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This is for a Sri Lankan national traveling from Sri Lanka to Bahamas, no checked in baggage, transiting without VISA.

  • Ticket #1: Single Ticket sold by Emirates: CMB to DXB (Emirates), DXB to GRU (Emirates), GRU to PTY (COPA Airlines).

  • Ticket #2: Ticket sold by COPA airlines: PTY to NAS (COPA Airlines)

The issue here is the separate ticket transit in PTY, a lot of people said we might be denied boarding at CMB because of that.

What if I do this instead:

  • Ticket #1: Single Ticket sold by Emirates: CMB to DXB (Emirates), DXB to GRU (Emirates), GRU to DXB (Emirates), DXB to CMB (Emirates)
  • Ticket #2: Single Ticket sold by COPA: GRU to PTY (COPA Airlines), PTY to NAS (COPA Airlines)

This would satisfy all the requirements because you have "onwards travel" from GRU and you have single ticket transit in PTY.

The only weird thing would be the check in folk would see us going to Brazil and then coming right back.

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    Sorry, it's unlikely to work without a Visa for Brazil. At check in, Emirates will verify that you can enter Brazil legally and will deny boarding if you can't. The fact that you have a same day ticket to leave Brazil makes no differences. Emirates must verify that you can enter your destination legally or risk heavy fines from the destination country. – Hilmar Mar 16 at 14:25
  • How would you get home? – Damila Mar 16 at 14:41
  • @zwdev2 : can you get a Visa for Dubai ? That should be easier than EU or USA. If yes, you can route through Dubai and Quito/Ecuador which is visa free. – Hilmar Mar 16 at 15:22
  • @Hilmar, can you give me the itinerary for this trip? I couldn't find DXB to UIO. – zwdev2 Mar 16 at 16:26
  • With KLM though Amsterdam. You may have to play around with the dates a bit but since you don't need a Visa you can stop in UIO as long as you like. flights.app.goo.gl/sTH4mN – Hilmar Mar 16 at 18:12
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I have to applaud your inventiveness and perseverance on this topic.

The issue is that the airline won't sell you #1 as a single "trip", but rather as two separate trips (outbound and inbound) on the same ticket, i.e. a return ticket. So when you check-in at CMB, they'll consider your final destination for that trip to be GRU, so shouldn't apply transit rules but entry into Brazil rules, and you don't have a visa.

However a variation on this could be to book a ticket to a country where you can enter without a visa or with visa on arrival, but still routed through the right places. I've tried finding an itinerary starting with CMB-DXB-GRU and ending up in Bolivia (which gives visa on arrival to Sri Lankan citizens) but failed, there may be a few others to try. There could be itineraries directly via PTY rather than GRU as well. As in your plan in your question, you would then skip the last leg and hop onto GRU-PTY-NAS or PTY-NAS instead.

If you find such a combination, a few things to watch out for:

  • In some places, transit passengers from some countries will actually be escorted by the authorities or staff to a secure holding location and then to the ongoing flight. Or they could keep your passport during transit. Or both. No idea if that happens in GRU or PTY (I think it was mentioned in previous questions that this happens in Mexico for instance). If that happens, you won't be able to switch destination.

  • When you book an itinerary, if there are any issues, the airline can reroute you nearly any way they want (and is compatible with your visa situation), they could put you on a different routing that does not stop at GRU (or PTY), so you may end up at the final destination rather than the intermediate point you wanted.

I still recommend you try to get a transit visa for either the US, Panama or Brazil (or possibly a few other places), that would make things a lot easier. Have you tried reaching out to the honorary consul of Panama or the embassy of Brazil in Sri Lanka for advice? Even for the US it may not be as difficult as you think depending on circumstances (especially available funds).

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    There is also the problem that the trip home could get cancelled when they don't go from GRU to Bolivia (for example). – Damila Mar 16 at 14:40

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