I am a green card holder and wish to travel to San Francisco to visit my son. Can I issue a one way ticket as I am not sure about my return date? Will I have a problem at the immigration counter in US? Please advise

  • 3
    If you're flying, note that one-way tickets are usually extremely expensive, except on budget airlines. – David Richerby May 4 '18 at 12:47
  • Your big problem with immigration will be explaining why you are not living in the US. – Michael Hampton May 4 '18 at 19:54
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    Are you flying to SF from somewhere else in the US, or from somewhere outside of the country? – Roddy of the Frozen Peas May 4 '18 at 20:10

As a US permanent resident (green card holder), there's no problem entering the US on a one way ticket. The idea of permanent residency is that you are allowed to live and work in the US permanently. As a permanent resident, the US is your home to return to, so there's no requirement that you have a return ticket.

There's a potential problem if you're not actually living in the US, and I can't tell from your question whether or not that's the case. It's possible to abandon permanent residency if you move to another country intending to live there permanently or are absent from the US for an extended period of time without obtaining a re-entry permit. If this is the case for you, you could be stopped at the border and have an immigration problem. You'd want to talk to an immigration lawyer if that's actually the case, and you want to maintain permanent residency.

If none of that applies, then there's no problem entering the US on a one way ticket as a permanent resident.

Note that a one-way ticket may wind up being more costly, so you'll need to compare airfares.

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This question indicates that the immigration officer has access to your flight information.

As the cost of two single fares will often be much higher than a return fare plus the cost of a change I'd be more inclined to book a return and change the date if need be.

However I have no experience that having only a single flight would be a problem, especially for a green card holder.

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  • 3
    "two single fares will often be much higher than a return fare" — I don't know whether it's "often" or "seldom" but in four years of wandering, I have found many times where there was NO advantage to "round-trip." And many other times where there was a big advantage. So, as Zach said, "you'll need to compare airfares." – WGroleau May 4 '18 at 7:53
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    @WGroleau It is almost always true for international flights to/from the usa. Within Europe or recently with those low cost carriers between Europe etc, there is almost no difference. However to the USA almost always you will be paying way more for one way tickets. Heck many times the one leg of a one way is more expensive than a two way. – user 56513 May 4 '18 at 9:43
  • All but two of the flights I referred were to or from north America. – WGroleau May 4 '18 at 10:48
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    @WGroleau Re: "many other times where there was a big advantage" I once saved a significant amount of money on a single trip by ordering a return trip and not using it (in this case I was buying a ticket back home from abroad, so no immigration issues). – Arthur May 4 '18 at 11:46
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    @WGroleau perhaps it's different coming to the US, but from the US to a variety of airports in Europe I've only seen one-way tickets at 3-4x the price of a round-trip. Domestically, it's always the same (round trip = 2 one-ways), since at least the early 2000s – Kevin May 4 '18 at 16:50

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