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Do You Need Roundtrip or Onward Ticket to Enter the UK?

Do You Need Roundtrip or Onward Ticket to Enter the UK?

Old Mar 29, 16, 12:29 pm
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Do You Need Roundtrip or Onward Ticket to Enter the UK?

Hello all,

I've helped my son use some his miles to book a one-way ticket to LHR with AA miles. He doesn't know when he wants to return, so we haven't booked that yet.

The thought has crossed my mind that he may have trouble with immigration in LHR or with checking in with AA with just the one-way ticket. I seem to remember having to show an onward ticket a few years ago as we passed through LHR on our way to Malta.

I actually have several questions:
1. Will he be able to check in with AA with his one-way ticket?
2. Is it likely that he will need to show a return ticket in order to enter the UK when he arrives at LHR?
3. If we get him a return ticket, which would be an AAdvantage award ticket, would he be able to change the return date? My interpretation of the new rules says that he can still do this, but I'm not 100% sure.

TIA for any answers and advice for his situation.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 1:09 pm
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Get a cheapest easyjet ticket out of the uk or a fully refundable train ticket to the mainland.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 2:10 pm
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I've arrived in the UK dozens of times and only once when I was in my early 20s did an immigration officer ask to see an ex-UK ticket. On that occasion I was arriving on an overnight ferry from Scandinavia and looked a mess as well as having many recent UK arrival stamps in my passport. If he's arriving from the first time I would bet they wouldn't ask for an onward/return ticket but that is still not a guarantee. As suggested above, get a refundable outward ticket to any ex-UK destination (not including Ireland) on either an airline or Eurostar and he should be fine.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 2:47 pm
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Güera: The airline's use IATA TIMATIC to determine whether your son will fly or not.

You / he can use it as well, by filling out the information in the form here. Much better than getting partial answers here, based on partial information given.

I also missed your son's age, and that might determine other requirements and recommendations.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 3:22 pm
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Young single men tend to draw the most scrutiny, because they're among the most likely to be entering with intent to overstay a visa (or visa waiver) and work illegally. Assuming he's a U.S. citizen, he probably won't have much of an issue, but it's probably better to be safe, buy a refundable return, and then refund it after he's entered the UK. If he's entering on the UK equivalent of the visa waiver, he needs to leave within 90 days or he will have problems in the future.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 9:44 pm
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Thanks for all your replies. I used the IATA TIMATIC tool you supplied, JDiver, and it says he'll be fine as far as being able to fly. I didn't know about that tool, so I thank you for that.

I also am going to do as others suggest and get him an EasyJet ticket to Paris for $50. Fairly cheap insurance, and he'll enjoy visiting the City of Light for the first time in any case.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 10:03 pm
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I'm glad you found the information on TIMATIC. One thing maybe to think about is that if he is planning to flying back on an AAdvantage award and has the miles available now, it may be worth booking a flight on the best estimate of the time he may come back. He can always change the dates later (pending availability), but it could be a good backup in case award availability gets low at shorter notice.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 10:15 pm
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A young traveler is likely to face additional scrutiny and if he's a relatively inexperienced international traveler, he's likely to get upset and/or not answer well. I think it's wise to have some ticket to show when this can be done at low/no cost.

He should also try to look presentable and have backup documentation to show if needed (but not to immediately volunteer) showing ties to the USA in terms of school, job, lease, etc. If possible he should have a credit card; immigration officials might demand evidence of sufficient funds, although personally I don't like the idea of showing bank statements when entering countries or applying for visas.

I'd also bring a printout from TIMATIC and anything relevant from the consulate website to show to airline agents if necessary.
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Old Mar 30, 16, 12:02 am
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Originally Posted by guera View Post
I also am going to do as others suggest and get him an EasyJet ticket to Paris for $50. Fairly cheap insurance, and he'll enjoy visiting the City of Light for the first time in any case.
If he's actually going to go to Paris, then better to buy him a Eurostar ticket if you can get a reasonable price.

It's a far better way of getting there, especially for the first-time visitor (unless he's staying near an airport on one or both ends).
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Old Mar 30, 16, 12:20 am
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Originally Posted by guera View Post
Thanks for all your replies. I used the IATA TIMATIC tool you supplied, JDiver, and it says he'll be fine as far as being able to fly. I didn't know about that tool, so I thank you for that.

I also am going to do as others suggest and get him an EasyJet ticket to Paris for $50. Fairly cheap insurance, and he'll enjoy visiting the City of Light for the first time in any case.

Why can't it just be a train ticket?
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Old Mar 30, 16, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by beerup View Post
I'm glad you found the information on TIMATIC. One thing maybe to think about is that if he is planning to flying back on an AAdvantage award and has the miles available now, it may be worth booking a flight on the best estimate of the time he may come back. He can always change the dates later (pending availability), but it could be a good backup in case award availability gets low at shorter notice.
I would do this but he's not sure from which country he'll be leaving. If I were sure he would be leaving from London I would get the award ticket now.

I've already bought the EasyJet ticket to Paris, but appreciate the suggestions re: Eurostar. It's a "fait accompli" or a "done deal" as we say around here.
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Old Mar 30, 16, 8:13 pm
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Generally if he's on a US passport he shouldn't have much of problem. I've booked one ways into LHR several times for business reasons because like son no idea on the return date and travel around Europe or even on to India. Just prep him on any questioning he may get so he don't freak out and make himself a target.
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Old Mar 31, 16, 1:25 am
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Of course, wouldn't the same question apply to his entry to Paris/Schengen without an onward journey as it does to his entry to London?
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Old Mar 31, 16, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Ldnn1 View Post
Of course, wouldn't the same question apply to his entry to Paris/Schengen without an onward journey as it does to his entry to London?
In theory it could, but our experience is that the UK is more of a stickler about this. When we were passing through LHR on our way to Malta, they wanted to see our onward tickets. We are a couple in our early 60's.
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Old Apr 1, 16, 6:49 am
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Originally Posted by Ldnn1 View Post
Of course, wouldn't the same question apply to his entry to Paris/Schengen without an onward journey as it does to his entry to London?
I've never been asked about departure plans upon entry to the Schengen zone, and I lived in London for two years with regular trips to the continent. A couple times I was asked to help them find the entry stamp so they could see how long I'd been there, but that's it. (The amusing one was when flying ICN-TPE-CDG-FRA-IAD, and the border guard at CDG had stamped over several other stamps. The German border guard at FRA was not happy about that, but seemed to understand that this was part of the difference between the French and the Germans.)

(Can't really comment on onward tickets from the UK, as I had a work visa.)
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