one way tickets to europe and customs

Aug 25th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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one way tickets to europe and customs

I am flying from Canada to Europe in September to travel for about 6 months.

My dad suggested purchasing one way tickets from New York and then purchasing the return ticket later on. So far I have one ticket to New York and I'm thinking of purchasing another one way to London either now or when I arrive.

Will purchasing one way tickets cause me problems with Customs? If so, how severe are the problems? Do I have to have a return ticket?
SeanP is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 05:16 PM
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Boy am I confused. You mean you can reasonably buy one way tickets to Europe? For long trips I've known people to buy two sets of roundtrips and throw away the two returns (round trip Jan 1 - Jan 15, and round trip July 1 - July 15, for example and use the January 1 and July 1 portions only, as even that can be cheaper than a six month round trip. But I've never heard of two one-way tickets being purchased.
Patrick is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 05:26 PM
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besides Patrick's points, what does this have to do w/ Customs? Do you mean Immigration?
janis is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 05:28 PM
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atlcity is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 05:32 PM
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No, I think it's a legitimate question, although I don't know the answer.
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 05:35 PM
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I have heard of people having problems, but can't give any specifics. Immigration may want to have proof of onward travel. I suggest posting at the site in the Cheap Flights section.

Note that it is possible to buy cheap one-way tickets from Canadian cities on or (these are no more expensive than 1/2 of an inexpensive return ticket) but I have never heard of a way to get cheap one-way tickets to London from New York. Then again, I haven't had reason to research it.
WillTravel is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 05:38 PM
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For instance,here are a few 'quotes' just from googling "one-way ticket immigration"...
"If you are going to fly in with a one-way ticket, choose an airport or country where the immigration officials aren't so uptight. If I'm flying in with a one-way ticket I always get a flight to Amsterdam. If you're flying in with a one-way ticket you may want to buy a train, bus or plane ticket out of the country, just in case the immigration officials ask."
"Passengers arriving without a return ticket or on a one way ticket into Bermuda will not be admitted unless prior Bermuda Immigration authorization has been given."
As you will be entering the Philippines on a tourist visa, you may have to show immigration authorities proof of departure via an outbound ticket. This means that either (a) a round trip ticket from home of record to Manila then back to home of record (open dated) or if you have bought a one-way ticket (b) arrange for you an outbound ticket (Hong Kong-Manila-Hong Kong) it will be needed for immigration purposes, until the school secures your working visa. Upon arrival in Manila, the Hong Kong ticket will be returned to the Finance Office."
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 05:48 PM
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Yes I mean immigration. A travel agent told me that going into Europe with a one way ticket will cause alot of problems.

I'm not trolling. Perhaps the situation is obvious to you, but not to me.

Regarding one-way vs return tickets, here is more details on what I'm doing. (I'm not very experienced here so if this is crazy let me know.)

I've been looking at discount flights on iceland air which go for about $240US+ taxes from NY to London with a stopover in iceland. (price from I like the idea of stopping there.

Because I'm going for 6 months, I cannot get the return ticket (costs about 340US+taxes) because it has a one month limitation.

If I go directly through iceland air the return ticket costs $1063US.
SeanP is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 05:51 PM
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Almost forgot: Thank you for your responses so far. I appreciate them.
SeanP is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 05:55 PM
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Sounds like a good deal to me. I say go for it.
Technically there are all kinds of limits to how long you can stay and having to prove you have funds and a return ticket. But I've gone for 5 months at a time several times and have never been asked the first question or been asked to show anything special.
Patrick is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 07:33 PM
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You should check with the local consulate of the country you will be entering. Some countries will not allow you to enter without proof that you will not become a charge on them by remaining there without being able to support yourself. A return ticket, or at least a ticket out of their country, can alleviate this concern.

In some cases, evidence of financial ability is required in lieu of a return ticket. Sounds like you're a student and this might lead immigration officials to doubt your financial status.

You'd be safer with a roundtrip ticket, even if you wind up throwing the return portion away. If the difference is $100, I'd go for it. It's possible that once there you can get the return portion credited towards a later ticket home.

I'm sure you're aware that traveling on a one-way ticket will trigger all sorts of terrorist alarms. If you pay cash, forget it, you'll never get off the watch list.
shellio is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 08:11 PM
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If you are young and studenty/backpacker looking the UK is one of the places where immigration will frequently ask to see either a return or onward ticket and may well ask to see confirmation of your hotel reservations. They are concerned to prevent illegal immigration/or long-term charge on society of people not able to support themselves.

I would not try to enter the UK without some sort of return/onward ticket - you risk being refused entry and summarily returned to Canada. (I believe there was an episode involving this probelm on the UK version of the Airline show - a lot of people were questioned in depth by the immigration folks and some were in fact refused entry - sorry don;t recall all the details - it was a couple of years ago.)
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 08:39 PM
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I should point out that my remarks about never being asked for proof of self-support or return ticket was not meant to imply that it COULDN'T become a problem. There is also a lot of difference (fair or not) in the way they look at a couple of "retirees" who are hanging around for a few months, and a college "kid" who has no ticket to go home.
Patrick is offline  
Aug 25th, 2004, 11:09 PM
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There's no point talking to consulates: the issue here isn't what the letter of the law says, but what decision an individual immigration official might make - and even if you're not deported, you might spend longer in the detention centre than you might like.

The best source of advice is the Thorn Tree site, whose posters talk of this all the time
flanneruk is online now  
Aug 26th, 2004, 01:33 AM
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I used a one-way ticket from the US to the UK when I worked in the UK for the summer. I didn't run into any problems on the way, but got detained and grilled on the way out, even though I had a work visa.

But that was several years ago, and things are much tighter these days. The easiest thing to do is buy a RT ticket now, and then another one when you plan to return to the US.
Ann41 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 01:39 AM
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Sean, Honestly I think you will get some hassle at customs especially in London. I had a 1 way ticket 9 years ago to Dublin and My parents were both with me. They are irish/US citizens and have the same last name as me. AFter talking and being nice to them I was grilled about my one way ticket aand had to explain I had 2 passports and was legalto stay etc. Be careful.
SiobhanP is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 01:42 AM
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During the many times I have flown to Europe, to a wide variety of countries, I do not recall ever having to produce proof of a "ticket home" when going through Immigration...simply a passport and that is ALL I have ever been asked for.

There have been times when I was asked, "How long are you stayin in......?" and/or "What is the purpose of your visit......?"

As yet, no-one who has responded has really indicated they have been asked to produce a return ticket..or have I missed something here?
TopMan is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 01:59 AM
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If you check the UK visa website, you will find that it says you are allowed to stay for 6 months as a visitor BUT:

"You must be able to show that:
* you want to visit the UK for no more than six months
* you plan to leave the UK at the end of your visit
* you have enough money to support yourself and live in the UK without working or any help from public funds"

From this statement it seems to me that an immigration officer MAY ask for proof that you're leaving, so a return ticket would seem eminently sensible to me.

Kate is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 02:16 AM
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The yournger you are the more likely you would overstay or work illegally I believe. I think they will target him more.
SiobhanP is offline  
Aug 26th, 2004, 02:56 AM
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UK immigration rules are full of opportunities for a really suspicious immigration officer to refuse someone. If there is any room for suspicion, they might well take it, down to any correspondence or other documentation you might be carrying that might suggest you're planning to look for work in the UK, or to stay longer to take a course, or that there's someone you're particularly keen on in the UK that you might want to marry. If, that is, you're telling them you're only coming as a tourist and if there is something about you that arouses their suspicions, and if the immigration officer's bunions are hurting. Basically you could easily find yourself asked to prove a negative - that you have no intention of over-staying.

So it might be an idea to make sure you've got some sort of documentary proof, not only of the funds you have available to cover your travels (and maybe some guidebooks for other places outside the UK that you plan to visit or a sketched-out itinerary for other countries), but also of something to show there's something you're planning to go home to - a job, a course, a relationship.
PatrickLondon is online now  

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