Assuming I am in the US and buy a return ticket from the US to anywhere, but my visa doesn’t allow me to re-enter the US, and I will just skip the return leg.

Can I be denied boarding on the outbound flight?

  • 8
    My first thought is they would have no way of knowing if you were going to receive a valid visa before you returned. Jan 14, 2018 at 21:46
  • 3
    Agreed. The airline's concern is whether you will be allowed to enter the country of your destination.
    – MastaBaba
    Jan 14, 2018 at 23:16
  • 1
    @MastaBaba But in many places an onward ticket is required for admission--and a ticket to a country that won't admit you isn't really an onward ticket. Jan 15, 2018 at 4:48
  • I suppose that's technically true. But, for all intents and purposes, an onward ticket is just that.
    – MastaBaba
    Jan 15, 2018 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


Probably yes (they can deny you.)
Whenever I leave the US, the airline always asks for my status for the return flight before giving me a boarding pass. I have to prove them that I have the necessary papers to come back. The only possible reason for that check is your question.

Details: I have a roundtrip ticket for non-stop flights from the US to country X and back, and I am a citizen of X. When I show my passport from X, they ask about my authorization for the US for the return trip. That obviously cannot be related to the outbound trip.

  • Out of the 5 airlines I flew out of the US on with a return ticket last year one (American Airlines) asked about that (even though my passport would normally allow me back in). Since you needn't have a return document when you leave (the purpose of the trip might be to apply for a visa for your status), however, I'm not sure they would deny boarding for the lack. An alternative theory would be that they want the APIS exit record to include the document that matches your previous or next entry if that isn't what you are offering, so the records match.
    – user38879
    Jan 15, 2018 at 22:44

I have been in this situation quite a few times. Back when getting a Chinese visa would take only a few hours, and could be applied for just about anywhere (not just your country of residence), I would book a China<>Somewhere ticket, knowing that my visa expired before I came back to China, and that I would get a new Chinese visa.

Never had a problem. The airlines were only concerned, during check-in for the outbound flight, whether I had everything need to enter the country of destination.

  • China is not the US. And things might have changed. I have the opposite experience.
    – Aganju
    Jan 15, 2018 at 3:00

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