I realise that return tickets are sometimes required for tourist or visitor visas (i.e. Korea has 90 days free for Australians like me)

Just wondering that if I ever plan on entering Korea on a one-way ticket, is it even possible? I will fly to Japan sometime within the 90 days but I'm not sure when.

  • Many countries have the rule of a return or onward ticket, or money enough to buy one. If you can show travel plans and enough money or credit cards to buy the ticket you are often allowed. I do not know about Korea for Australians. – Willeke Jul 17 '16 at 12:04
  • How and who does one show enough money to buy a return ticket to? I do have more than enough. – insidesin Jul 17 '16 at 12:04
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    To the immigration officer. You have to convince them that you're not going to a) get stuck there and b) have a way out (money or ticket). The problem is the airline you fly there with often will just blanket-refuse you boarding (Aerolineas Argentinas did this to me) if you have a one-way ticket, even if you have a ton of cash on hand/credit card. I had to prove I had an onward ticket. – Mark Mayo Jul 17 '16 at 12:07
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    A general rule is having a series of recent bank statements (all showing a positive balance) or having a credit card with $ X000 credit, (bring a statement to proof.) – Willeke Jul 17 '16 at 12:08
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    You could buy a ferry ticket from Busan to Fukuoka if they're cheap and consider that your 'throw-away' ticket, or even book it for when looks good, and if that changes, try and change your ticket, or just drop it and get a flight. – Mark Mayo Jul 17 '16 at 12:08

One way to work around this problem is to purchase a fully refundable onward ticket before you depart. You can show this to the immigration officer if they ask for your onward travel plans. After you arrive, you can then exchange the fully refundable ticket for a cheaper one.

Note that depending on the country and airline, you may not be allowed to simply refund your onward ticket. That would mean you would be in a situation where you wouldn't be holding an onward ticket. (This happened to me once.)

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  • How did you cope with the case? Did you use the expensive onward ticket? – Blaszard Aug 1 '16 at 7:59
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    @Blaszard: I was able to eventually refund the onward ticket once the airline was satisfied with my immigration status. – Greg Hewgill Aug 1 '16 at 8:06

I think it sometimes depends on your case. In my recent trip to South Korea (Incheon), where I entered from a third country, the immigration officer asked/confirmed me about the details of my trip, including the number of days to stay, the hotel you stay in (I didn't decide at that time), and the purpose of entry. This took me more time than other passengers.

Although I have my onward ticket, however, it seemed that it is not a must-have. And I have frequently heard that people are allowed to enter without having one.

However, the airline forced me to buy an onward ticket much like any airlines usually do; it is because if you were denied to enter the country, it is the airline that has the responsibility of having you back to the departing country.

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