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What Is an Onward Ticket?


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Are you ready for your next adventure overseas?

Well, before you depart, there is one important detail you must not forget – an onward ticket. A proof of onward travel. Or, a return ticket. Many travelers are not aware of this requirement, but it’s becoming increasingly important, as more and more countries are asking for it. You may also be denied entry into the country, if you can’t show a proof of onward travel (return ticket counts).

In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the basics – what an onward ticket is, why you need one, and how can you get an onward ticket.

Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.

Passport and boarding passes on a laptop

1. What Is an Onward Ticket?

An onward ticket, also known as a proof of onward travel, is a travel document that confirms you have an exit flight from your destination.

To put it simply, it’s a ticket away from the country.

It can also be a return ticket.

It is required by some countries’ immigration authorities as a way to ensure that you do not overstay your visa or remain illegally. Traveling without an onward ticket, you may be denied entry into the country and forced to purchase a flight back home, resulting in additional expenses and hassle.

You don’t want to experience that.

We have a dedicated guide to onward tickets. These here are just the basics. To learn more about the topic, check out our complete onward ticket FAQ.

Typically, airlines will require you to show proof of onward travel before they let you board your flight. Even if the country you are visiting does not require an onward ticket, the airline may still ask for one. This is because airlines may face penalties for transporting passengers who are denied entry to a country.

It is therefore highly advised to obtain an onward ticket before you depart, or else risk facing these complications.

Read more: What Is a One-Way Ticket?

2. What Happens If You Don’t Have an Onward Ticket?

There are three possible scenarios:

  • You may be questioned more. About your travel plans, why and for how long are you traveling to this country, etc. It can be at check-in, at your destination (airport immigration control), or both.
  • You may be denied boarding. It sucks, but it can happen. The airline staff may deny boarding if you don’t have an onward ticket. Especially when you are traveling to a country that clearly requires it. You won’t get a UK/EU flight compensation from the airline for this, and you won’t have a right to care if that happens.
  • You may be denied entry and/or visa. This is the worst of the scenarios. Because this may also mean a permanent or temporary ban to travel to the country. Plus, you can’t leave the airport, and have to fly back as soon as possible. And you have to pay for that. Everyone knows that last-minute flights can be very expensive.

In some cases, they may give you the opportunity to purchase an onward ticket at the airport, but this is not guaranteed.

Read more: One-Way International Flights Problems

On an Emirates flight from Dubai to Bangkok

3. How Do You Get an Onward Ticket?

There are a few ways you can get an onward ticket. The easiest way is to simply purchase a return ticket, or a ticket to another country. If you have a round-trip ticket, that can serve as your onward ticket.

If you are not planning on returning, you can also purchase a ticket to another country. It’s best if it’s a country where you don’t need a visa. Or, if you need a visa, then it’s great if you already have that visa.

Alternatively, if you are planning on traveling overland to a neighboring country or taking a ferry, you can provide proof of your next mode of transport.

It can also be a refundable plane ticket.

If you choose the latter, you may also cancel it later.

Another option is to use an onward ticket service. These services provide real onward ticket reservations, which are automatically cancelled (mostly in 24-48 hours). They are sometimes called “onward ticket rental services”.

So, you are basically renting a plane ticket. For 1-2 days.

There are several online services that offer rented onward tickets, such as OnwardTicket, Best Onward Ticket, and others.

Read more: Onward Ticket Review

Don’t Risk! Travel Prepared!

Obtaining an onward ticket may seem like a minor detail in your travel preparations, but it can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and stress-free experience. By having this “document”, you can avoid the risk of being denied entry into a country or facing additional expenses to fly back home.

Remember to research the entry requirements of the country you are visiting and obtain the appropriate travel documents.

Read more: Onward Ticket: FAQ

About the author:

Co-founder and Chief Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Kaspars is a digital nomad and travel blogger who’s been traveling the world extensively since 2013. Since 2017, Kaspars has been writing about the less-known aspects of air travel, things like air passenger rights laws and regulations. He’s really good at simplifying complex concepts and making them easily understandable. Kaspars favorite airlines are Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.


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Connecting Flights Guide

Your go-to guide to air travel rules and regulations. Connecting flights, self transfer, onward tickets and more – we want you to understand air travel better

This article may contain compensated links. Learn more in our disclaimer.

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