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Published on April 1st, 2013 | by Simon

Visa on arrival & onward air ticket

If you are taking a series of one way flights you may not know where or when  you want to move on from your upcoming destination.

Unfortunately, most countries offering the convenience of visa on arrival (whether paid or not) have regulations which demand you have an onward air ticket to qualify. In decades of travel, I have never been asked for proof by any immigration agent, but increasingly airlines are requiring this when you check in for your flight. I have been asked to show proof of onward travel by Air Berlin, Air Asia, Fly Dubai, and Jetstar. It’s not a given but if you cannot provide it, no amount of convincing will work and you have no way of knowing if the checkin staff will ask for evidence.

So  what to do.

  • You can decide on your itinerary and buy the next flight. This has several disadvantages, the biggest of which is the resulting lack of flexibility. 
  • You can use a search engine like SkyScanner to search a month ahead for the cheapest destination outside the country you are going to and buy a throwaway ticket. With low cost carriers and no need for any addons, you may be able to get your ticket insurance for around $40.
  • If you dislike spending any money on an exercise in satisfying regulations, you can find an airline that will take a firm flight booking with deferred payment. Two such airlines are Philippine Airlines and Fly Dubai. Book the ticket, get your confirming email and locator code, print it out and you have evidence to go. On arrival at your current destination, go online and cancel the reservation. If you do this too often, you may earn a bad mark with the airline concerned, so consider which you use and be sure to cancel.


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