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I’m in Toronto on a student visa and I am planning to go to the UK to visit my friend who is there on on student visa too. I have applied for a short stay UK Visa. I wanted to ask: can I fly home to South Africa from the UK during the period of my short stay visa OR must I first fly back to Toronto then I take a flight to South Africa?

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    How would a world trip work if this wasn’t possible? – Sebastiaan van den Broek Feb 24 at 15:15
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    @SebastiaanvandenBroek Maybe some special kind of visa is required for that. OK, it isn't, but you only know that if you know it. – David Richerby Feb 24 at 15:48
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    @SebastiaanvandenBroek you misunderstood. The question is asking if you can go A-B-C-B-A while on a student visa (and a UK visa). i.e. does he invalidate any visas on his trip legs when going onwards to another country (and back). – insidesin Feb 25 at 1:06
  • i.e. does the second B get invalidated because he is leaving towards C and back again. – insidesin Feb 25 at 1:08
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You don't need to go back to Canada. The UK only cares that you leave the UK at the end of your visit: as long as you leave, they don't care where you go. In the same way, South Africa doesn't care where you arrive from, and Canada doesn't care where you go while you're outside Canada. (They might have rules against going to specific countries, such as North Korea, but that kind of issue doesn't apply, here.)

People often mistakenly say that you need a return ticket (which would mean going back to Canada). You don't: you just need an onward ticket, i.e., a ticket to leave the UK. (Officially speaking, for the UK, you don't even need an onward ticket but, if an immigration officer suspects you might stay longer than you're supposed to, not having a ticket out of hte UK will be taken as more evidence of that.) The same is true with almost all countries – as long as you leave, they don't care where you leave to.

  • Exactly. You need an onward ticket, not necessarily a return ticket! – Fattie Feb 24 at 18:00
  • "UK does not require proof of return/onward travel" travel.stackexchange.com/questions/86762/… – Vladimir F Feb 24 at 19:37
  • @VladimirF OK, you don't literally need proof of onward travel. However, if the immigration officer suspects that you might be trying to immigrate illegally, not having a ticket out of the UK will be taken as further evidence of that. And, if you are using a ticket out of the UK as evidence that you'll leave, a ticket to a third country is just as good as a ticket back to the country you're arriving from. – David Richerby Feb 24 at 19:42
  • Some countries require proof of return or onward travel. For example, New Zealand is sufficiently far away from other major land masses that the vast majority of people arriving by plane will also leave by plane. So visitors require proof of return or onward travel. The same is not true of the UK, since one can arrive by plane and easily leave by train or ferry. – Greg Hewgill Feb 24 at 20:02
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    @DavidRicherby: True, but it would be unreasonable to require that every arriving traveller book those in advance, because train and ferry travel are relatively easy and generally booked separately from planes. It's reasonable for New Zealand to require onward plane tickets because usually multiple plane trip legs are booked together as part of an overall itinerary. – Greg Hewgill Feb 24 at 20:08
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As a rule a country's immigration service does not know, and certainly does not care, where you have come from.

As long as you have the right permission to enter, UK immigration does not care if you have come from Canada or South Africa. Canada does not care if you come from South Africa or UK, and assuming you are a citizen or legal resident of South Africa they absolutely definitely do not care where you arrive from.

There are some very rare exceptions in the cases of countries it is illegal for certain nationals to visit, but they do not apply to you.

  • Actually, many countries' immigration services do know where you've come from, though I agree they don't care, except for the exceptions you talk about. Countries including the US, UK, Canada and most of the EU have Advance Passenger Information requirements, which mean that the airline has to send passport information of all passengers before arrival. I believe that includes information about the flight itself -- the US version certainly does. – David Richerby Feb 24 at 19:59
  • The US, and perhaps other countries, care about people who reside and arrive from far away, but offer only a ticket to a country close to the US as proof of onward travel. But a person living in and arriving from Canada who shows a ticket back to Canada won't have a problem. – Gerard Ashton Feb 24 at 20:23

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