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If I am on a tourist visa, and refused entry into the intended touring country, then who pays for the return ticket?

I would assume I will have to. But if I have no money of any kind, then what happens?

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What mode of transportation? You might be just stuck at the border. If you're on the train to Moscow, you'd be thrown out at the Polish-Belarusian border at Terespol. How you get back is your problem, just as when you are allowed in... – gerrit Jan 24 '14 at 15:13
@gerrit Air travel - I updated the tags – happybuddha Jan 24 '14 at 15:40
But who pays if you outstay a visa? Say you are in the country with a one year visa, exceed the visa's limit and get deported? Surely the airline is no longer responsable and you can say you have no money. I can't see a country coming after you for the price of a plane ticket. Free ticket! Although waiting in a detention centre for a month probably isn't fun. – user26096 Jan 15 at 19:36

4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

It depends both on local legislation (in the country you are denied entry) and the terms and conditions of the carrier bringing you there.

If you are travelling by air, the air line will of course check that you have all necessary travel documents before they let you board the flight at all, but if I understand your question correctly, you are asking what will happen if you are denied entry at the border even if your travel documents and visas are ok? Even if the air line has done everything in their power to check your eligibility to enter the destination country, they are in most cases still required by national law (in the destination country) to either bring you back to the origin country or if you are not eligible to reenter the origin country, to bring you anywhere else.

If you are travelling on a return ticket, most airlines are fair enough to let you use your return ticket for the unexpected return flight. Aside from that, most air lines regulate this in their terms of carriage and hold the passenger liable for any further costs.

Just as an example, here are Lufthansa's terms regarding denied entry. But as I said, you will find similar regulations in other air lines' terms of carriage as well:

Refusal of Entry 13.3. If you are denied entry into any country, you will be responsible to pay any fine or charge assessed against us by the Government concerned and for the cost of transporting you from that country. We may apply to the payment of such fare any funds paid to us for unused carriage, or any funds of the passenger in the possession of us. The fare collected for carriage to the point of refusal of entry or deportation will not be refunded by us.

If you don't have any money to pay these charges up front, the air line is still liable to transport you, but you must expect the air line to use any possible legal means to get the money back from you later.

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It is sometimes possible to stay in the airport long enough to catch a flight to somewhere else, depending on the view of the immigration officer. Obviously, in such a case, you would pay for the ticket yourself, and I imagine your airline would support your petition. But if you mean a simple "No passport/visa? You're not getting past this desk.", then the conventions state that it is your carrier's responsibility to return you to whence you came.

(I have always understood that this is the reason why you have to present your passport at the check-in desk. No country requires a passport to leave the country, but the airline wants to know that you will be admitted before they allow you on board.)

EDIT: The Warsaw Convention specified that in cases where a passenger is denied entry, it becomes the responsibility of the carrier to transport the passenger back to the starting pouint. It did not, so far as I know, specify whether a charge could be made for this. However, the point seems to have been overtaken by events; immigration law in most countries (the United States and United Kingdom, at least, have published theirs online) specifies that if a passenger (sea or air) is denied entry, the carrier is liable not only for the fare but for a large fine as well, unless the passenger has misled them. In practice this means you will be transported back, and the airline will try to prove everything was your fault. Now is the time you find out what sort of legal advice your travel insurance provides.

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You're answer seems to be specific to air travel. Does the same apply when travelling by bus, train, or boat? – gerrit Jan 24 '14 at 15:29
@gerrit: There are no conventions covering bus/train, as there is no need; you disembark at the border, and can use a return ticket, walk back, or stay there as you wish. Ferries are IIRC not strictly liable, but if you aren't allowed in they will perforce have to take you back, and argue about the fare later. – TimLymington Jan 24 '14 at 15:38
@happybuddha I gather from the b1-b2-visas tag that your question is US related, so this isn't relevant. In any case, in Australia, if your visa is cancelled on entry at an airport, you will enter immigration detention until your airline can return you back home ( The airline is also responsible for the costs and will likely attempt to recover it or put you on their no-fly list. – Sam Jan 25 '14 at 3:55
Don't forget that just having all your papers in order including tickets, passports, visas, estas, etas, etc does not guarantee entry. So you might have all the right stuff. The airline might check it and agree you have all the right stuff. The immigration officer when you try to enter might still say you can't come in. In this case it's not the airline's fault so may differ in some ways from the case where the airline didn't check properly and shouldn't've let you fly. – hippietrail Jan 25 '14 at 18:39
'No country requires a passport to leave the country' while I can't comment on what would happen if you don't have your passport, there are a lot of countries that do have 'exit immigration', including Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, etc. – Ray Jan 30 '14 at 2:31

If you are refused entry and came by air, the airline that brought you there has to take you back. Depending on the local law, it might also be fined if you did not have a visa and it failed to check. The airline might try to recover the funds from you later but nobody is paying for a ticket.

If you are refused entry on a land border, nobody will pay for a ticket either, you are just unable to enter the country and left stranded wherever you are. In some cases, when the control does not happen at the border itself but further inland (either on board a train or at a station), I have seen people forced to take a train in the other direction but I don't know what the rules were.

If for some reason you can't return where you came from (say you don't have the right to reenter the country you just left), the only thing left is to deport you somewhere else. Reasonable countries will at least try to deport you to a country from which you are a citizen. In that case, the country that wants to deport you pays for your ticket (and if necessary those of your police escort). Again, it might also impose a fine and try to recover money from you later but I suspect that most countries don't bother as many people who are deported will have very little money to begin with or come from countries where effective means to recover a fine are non-existent.

So in a nutshell, the country that sent you away or the airline that transported you might try to recover some money from you later on but it really does not matter if you have any or not at the moment you are denied entry.

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You'd be surprised where you can get deported to. Decades ago my uncle overstayed a US tourist visa for years then came to visit Canada. The Canadians felt he would overstay here too. He didn't want to go back to the US since they would be alerted, and didn't much want to go to the UK where he was a citizen. It took a few days living in the nasty motel they use as immigration detention (I remember the doors had no latches or knobs) but he got deported to Bermuda in the end. Never came back to Canada or the US. – Kate Gregory Jan 25 '14 at 14:52
@KateGregory Well, I am not really “surprised”, I know much worse (citizens deported by mistake, people deported against their will to a third country with which they have nothing to do, people deported to a third country in the knowledge that the local police would somehow “deal” with them, etc.), that's why I added “reasonable”. – Relaxed Jan 25 '14 at 15:50
yes, this would be a good surprise. He was able to negotiate with both Canada and Bermuda to end up somewhere he wasn't going to be "taken care of" for overstaying the US visitor visa, and didn't have to deal with whatever he left the UK about. He did go back to the UK eventually, on his own terms. – Kate Gregory Jan 25 '14 at 16:30
Just for the sake of correctness: Being denied entry and being deported from a country are (usually) two completely different issues. The question has nothing to do with deportation and Kate, your uncle was not deported from Canada, at least not if you describe the situation correctly. But even if he was "just" denied entry: If he didn't want to go where he came from (or probably more correctly: he wouldn't be let into the US again after overstaying his previous visa) and he didn't want to go to his home country, is it really a nasty surprise that he was sent somewhere else? – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 26 '14 at 0:42
A friend of mine (US citizen) got denied entry in London, coming via air from Morocco. They simply told him, he has got 24 hours to book a flight to where ever he wants, otherwise they will send him back to where he came from (Morocco) at his cost. Not sure how they would have enforced this though. – MrTweek Jan 27 '14 at 11:52

ICAO Annex 9 chapter 5 covers removal. Entries 5.10 and 5.11:

5.10 When a person is found inadmissible and is returned to the aircraft operator for transport away from the territory of the State, the aircraft operator shall not be precluded from recovering from such person any transportation costs involved in his removal. 5.11 The aircraft operator shall remove the inadmissible person to: a) the point where he commenced his journey; or b) to any place where he is admissible.

PDF download

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