that 30 day visa they will give me. My plan was to go to the immigration office and extend my visa for another 30 days once I got there. Do you think i can explain that to them?

    • It is possible.
      You have to pay at immigration office for certain baht. I’m not sure how much the price is, but you definetely can extend your stay there.