We often get questions about whether or not country X requires proof of onward travel from visitors. But is there at least one country where:

  • No requirement exists for showing onward travel to immigration
  • Timatic's database lists no such requirement as well

Obviously the above should apply to all visitors, not just visitors with residency permits or those who have automating residency rights (EU citizens traveling to the EU, NZ citizens traveling to Australia, etc).

  • Canada's website says that visitors must "convince an immigration officer that [they] will leave Canada at the end of [their] visit," but there's no requirement to show proof of onward travel at the time of entry. Does that count, or are you looking for a country that never asks any of its visitors to show that they plan to leave by any means?
    – phoog
    Apr 13 '17 at 17:32
  • @phoog does Timatic agree - as in no requirement for onward travel is listed in their database?
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 13 '17 at 17:34
  • 2
    @phoog I'm mainly trying to figure out if evey single "Do I need a return ticket" question can be answered with a Yes.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 13 '17 at 17:35
  • 1
    Whether every "do I need a return ticket" question can be answered with "yes": that's plainly not true. The US only requires return tickets from VWP travelers, for example. The Timatic info for a non-visa-exempt traveler Canada says "may" be refused entry without a return/onward ticket, but for the US says that a VWP-eligible traveler resident in NL requires a return/onward ticket to a destination outside North America and the Caribbean. Besides, by your own admission, there will be dozens of cases where people have right of residence, and they won't require onward tickets.
    – phoog
    Apr 13 '17 at 17:56
  • 1
    Many countries do not require proof of return or onward travel to allow entry, among them all countries in the Schengen Area, Turkey (for visa-excempt visitors) and Svalbard (where there, as an oddity, is no immigration control), just to mention the first ones coming to my mind. Apr 13 '17 at 18:28

Is there at least one country where travelers without residency rights require no proof of onward travel?

Yes there is; the United States, for travelers with visas (see below).

I'm mainly trying to figure out if evey single "Do I need a return ticket" question can be answered with a Yes.

No. As an example, travelers to the US with a visa are not required to show a return or onward ticket. (This is in contrast to the requirement for Visa Waiver Program travelers.)

As an example, a Nepalese citizen (not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program) traveling to the US from the UK yields the following; note the absence of any mention whatsoever of return or onward tickets:

/ 13APR17 / 1808 UTC

National Nepal (NP) /Destination USA (US)


Passport required. - Passports issued to nationals of Nepal must be valid for the

period of intended stay. - Authorization for Parole of an Alien into the United States

(Form I-512) must be valid on arrival. Passport Exemptions:

  • Passengers with an Authorization for Parole of an Alien into

    the United States (Form I-512).

  • For passengers arriving directly from the US mainland, Alaska, Hawaii, For details, click here

Visa required, except for Passengers with an Authorization for

Parole of an Alien into the United States (Form I-512). Visa required, except for Those admitted to the USA on a visa, returning to the USA after a visit of max. 30 days to Canada or Mexico or to adjacent islands (except for Cuba) For details, click here . Holders of F or J visas must For details, click here Minors: - Children, up to/incl. 15 years of age, excluding nationals

of the USA and nationals entitled to travel under the US

Visa Waiver Program (V.W.P.), are allowed to travel on their
parent's passport. A person included in the passport of another may not use the passport for travel unless he/she is accompanied by the passport holder. - Minors traveling unaccompanied, or accompanied by one parent or a person other than parent/legal guardian, For details, click here. Additional Information:

  • A passenger may enter the USA with a valid visa in an expired passport, provided For details, click here
  • Beginning students holding "F", "J" or "M" student/exchange visitor visas For details, click here


  • Are you sure? I was asked for return tickets when I was visiting the USA twenty or so years ago.
    – user57303
    Apr 13 '17 at 18:16
  • @Phantom were you traveling under the VWP? If not, are you sure you would have been denied entry had you not had them? The Timatic form I used to generate the above text asks whether the traveler has a return or onward ticket, and this is the result I got when I specified "no." From this I conclude that while you do have to convince the immigration officer that you will leave, you don't have to have a return ticket to do that; you can buy the ticket after you arrive. For the VWP, it's a different story.
    – phoog
    Apr 13 '17 at 18:25
  • Had a visitor visa
    – user57303
    Apr 14 '17 at 11:30
  • @Phantom My guess would be that they ask visa travelers for return/onward tickets because it's the most common way for people to show that they have the means to leave. That of course doesn't necessarily mean that the tickets are required: a traveler who does not have the tickets probably receives additional scrutiny, for example with respect to his or her finances.
    – phoog
    Apr 14 '17 at 14:51

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