I'm traveling to the US from Norway on F-1 visa. I just received this generic e-mail from the Airline.

If you are a non-US citizen or resident flying to the US, you must be able to provide proof of a return flight to US Immigrations upon arrival. Failure to do so may mean that you are denied entry into the US.

I have purchased one way ticket, because I plan to return after one year and unsure about the dates, and I'm worried after reading this email. Do I need to buy a return ticket?

1 Answer 1


No, you do not need a return ticket.

Entry to the US requires a return ticket (with a destination to somewhere other than Canada/Mexico) when you are entering the US under the Visa Waiver Program (ie, using an ESTA). This is obviously not relevant for you as you have a visa.

When entering using a short-term visa, such as a B1/B2 visa a return ticket is recommended, but not required.

When entering using most other visas, including an F-1 visa, a return ticket is NOT required at all.

To some extent, the statement you've quoted does actually cover your situation, in that once you land you will be becoming a US resident (a temporary resident, but still a resident) - so no return ticket is required. That said, it's still not a correct statement if only because it does not cover B1/B2 visas.

  • "resident" has a specific meaning under US immigration law, and F visa holders do not fall into it, but your answer is otherwise correct that no return ticket should be needed here.
    – mlc
    Dec 31, 2022 at 20:43
  • 1
    @mlc "residence" is defined in US immigration law as "the place of general abode; the place of general abode of a person means his principal, actual dwelling place in fact, without regard to intent." It's perfectly possible that an F visa holder could be a resident of the US under this definition.
    – phoog
    Dec 31, 2022 at 22:20
  • 1
    @mlc They may not be a "permanent resident", but they are still a "resident". Speaking from personal experience as someone that lived in the US for >10 years on a non-immigrant visa.
    – Doc
    Jan 1 at 1:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.