Is it possible to enter US on a one way ticket without any problem ? I am coming over to help a friend sail his boat from mainland US down to Caribbean.So am not sure exactly when I will be returning to UK and from where. I have a valid ESTA and am travelling on a UK passport. What supporting documents are customs likely to ask for ?

  • Purely FWIW. I have any number of times arrived in the US (when just a tourist) with only 1-way ticket; was never even asked. HOWEVER I have no clue if that is now all different with the ESTA-VOA system. – Fattie Oct 31 '16 at 14:07
  • Would a single ticket open jaw booking be an option? Or would the US not see an open jaw as "proof of onward travel" (i.e. they're unable to infer the existence of the third leg)? – UnrecognizedFallingObject Nov 1 '16 at 1:00
  • @JoeBlow Changed the link – Crazydre Nov 1 '16 at 2:11
  • @UnrecognizedFallingObject Yes, as long as the final destination is not Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean – Crazydre Nov 1 '16 at 2:13
  • @Crazydre -- that'd be a good addition to your answer then :) – UnrecognizedFallingObject Nov 1 '16 at 12:58

You are required to be a possession of a return or onward ticket (Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean don't count unless you're a resident), and airlines are likely to deny you boarding if you don't have one (which they can see electronically), since it's written in Timatic (the above link), the database used by Airlines which is based on info from immigration authorities worldwide

Visa required, except for Passengers with a biometric British passport with nationality of British Citizen shown on the bio-data page. They must have an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and 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.

However, the CBP (US immigration) is unlikely to ask for it unless they decide to examine you more closely for some reason.

You could buy a refundable return or onward ticket (though not to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean) to overcome this.

Again, though, it will probably mainly be the airline who asks for it. Having entered the US a number of times, I've been always been questioned a fair bit, and sometimes downright grilled, but never outright asked to show anything but my passport and APC receipt. Then again, it might be a different story if taken aside for secondary, which has never happened to me

  • If you'd like another official source (not that Timatic isn't great), see the ESTA FAQ. Entry under the Visa Waiver Program requires "a return or onward ticket." – Zach Lipton Nov 1 '16 at 2:43
  • They haven't asked for proof of return in secondary from me. Just one data point. – chx Nov 1 '16 at 15:09

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