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Is it a visa that you have applied for beforehand? Please give examples if possible.

I contacted Qatar to ask if a return ticket was mandatory to board the aircraft even if you have a valid visa or OCI card which is valid for life. A lot of people have been saying they will not allow you to board without a return ticket therefore I asked Qatar Airways.

They responded:

Allow us to inform you that Qatar Airways will follow the local regulations related to travel at the arriving destination. However if there is a pre-arranged visa then return ticket will not be mandatory.

  • Context? Could mean all sorts of things. – CMaster Sep 8 '16 at 14:29
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    It almost sounds like they're saying that if you're traveling visa free (and are allowed to do so) then you need to show proof of onward travel; but if you have n actual visa of some kind then you don't need the proof of onward travel. Just a guess, hence the comment and not answer. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Sep 8 '16 at 15:06
  • It might mean visa granted ahead of travel, as opposed to visa on arrival. Why don't you respond again and ask them? – Revetahw Sep 8 '16 at 15:29
  • @Fiksdal yeah I thought that to. Pre meaning before. So a visa before travel which I have. I have responded but sometimes they don't answer the question and say we responded in the previous email. – Iram Ahmed Sep 8 '16 at 15:44
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A pre-arranged visa is exactly what it sounds like: a visa arranged before you got to the airport.

Many countries offer a visa-on-arrival (VOA) under some circumstances. The problem is, the airline cannot be 100% certain you will receive such a visa. And if you land in your destination airport, and that country won't admit you, the airline has to fly you somewhere that will accept you (and then try to bill you later for the flight). If this happens too often, the airline may be fined or even lose its right to fly to that country!

To avoid this, the airline insists on one of two things before they will even let you on their plane:

  • paperwork that will (more or less) guarantee that the destination country will accept you
  • another ticket, to a country (such as your homeland) that will definitely accept you

That paperwork is often

  • a passport from the destination country
  • a passport from a country that the destination country has very good ties with
  • a passport with a valid visa for the destination country

The check-in clerk usually knows pretty well what kind of paperwork is acceptable (for example, Vietnam has a bizarre "pre-approval letter" that is written entirely in Vietnamese, but clerks recognize it), though they tend to be conservative. For example, supposedly you need a ticket for onward travel to enter Thailand. Thai Immigration never, ever enforces that, but clerks at departure gates in Japan, the Netherlands, and for some reason New Zealand have been known to, forcing traveler to scurry around and purchase last-minute refundable tickets out of the country.

Without proper paperwork, the airline is just not going to let you board. It is too much risk.

  • Ok...but I have an oci card. Which is a lifelong visa and has no limit to how long I can stay...so would this not be sufficient document? – Iram Ahmed Sep 8 '16 at 16:19
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    I also asked indian immigration and they said because an oci card allows the holder to stay in india as long as they want a return ticket is not required – Iram Ahmed Sep 8 '16 at 16:20
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    @pnuts ok....so I am confused? Will my oci card not allow entry? – Iram Ahmed Sep 8 '16 at 16:30
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    @IramAhmed -- the question is not the truth, but the check-in clerk's conception of the truth. If an OCI card is even reasonably common, the clerk, or worst-case scenario, her supervisor, will recognize it as proof positive you will be allowed to enter. If it's a very rare document and you get a clerk on her first day at work, you have to ask yourself, what then? Is there enough money left on your credit card to buy a (refundable!) return ticket on the spot? If not, be sure to arrive at the airport early enough to sort everything out. – Malvolio Sep 8 '16 at 16:30
  • @malvolio an oci card Is very recognised. As it prevents the hassle of always having to apply for a visa. You all are just really confusing me and worrying me that I may not be allowed to board the plane!!!!! Or even enter the country – Iram Ahmed Sep 8 '16 at 16:33

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