By Rodrigo Manterola

If you never heard the term onward ticket before I can’t blame you, Onward Ticket is a product of the digital era and a great tool for the traveler and Digital Nomad and it’s basically a flight reservation made by a registered travel agency, the reservation comes with a legit PNR(Passenger Name Record)-Code which you can verify on the airline’s website.

According with the Mexican Secretary of foreign affairs, the SRE (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores) states:  The Immigration Authority at the point of entry may request the traveller to present the following documents as proof of the intended period of stay and purpose of entry to Mexico: hotel reservation, flight itinerary (round or onward ticket), tour itinerary (if applicable). Admission of entry to Mexico will be determined exclusively by the Immigration Authority at the point of entry.

Find proof of onward travel here

For people bearing an American or EU passport this may be new, but for many other people from other countries, mainly Latin American, East Europe, Asia, and basically all of the developing countries, an onward ticket is a necessity due to the fact that the USA, the EU, and many other countries request every traveler to show proof of onward travel. 

But things are changing, and over and over I see more countries, whether rich countries or not, requesting travelers to show proof of a departure flight.

But things are changing, and over and over I see more countries, whether rich countries or not, requesting travelers to show proof of a departure flight.

Why is this a problem?

Well, mainly because not everybody leaves the way they come, especially backpackers, digital nomads, globe wanderers, etc.

For these travelers, a one-way ticket is sometimes a better option, as their trip involves multi-country Overlanding visits for a longer time.

You can fly to Mexico from England for example and then make your way south through Central and South America by land, boat, donkey, your choice.

In these cases, an onward ticket is a great option when landing in Mexico, the USA, the EU, or any other country, giving you the freedom to carry on with your trip in the way you planned.

Read here about the things you need to know before traveling to Mexico on 2021

What countries require an onward ticket?

This is an ever-changing arena, some of the countries that require an onward ticket are: Chile, Peru, Philippines, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, Indonesia, most Central American countries, Brazil, and the list goes on…

Whether you’ll be asked or not for an onward ticket is a flip of a coin, sometimes you are, sometimes you’re not. Some countries don’t enforce the onward ticket as much as others, and in the end, it all depends on whether the customs agent at the port of entry is having a good day or not.

Always try to look as neat and decent as your grandma wanted you to be when traveling; be polite with the customs agent and make sure you have a good answer to their questions.

Is an onward ticket legal?

Onward tickets are legit, think about it as a rent a ticket service.

As mentioned above, onward tickets can be legally obtained through a registered travel agency that provides this service.

These tickets will be canceled within a 24/48 hour time frame after booking. You can choose the date you need it in advance and you don’t need to cancel it yourself, this should be done automatically by the onward ticket company of your choice.

How much are onward tickets?

These vary from company to company but a starting fee is around $10.00 US, like everything else, price varies not only from company to company, but also according to the services hired, such as hotel voucher, or a one-year open ticket.

You can compare some ticket prices here.

Can I use an onward ticket to travel?

No, you can not use an onward ticket to travel. 

This being said, some companies like offer the possibility of buying a ticket that can be used for travel, paying the normal price, and contacting them directly.

How long are onward tickets valid for?

Onward tickets are valid for a period of 24 to 48 hours, depending on the company selected.

Can I change the details on my onward ticket?

No, in most scenarios you can’t change the information in an onward ticket once purchased, you’d need to make a new reservation.

Are there any other options of proof of onward flight?

Yes, there are other ways around this, but this will depend mainly on your budget, amongst other factors.

Some alternatives to onward tickets are:

  • Book a fully refundable ticket

If you have the cash and the time, a fully refundable ticket is an option but just remember, sometimes you have to wait for months before you get your money back, not mentioning some airlines charge cancellation fees or just give flight vouchers back.

  • Book other means of transportation

You don’t need to fly out of the country, there are other options like bus tickets, international ferry tickets, train tickets, etc. As long as they take you out of the country it’s fine. 

Some of the bus companies are FlixBus in Europe or ADO in Mexico. This option is not available in every country.

  • Book a cheap flight to anywhere

Some companies like Ryan air in Europe or VivaAerobus in Mexico offer flights as cheap as dirt, sometimes as low as $5.00 US, whether you use it or not, they’re a cheap option.

  • Buy a flexible date flight

This is an option when you just don’t know when you are going to travel but you know where you want to go, these flights are more expensive than fixed date flights and may not be an option for every budget.

Driving to Mexico from USA? Get the giude here

Beware of scams!

This industry, like any other, is subject to scams, particularly as the need for these services is constantly increasing.

Make sure you do some research, look for reviews, visit travel groups and forums, etc.

Here we offer an affiliate link to one of our trusted companies

These are some of the options you have when flying to countries that require proof of onward travel, click here to visit 

Disclaimer: The links provided are affiliate links, these links offer the best deals for you while supporting us to keep our work going by earning a commission if you choose to purchase a ticket.

Thank you!

Get proof of onward travel on the link below