How do you get a proof of onward flight? Some people simply ask their travel agency for one. Others try to sneak one past security at the airport. Still others hop on an airplane and hope that they’ll get away with it. The easiest way to overpass proof of onward travel for a visa?
Book a normal flight. This is usually the easiest and most reliable way (although there are certainly other methods too). Just because you’re getting away from your original destination doesn’t mean that security will let you leave the country that way. However, if you’ve carefully chosen your onward flight itinerary (so that you arrive on vacation, rather than on a business trip), then you may be able to get a pdf copy of your booking without requesting it.
There are some things you can do to try to secure a proof of onward ticket without going through airport security. First, make sure you’re traveling with your own passport. Second, call your travel agent or airline a few days before your trip. (If you don’t already have a representative, ask them to do so.) That way they can arrange the necessary paperwork to get your booking approved.
Next, get to the airport several days early. ( boarded flights have tighter security measures.) Bring with you proof of onward travel, such as a copy of your itinerary. Check-in at the immigration officer at the airport, not in front of them.
If you can, it’s worth asking your travel agent if they’ll allow you to have an extra fee waived. This would mean paying the extra fee (which is likely to be more than the cost of the additional airport security fees) in exchange for proof of onward travel. Be aware that many companies will refuse this offer. One company manager told me, “In our experience, once a customer has committed to purchasing a ticket from us, he’s usually willing to negotiate on the price.”
Some airlines also have a special “irsa” program. If you’re travelling outside your country of citizenship, you must first show proof of onward travel by visiting an embassy or consulate. If you’re travelling within your country of citizenship, you may be required to show proof of immunization. Many people worry about this requirement and will be tempted to show proof of vaccination on arrival. However, there is no requirement for proving immunization by visiting a doctor, as this is not a “covered” benefit.
When you get to the airport, do not simply hand your boarding pass to the immigration officer. Instead, ask them if they can check your e-mail for information about your onward ticket. Many people mistakenly think that they have made a booking when, in fact, they haven’t. The immigration officer will either decline your request for a booking or ask for proof of address. If you have proof of address, then you are free to go. If not, then it’s best to hold out and hope that they don’t have to check your e-mail.
While it may seem obvious, many travellers make the mistake of assuming that any pre-booked flight will always be available. There are very few exceptions to this rule. For example, if you have already paid for a flight and it hasn’t yet been booked, it may be possible to upgrade to a flight at a later date. But generally, it’s best to book early to avoid being turned down for another flight.
Always buy your flight on the day of the sale rather than two or three days later. The reason is that many airlines will have a final check of all refundable tickets before the sale. It makes sense to try and secure a refund on your flight if you are unhappy with it on arrival. This will allow you to avoid paying additional charges on your return flight, which is what a flight cancellation penalty is based on.
Always ensure that you read all the terms and conditions that come with your onward flight booking. Some airlines will require travellers to purchase an additional carry on or oversized luggage for travel within the country. Other requirements may also be more complicated. For example, some will only allow travellers who are over 18 to travel on these flights. Any other requirements that you don’t understand should be discussed with the travel agent or airline.
It is important that you contact all the airlines you’re planning to fly with when you check in for your flight. If you have purchased a refundable ticket and then travel and discover that you don’t have an additional ticket, the refund amount will not appear on your credit card. This is because the refund policy was not included in the booking. Rather, you need to contact the airlines again to ask for the money back. Many airlines will not refund money, unless you’ve contacted them with your problem.