I'm an European citizen (EU Passport) and I'll be soon traveling to a Central American country.

My flight has a one-night layover in the US, so I will actually enter US soil. I have done it in the past, my ESTA is current, my passport is ok.

I will have an onward flight (the flight that will take me to Central America), but I will have no return flight (no flight that will take me back to Europe).

I've been told that the situation recently changed and I'll now be required to have a flight back to my country.

NOTE: My final destination (Central American country) does not require that I have an onward/return flight. My main concern is US immigration.

  • 2
    Why would the US care about this at all? Just hit the kiosk when you arrive, go shuffle your bags through customs, and get a good night's sleep. Sep 12, 2015 at 4:29
  • @MichaelHampton my reaction exactly when I was told this. The US should care about me moving out of the US, it shouldn't matter where I'm headed.
    – magma
    Sep 12, 2015 at 5:15
  • 1
    Sometimes, the precise rules are very complicated, so people sometimes tend to simplify them at the expense of precision. It sound like the requirement to have a flight back is the simplified version of "proof of onwards travel".
    – DCTLib
    Sep 12, 2015 at 13:11

2 Answers 2


As long as you have proof of exit from the US, that is all US customs and immigration will care about.

I think you can safely relax and go through the normal shuffle of collecting your bags and rechecking them in for your onward flight, etc.


I did this twice last week via the USA (two separate tickets, one from Ireland to Brazil and the other from Argentina to Norway; none of these are my country of residence). As soon as I said "In transit to—" the CBP guy stopped listening and stamped me in. No one was interested in my onward travel plans, although the first guy wanted to have a chat about Brazil. I travelled on a British passport.

Interesting the first guy gave me one day only in the stamp, the second guy gave me the full ninety days.

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