I have two questions pertaining to immigration. I'm asking this because I want to pick up my son who lives in another country and go right back.

  1. If I have a ticket returning on the same flight as I came. Can I board that flight without passing immigration in the country in which I arrived? If so, would I have a problem coming back to the country I left from, when my last activity in my passport is an exit stamp from that country?
  2. What happens if someone who has a boarding pass and passes immigration, does not get on that flight, and instead exits back through immigration? Would this only require the person to get another visa?

The countries in question are Thailand and Cambodia (traveling from Bangkok to pick up my son in Phnom Pen). I hold an immigrant non-b visa in Thailand. My son (Swedish) and his mom (Singaporean) are on tourist visas in Cambodia.

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    Please specify your nationality, the country you would be departing from and the country you will travel to (and right back from). This will greatly help giving you a precise answer, otherwise this question is likely too broad and/or unclear. Also if the country you'd be departing from is different from the country you are a national of, if you have residence there or other visa status.
    – mts
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 10:10
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    @mts I've added it. Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 10:14
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    For question 1, it also depends on the airport I think.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 10:21
  • For question 2, if I understand you correctly, the person would bring the kid to you and not take the flight she is booked on? The airline might offer some form of assistance to avoid all the trouble this would be creating. Alternatively, why not enter Cambodia? No time? Visa considerations?
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 10:24
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    @Relaxed Correct. They might, but it's a low cost airline. Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


If arrivals and departures are in a mixed area, sometimes you can do a back to back connection to the same aircraft without passing immigration, customs and security. Typically, this is only possible if you are within some common travel area such as a domestic flight or some intra-EU flights. Otherwise, you would normally have to pass immigration and re-clear security, especially on an international flight. The answer in your case depends on origin, destination and airline.

You second question is unclear. You state you're passing immigration twice. It seems you are departing, pass security, don't get on the flight and exit again? This depends on whether there are exit controls, where you are going, and whether the airport configuration allows you to exit without passing immigration. For example, if you had a boarding pass for a flight from JFK, you could pass security, and then exit straight away. You'd only pass immigration if you arrived on an international flight.

Edit: After your clarification, another option in some cases, is to get a gate pass. This allows a non-passenger to go airside, for example, to assist a dependent passenger. This is only allowed and possible in some airports.

My answer is generic and doesn't address your specific itinerary. I'll see if I can find out, otherwise someone else might provide specific information.

Update: Here's an old post from 2008 on Flyertalk: Turnaround at Phnom Penh (PNH).

Transit desk unmanned and transfer security also. No OLCI or return check in so I had no BP. Ground staff took my ticket and passport and went away to get it issued landside. They arranged for someone to open up transfer security for me. Once airside they escorted me into the contract lounge to await my boarding pass. Documents all returned as boarding was 3/4 complete.

No need for me to enter country (requiring visa on arrival), although I had photo and cash just in case.

That shows there's some possiblity of doing step 1, but certainly doesn't look guaranteed.

I can't find anything about getting a gate pass in PNH. This isn't a very common thing so I would not be surprised if it's not possible at all there. People decide not to fly on many occasions, so my speculation is that the mother could just enter, drop your son off to you and then inform the ground staff that she no longer wishes to fly. I don't know whether she would need a new visa in that case.

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    The second question pertains to another person. Specifically the mother. Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 10:20
  • Ok, I get it. You want the mother to enter to deliver your son to you and then she leaves again? Meanwhile, you want to stay airside without passing immigration?
    – Berwyn
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 10:23
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    Correct. But assuming she too will have to pass immigration. Unless she can get someone from the airline to deliver him to me. Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 10:25
  • I called the airport and she said of course, no problem. Although she said that the mother would have to have a boarding pass, which she has. Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 12:35

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