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I want to travel to the USA on August 11, and leave again on the 21st to Taiwan. I already booked a round trip from Germany to the USA. My return flight is on October 2, which I plan to miss because I want to take the earlier flight to Taiwan.

I heard that the immigration officers always want to see a return ticket so they can be sure that I am going to leave. Is it going to be a problem when I show them my roundtrip ticket back to Germany and then leave earlier with my one-way ticket to Taiwan? Do they care about that?

This might be a weird question but I have never been to the USA and after reading some stories on the internet I am actually a bit scared.

Both flights are booked with Delta.

  • 6
    I am not see any issue if you leave early. Also, you could show your ticket to Taiwan.... – Marcel P. Mar 26 '18 at 13:22
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    I've never heard of the immigration officer caring about throwaway ticketing. He/she only cares about that you will leave the US on time. Bring a confirmed booking for the outward flight with you, and you should, in my experience, be fine. Please verify that the hypothetical stay from August 11 to October 2 would be allowed with your visa category so that Delta lets you board for your Germany->US flight. – DCTLib Mar 26 '18 at 13:22
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    you're 100% OK. you just need an "ongoing ticket" or "outbound ticket". It's totally 1000% normal that people travel from (say) Europe, to US, and then on to Australia. That's all you're doing. – Fattie Mar 26 '18 at 17:00
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    I believe the only one that will have something to say is Delta. What you are doing is probably against some of their policies and you might face some consequence from them (like not being able to get a discount or something like that). In any case: they usually overbook so they probably wont even pay a single dime in damage for your trick... – Bakuriu Mar 26 '18 at 17:22
  • I've travelled dozens of times to the US, and while I'm often asked how long I planned to stay, I've never been asked to show a return (or any other ticket). They will only ask for a proof if they suspect you're lying. – Abigail Mar 26 '18 at 21:28
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It is not true that immigration officers want to see a return ticket. At the most they want to see a ticket that will take you out of the US. (Blogs often say "you should have a return ticket", but that's just shorthand for "a ticket out of the US").

If they ask to see evidence that you will leave the US when you say, then showing them your ticket to Taiwan will serve just as well as a return ticket to Germany.

It's not a good idea to lie to immigration (though if you say you are staying until 2nd October and actually leave on 21st August they are not going to care). In any case there is nothing to be gained. If they are going to approve your staying until 2nd October, they are going to approve your staying until 21st August.

In short: Buying a return ticket was completely unnecessary. Ignore it and show immigration your Taiwan ticket if they ask. It won't cause problems.

  • 6
    Thank for you answer. I'm glad that I won't have to worry about that anymore :) I just bought the round trip because it's 1200 US$ cheaper than a one way ticket. – Bondo34 Mar 26 '18 at 14:11
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    To use the VWP, there is actually a statutory requirement to hold a "round-trip ticket" in most cases, although this is defined by regulation to include tickets for onward travel. Furthermore, I don't think VWP travelers subject to the requirement are generally asked to prove that they comply. In any event, in this case the traveler has such a ticket even if he does not intend to use it. – phoog Mar 26 '18 at 15:26
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    @Belle-Sophie: Yeah I know about hidden-city ticketing, but didn't know the difference can be this drastic. – Mehrdad Mar 27 '18 at 10:10
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    @Mehrdad Sometimes over 200%. A return ticket from a certain airport in Europe to another one in China is 400 euro, a single ticket 1300. – Belle-Sophie Mar 27 '18 at 10:17
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    @Belle-Sophie: That's nuts! – Mehrdad Mar 27 '18 at 10:20

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