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A friend is traveling from NZ to Mexico via the USA, and have a B2 Visa for the USA. Flying to LA then driving to Mexico.

Under VWP/ESTA they would be required to have an on-going ticket out of the North American continent. Is this also a requirement under the B2 Visa?

The travel agent is unsure, so is recommending buying one just-in-case. However I found this thread on the Lonely Planet website that says that

If you can't produce those onward tickets, you will need a full B2 tourist or other visa. No onward ticket is required for a B2 visa; you don't have to travel beyond Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean when you leave.

That thread included no source reference though, so unsure if it's (still) valid.

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    The VWP has rules designed to prevent people from using Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean in connection with the VWP to live in the US. These rules include requiring an air ticket to a destination outside those countries (with some exceptions). A B-2 visa allows more flexibility (in part because it implies greater scrutiny of the traveler), and there is no requirement to show travel outside of North America; it's only necessary to have a credible plan for leaving the United States. – phoog Oct 10 '16 at 1:58
  • Thank you @phoog your comment along with pnut's answer are what I needed. – Midavalo Oct 10 '16 at 3:17
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Is this also a requirement under the B2 Visa?

The answer is no, but I can understand the confusion. CBP never normally ask for sight of return tickets (these prove very little) but it is not really CBP you need worry about as compliance with immigration documentation is largely left to the airlines - under threat of a fine if they make a mistake in allowing you to board. It is your carrier you need to convince you have the paperwork required.

Airlines rely on TIMATIC and an extract of that kindly provided by KLM is:

National New Zealand (NZ) /Embarkation New Zealand (NZ) Destination USA (US)

USA (US)

Passport required. - Passports issued to nationals of New Zealand must be valid

for the period of intended stay. Passport Exemptions:

  • Passengers with an Authorization for Parole of an Alien into

    the United States (Form I-512).

  • Passengers with a temporary or emergency passport.

Visa required, except for Nationals of New Zealand with a

biometric passport and an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). They must travel as a tourist, on

business or in transit, for a maximum stay of 90 days. (SEE NOTE 60190) NOTE 60190: Passengers must hold a return/onward ticket.

Visa required, except for Passengers with an Authorization for

Parole of an Alien into the United States (Form I-512). Minors: - Children, up to/incl. 15 years of age, being nationals of

New Zealand, are not allowed to enter the USA on their parents passports. - Minors traveling unaccompanied, or accompanied by one parent or a person other than parent/legal guardian, For details, click here. Additional Information:

  • The following applies to those traveling under the US Visa Waiver Program:
  • Passengers must have a biometric passport.
  • Passenger must obtain an ESTA authorization via

    https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/

  • Detailed information on the new ESTA restrictions can be

    found via http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/visa-waive r-program/visa-waiver-program-improvement-and-terrorist-tra vel-prevention-act-faq

  • A return/onward ticket (or electronic ticket record) must

    be to a final destination country other than Canada, Mexico

    or contiguous (adjacent) countries or territories situated

    in or bordering the Caribbean Sea For details, click here . If a passenger holds proof of residence in Canada, Mexico or a contiguous (adjacent) country or territory and is

    transiting the USA to that country or territory, then an

    onward/return ticket to that country or territory is

    accepted.

  • Passenger can make side trips to Canada, Mexico or Caribbean countries/islands, provided first entering the USA on a carrier participating in the VWP. No additional

    time is given (extension) based on the departure to

    contiguous (adjacent) territory For details, click here .

  • A passenger may enter the USA with a valid visa in an expired passport, provided For details, click here
  • Visitors are required to hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay and documents required for their next destination.

If you filter out all that does not apply to you I think all that is left is really that last bullet point and documents required for their next destination does not include a ticket to get to that destination.

In case it helps, for a B-2 visa to be issued there has been some vetting of suitability, to a degree greater than for an ESTA. So it is not surprising that VWP requirements about onward travel are stricter, though in other respects (eg activities allowed once in USA) VWP and a combined B-1/B-2 are equivalent.

Given that your travel agent is unsure (and the layout of the TIMATIC data!) it might be as well to check with your airline, either in advance or at least allow extra time for check-in so any misunderstandings can be corrected. Since New Zealanders mostly qualify for visa waiver, I suspect there may not be much familiarity with B-2 visa regulations and it would be easy to expect that a return ticket is required for B-2 holders as well as those travelling under the VWP.

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