I am a Greek citizen, my wife is Colombian (does not require a visa to enter the union for 90 days), our children are Australian citizens (they don't require a visa to enter the union for 90 days) (they are also Greek citizens in theory from birth but due to the perversion of the Greek system they cannot exercise that right before we have passed a number of bureaucratic hurdles that take a very long time).

We want to travel to Greece from Sydney and stay for a longer period than 90 days. My wife is registered as my wife with the Greek authorities. In practice there is no way she will not be allowed to stay indefinitely if she wants to. The same holds for my children.

The airline QATAR (they use IATA/TIMATIC) however do mention that she may be denied passage at the airport if she does not have a return or onwards ticket.

Can she (and my children) really be denied passage for that reason?

(I know for a fact that she cannot be denied entry as she is entitled to enter the EU with me at all times as long as we can prove that we are married, see the Europa link below)

Is there something that I can do? (I have already sent a question to the EU through the europa portal here: http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-family/index_en.htm)

UPDATE: As expected the answer from the EU commission website came and it said that we are fine to travel on a one-way ticket as far as EU law is concerned.

UPDATE2: I have contacted TIMATIC (https://www.timaticweb2.com/contact) with that and I am waiting for their answer.

UPDATE3 (After the travel): I can report that we were not even asked about onward travel, but that probably should not be relied upon, as unfortunately the behaviour of the airline staff seems to be random in applying their misinformation (as I later found out when another relative from Colombia traveled here and had trouble in Medellin for a different reason). Good luck

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    Yes! The airline will generally do whatever TIMATIC says. You should see if she can get a Greek national visa based on her status as your wife.
    – phoog
    Dec 5, 2016 at 1:42

2 Answers 2


Ali Awan's answer is based on the incorrect assumption that your wife can be denied entry by Greek authorities because of her lack of evidence of onward travel. As can be seen from your question, you are already aware that this is not the case.

The problem lies with incorrect, or at best insufficiently precise, information in TIMATIC. The airline may indeed act on this information, even though it is not correct in your wife's case, and there may not be much you can do to persuade them otherwise.

According to the Greek government, at http://www.mfa.gr/usa/en/services/services-for-non-greeks/visa-section.html, your wife may be able to receive a visa that may help her get to Greece without proof of onward travel:

Spouses of Greek or European Union’s citizens

If you are married to a Greek or EU citizen and need to apply for a Schengen visa please bring the following documentation ONLY:

  1. A valid passport or Travel document. (Please make sure that your passport will be valid for at least three (3) months after the date you exit the Schengen States).
  2. A completed and signed visa application form.
  3. One color photograph (2x2 inches) (Please note that the picture must be glued on the application form. Any photographs that are stapled will result in that application not being accepted).
  4. Marriage certificate.
  5. Proof that the spouse is a Greek or EU citizen (EU passport or identification card).

The visa is issued free of charge to all spouses of Greek or EU citizens.

This implies that Greece extends the right of freedom of movement to the spouses of Greek citizens, which means, as you note in your question, that your wife can stay with you in Greece as long as she likes, and that she can enter without any requirement to hold proof of onward travel.

On the other hand, you may be told that because she doesn't need a Schengen visa, they won't give her this visa; I know that the French consulate in New York has said as much to at least one couple.

Another worrying sign is the note about passport validity; obviously, this is confusing for people who plan to stay indefinitely in Greece or the Schengen area.

Furthermore, since the visa appears to be issued as a short-stay visa (type C) rather than a long-stay national visa (type D), there's still a possibility that a traveler holding such a visa would be asked for proof of onward travel. There is a question on our sister site for expatriates about such a visa for Spain: Wife issued short-term visa for residence in Spain as spouse of EU citizen.

In answer to your actual question:

Can she really be denied passage for that reason?

Yes. The airline can deny boarding for pretty much any reason. If the airline decides to look into the onward-travel requirement noted in TIMATIC, you may be unable to convince them that it does not apply to your wife. If that happens, you can buy a fully refundable ticket from Greece to some non-Schengen destination, provided you have enough funds available, and then get it refunded after you enter Greece.

  • I think you are unfortunately right. I like this answer better as it suggests a good solution. I have sent a question to the EU through the Europa portal about this. I will update my question to ask for a possible solution and accept your answer. Please highlight your suggested solution as I think this will be the most useful to people.
    – oarsome
    Dec 6, 2016 at 2:22
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    Also the part about the authorities is not really that important in this answer (although it may be useful in genreal). I know for a fact that there is no issue from the authorities. This is about the airline. They have their own rules unfortunately. It is very annoying that they are applying independent rules that have nothing to do with EU requirements.
    – oarsome
    Dec 6, 2016 at 2:34

Can she really be denied passage for that reason?

Yes your wife can be denied boarding for not holding return/onward ticket if she is entering EU as a non EU national. Although as a Colombian, she cay stay in Schengen for up to 90 days within 180 days calender year, but still she can be asked to provide return air ticket by airline and border official in EU countries.

There are few requirements if your wife entering as a non EU citizen and return/roundtrip ticket is also one of the requirement:

Source: Europa.eu

"Border officials in EU countries may ask for other supporting documents such as an invitation letter, proof of lodging, return or round-trip ticket. For the precise requirements contact the local consular services of the EU country in question."

However your query regarding Qatar airways (IATA/TIMATIC) yield the following result in official Qatar airways website:

Source:Qatar airways

National Colombia (CO) /Residence Australia (AU) Embarkation Australia (AU) /Destination Greece (GR)

Greece (GR)

Passport required. - Passports and other documents accepted for entry must be valid for a minimum of 3 months beyond the period of intended stay.

Visa required, except for Nationals of Colombia for a maximum

stay of 90 days. (SEE NOTE 56269) NOTE 56269: The max. stay is granted within 180 days. Additional Information:

  • Visitors are required to hold necessary documents for their next destination and proof of sufficient funds to cover

    their stay .

  • Valid visas in full, invalidated travel documents are accepted provided accompanied by a new travel document.


  • Passports and/or passport replacing documents issued more than 10 years prior to date of travel are not accepted.
  • Visitors not holding return/onward tickets could be refused entry .

Therefore Qatar airways expecting to meet all the above requirement and return/onward ticket is a must and listed as a warning. This is also a requirement by border officials in EU countries.

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    This answer is incorrect because it fails to note that the family member of an EU citizen cannot generally be denied entry to the EU when traveling with the EU national. Greece is not required to extend this right to family of Greek citizens, but it seems that it does. TIMATIC is therefore insufficiently precise. The airline may deny boarding because of the lack of onward travel, but Greek officials cannot deny entry for that reason. The traveler in this case is also not limited to a 90-day stay, as noted in the question.
    – phoog
    Dec 5, 2016 at 12:33
  • @phoog brilliant analysis regarding traveler not limited to 90 day stay. therefore please See
    – Ali Awan
    Dec 5, 2016 at 13:39
  • I don't understand your reference to the Wikipedia page on visa requirements for Colombian citizens. That page does not apply to tarzan's wife when she is traveling with him in the European Union.
    – phoog
    Dec 5, 2016 at 13:42
  • @phoog what is her nationality then?
    – Ali Awan
    Dec 5, 2016 at 13:43
  • Colombian, as noted in the question. But have a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_Rights_Directive_2004.
    – phoog
    Dec 5, 2016 at 13:44

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