I am starting my one year trip through South America in a month, and the country I fly into is Colombia. Since I do not need a visa for Colombia and the surrounding countries, I assumed it should be no problem entering on a one way ticket. But a research on the Internet got me worried. It seems that Colombian immigration officers normally do not ask for return/onward tickets, but they might. And the airlines are even more prone to cause me troubles. Is it still the case in 2019?

I am an EU citizen. I will be flying from Madrid to Bogota with Avianca airlines. I intend to stay in Colombia for 1-2 months, and then travel overland to Equador with the local busses.

  • Pre-book your onward bus ticket?
    – Traveller
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 16:49
  • Unfortunatelly that is not possible for two reasons. 1. I do not know the exact date I want to take the bus 2. it will be a number of local busses, tickets are not bookable online
    – april
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is still the case. They would complain about you not having a return ticket out of the Colombia.

Workaround: Book "fake" ticket

VivaAir airlines offers a possibility to Lock the fare for the price of 10 Euro. Just start booking as you normally book the flight from Colombia to any other country. During the process of choosing the add-ons, select Lock the fare option. Locking fare basically means that you pay 10E and price of this flight would never change for you. However, locked fare booking gives you reservation number which is required during boarding/check-in. Once you lock the fare, get the reservation number of the flight back, present it upon asking and forget about whole thing. Viva automatically would cancel your flight, obviously 10E would never be returned. Cheers

  • At least in Europe, they can verify it is not a real ticket, just a reservation. In this situation, it may cause more problems than help, as the border officer may thing he is being manipulated.
    – gstorto
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 21:17

The "Proof of Onward Travel" is very common and enforcement is largely left to the Immigration Officer at the Border. Yes, your Passport and even departure airport have an impact on whether or not the ask you.

Traveling on a US Passport, I've never been asked about my onward plans entering various places on a one-way ticket. This is for cruises, train trips and other non-GDS integrated travels.

Depending on your cash/credit position, one way around this is to book a refundable return or onward ticket. It costs more, possibly a lot more, but is eventually refundable once you don't need it anymore.

It's quite possible that while the Border Office would eventually let you in, the airline may not board you unless you can prove onward travel because if you are denied entry, they are responsible for taking you back. To facilitate this, you can book the refundable one-way return or cheaper onward ticket, such as BOG-UIO with Avianca as well.

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