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I will be flying into Medellín within the next few weeks. I purchased a one-way ticket, as I will be flying to Asunción after I leave Colombia.

I'm not 100% sure which city I will be flying out of, however, so I haven't purchased my ticket for Paraguay yet.

Will I be required to show proof of onward travel when I arrive in Colombia?

I am a US citizen, if that is important.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I bussed in, but was not asked. However from experience, almost any country 'might' ask you for onward travel, and they seem more likely to ask at airports - as allowing someone into another country without an exit strategy, or allowing you into their country without a way out can lead to someone getting fined (an airline, for example).

What I've seen many people do (including myself) is just to buy a cheap bus ticket in advance, out the country. This gives me a valid exit if I choose to use it, and satisfies any questions that are asked.

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Timatic (the visa system used by many airlines) specifically states for a US citizen visiting Columbia :

  • Visitors traveling as tourist are required to hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay and documents required for their next destination.


- Visitors, traveling as tourist, not holding return/onward tickets could be refused entry.

The key word here is obviously "could". Generally this means that it is at the discretion of the immigration official(s) and will depend on whether they believe you are intending to leave the country by/at the end of you maximum 90 days, and/or whether you have sufficient funds to do so.

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When I flew into Colombia, I noticed that neither the airline nor immigration asked me about return/onward travel.

However, during a couple of subsequent trips, my departure ticket was checked:

  • Before issuing my boarding pass to travel to Paraguay, the airline service rep asked for my onward flight number and entered it into her computer. When I got to Paraguay, however, the immigrations officer didn't seem concerned about it (nor about much of anything else, come to think of it :P).
  • During my layover in Panama, the immigrations officer was skeptical when I told her I planned to stay in the country just for the afternoon and wanted to see the boarding pass for my connecting flight.

It seems like there's two things to take away from this:

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