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August 30, 2020

4 Best Ways To Provide Proof Of Onward Travel

PROOF OF ONWARD TRAVEL AND YOUR OPTIONS


There is a great amount of frustration and inconvenience caused by the proof of onward travel requirement for many travelers that visit foreign countries, whether they arrive by air, land, or sea. This requirement can also cost a lot of money to travelers if they don't know how to deal with it the best way. 

Usually, the proof of onward travel requirement is stipulated in many countries by the Department of Immigration and states that the traveler must possess proper documentation to prove that he has planned already ahead and has made concrete travel arrangement to exit the country.

There is endless confusion caused by proof of onward travel among the travelers; therefore, you should know all your available options, and it is better to do a little research in your next destination beforehand.


What is proof of onward travel?

Proof of onward travel is basically the evidence that you have means to exit the country at the end of your visa. This is normally a return ticket or a ticket to your next country. The countries that include visa-free countries, visas on arrival, and places where you require getting a visa beforehand have implemented some laws to try to prevent those people from visiting their country who will never leave.

There are three main reasons why proof of onward travel is required:

You have enough money to leave the country.

Before your visa expiry, you intend to leave the country.

You have no intention of staying illegally in the country.


Why do these laws exist?

In an attempt to curb any illegal immigration, different countries have presumably put the requirement in place, and the main idea seems to be that if the traveler has booked a flight out of the country already, then the traveler will be less tempted to overstay the visa and become an illegal immigrant. He would then be at a loss by not utilizing the pre-booked ticket.

There is also a guarantee by the pre-booked flight that the travelers who run out of funds during the stay in a country would still be able to leave on their own. This way, the authorities would not have to bail them out and thus costing money.



Which countries require proof of onward travel?

Basically, there are very few countries that require proof of onward, as it is stated in their immigration laws. These countries include New Zealand, Peru, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, United States, Indonesia, and Brazil. Before getting very excited in thinking that your destination won’t ask for any proof of onward travel, just keep in mind that even though it is not in their laws, they probably may ask for it.

In recent years, many countries have passed the responsibility to the airlines that enter their country to enforce these laws. This means that before boarding your flight, the airline will be asking for proof of an onward ticket. Keep in mind that if the airline forgets to ask you and you happen to arrive in a country where they may require an exit flight, there is a chance that you could be potentially deported at your own expense.

In order to avoid any liability for such an incident, the airlines will check you before boarding nearly every time. There are chances that sometimes you can slip through the airline's cracks, but much of this responsibility is on the shoulders of the check-in staff. If you get on your flight, it is unlikely that your destination country's immigration will be checking for an exit ticket.


Ways to provide proof of onward travel

There are so many ways to deal with the proof of onward travel requirement, so one can continue to travel spontaneously without even incurring the high costs of booking a flight that will never be used. If you are among the travelers who love to fly everywhere and prefer to book everything ahead of your journey, then you probably don’t need to find any ways to provide the proof as you already have everything ready.

If you are a type of traveler who likes spontaneous travels, makes quick decisions, or prefer Overlanding or sea travel as compared to the air travel, then you should consider different ways to provide the proof of onward travel.

Just wing it

One way that you can approach the proof of onward travel rule is to take advantage of the fact that it is sometimes not enforced at all. This can be one of the laziest approaches as you just take your chances and arrive at the airport or border checkpoint without any proof of your onward traveling. 

One of the advantages that this particular method offers you over the others is that it ensures you never waste your money buying the plane ticket that you were never asked to show. There are chances that all agents at the airport check-in desk don't always go for proof of onward travel.

When you reach the immigration counters, there is a good chance that you will sail past the check-in desk without even being questioned by the immigration officer. But keep in mind that things always don’t go smoothly, as some people are asked to produce proof of onward travel, both in the airport check-in desks and also at the immigration checkpoints.


Use an online service to create a fake itinerary

If you are too lazy to go through the hassle of creating your own fake booking or don't have the skills to edit things, then there is another solution available for you. There are some websites where you can generate your own customized fake tickets.

The website will create a booking for the flight of your choice. You will only be required to note down all the details of a real flight to the chosen destination, and then you can input the data into the relevant fields. These websites have a dropdown menu with a list of so many airlines to choose from. Once you are able to fill all the required fields, then you are able to create the ticket.  

Many people advocate this approach, and though it is highly unlikely that the airport staff may actually check the details at the gate, this method leaves you quite vulnerable to forging the official documents knowingly. In this case, you will have not many options to defend yourself, and you will be at the mercy of the airport officials.


Buy a flexible date ticket

Buying a ticket where you can flexibly change the flight dates is a legitimate way of skirting around the onward travel rules. There is no doubt an issue that the flexible date tickets are often quite more expensive, especially if you compare those tickets against the local airlines that offer flights with inflexible dates, but are almost half of the price or even less.


Buy the cheapest possible onward flight

It is not quite a wise idea to buy a plane ticket that you will never be using, but this is how mostly the Overlanding travelers deal with the proof of onward travel requirement. Some people may try to avoid this method, but it might be an acceptable solution for those who have enough money and are willing to spend more to ensure that they avoid any mishaps at the airport. 

The main idea is that you just need to buy the cheapest possible onward flight that you are able to find. As you won’t actually be taking this flight, this flight can go anywhere and leave at any date before your visa expires. You also have the option to choose an airline that you would never dream of traveling on normal days.

If you are flying in from some nearby country, it is worth checking the prices of the return flights. In this case, the cheapest option for providing proof of onward travel is to book a return flight and simply don't use a return leg, rather than booking an onward flight.


Buy a ticket with the 24-hour cancellation policy

There are various airlines around the world that have a 24-hour cancellation policy, where they will be giving you a full refund without the cancellation fees. Keep in mind that you have to voluntarily cancel your flight within 24 hours of making your booking and more than a certain number of hours before the flight departs.

The 24-hour cancellation policy is quite common in the US airlines, as they are legally mandated by the Department of Transportation to offer these options to the customers. You also need to be sharp and watch out the little loopholes like if you happen to book through an online travel agent, there is a possibility that you may not always be entitled to a refund. Therefore, if you use this method, always book directly through the airline.

In practice, when you are using this method, once you get the confirmation e-mail, you can print off the ticket, and then you can cancel your flight before reaching the outbound airport or land border crossing. This way, you will still have a confirmed onward flight itinerary that can be presented to anybody who asks for it.


Purchase a fully refundable ticket

There are many airlines that offer their customers the option to buy fully refundable plane tickets instead of the ones that are non-refundable. Buying a fully refundable ticket is one of the best solutions to the proof of onward travel requirement, at least in theory.

You can simply buy a refundable ticket, print off your ticket or get a confirmation e-mail and use it as a proof of onward travel. You can then cancel this ticket once you are safely past the immigration and get your refund without having any issues.

The best possible way of doing this is to pay by credit card in order to avoid dipping into your savings, or the better option is to use your frequent flyer miles. In order to make sure, you have to do your research, read the fine print carefully before making a booking, as you have to make sure you have ample time available to cancel the ticket before your 24 hours are up.


Rent a ticket

Renting a ticket can be considered as one of the most appealing solutions for fulfilling the proof of onward travel requirement. When you rent a ticket, it saves you the hassle and headache of scrutinizing the lengthy terms and conditions pages on the airline's website.

Renting a ticket means you pay a small fee to a website, and the website will then e-mail you a bonafide ticket booking confirmation in your name. Normally, you will go to the website's homepage and fill out a short form, entering your personal details, departure date, and the number of passengers, departure airport, and the destination airport. 

After you make an online payment, you will be e-mailed within an hour a real flight reservation with a booking reference number that you can easily verify on the airline's website via the usual option. This reservation can be used without any fear as your proof of onward travel at the airport immigration counter, but you have to keep in mind that these tickets are normally only valid for a day or two at max. 

As far as these services are concerned, there is a self-titled Onward Ticket website that is quite a good place to get you an onward ticket. This particular service is operated by a group of digital nomads who believe that travel should be flexible, as the company issues an onward ticket for $12, with 48 hours validity (even more in some cases).

Conclusion

However you choose to show your proof of onward travel, it is very important to have it in your hand when you are to enter any country, regardless of what their onward travel laws are. You should think of it as an essential travel item to have, just like your wallet and passport.

In order to avoid any headaches, the simplest way is to buy an onward ticket. You also have to be prepared in case of an over-zealous airport official that may keep asking you different questions. You can make up an excuse, and if they still don't get off your case, then you can book the ticket on the spot.

Whatever method you choose, never forget to be friendly and smiling to all airport staff. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how you like to provide proof of onward travel, or whether you just want to take a risk and wing it by hoping nobody will ask anything.