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Southeast Asia forum

Email on smart phone good enough for proof of onward travel?

Posted by kakal on 6/8/2014 at 11:43

Hey guys,

So i'm going away in the next couple of months to do a year long backpacking around asia, now i know the whole proof of onward travel question has been asked hundreds of times there is no guarantee you will or wont be asked for it, and that there are different ways of getting around it such as fake ticket, refundable tickets, throwaway tickets etc etc.

Now what i'm thinking of doing it not getting any onward tickets, and if asked try to wing my way around it, most likely will be futile, and if it doesn't work then just buy a cheap throwaway ticket to a neighboring country on my phone, now what i'm wondering is will an email confirmation suffice if i show it to them on my phone, or will they want to see the proof on paper, has anyone tried this?

The route i'm taking seems to have a few destinations where people seem to get asked a lot, the places i'm going to : India, Sri lanka, Thailand, Laos,Cambodia,Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia,Nepal, New Zealand.

Many thanks.

#1 kakal has been a member since 6/8/2014. Posts: 4

Posted by captainbkk on 8/8/2014 at 05:53

This is a far too big Q here-plus that half of those countries are not in this forum on ASEAN. In general the STRICT answer is no-all rules I know of or have seen still refer to the old style paper tickets-thats why this whole system is sick at its roots- or in the eyes of some tipical for how governments still work-as if it was still 1966. If asked for, its most often as many burocrazy things: just give them a paper so that govmt worker become happy. I toss a guess that only SINgy would be more advacned-but also know how to check!
You'd better put tongue in cheek and post on LP/TT- often ''friendlycheckingirl''-she works at some US-airport, or has done so, is often willing to look into her directives for specific Qs like this.

#2 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472

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Posted by exacto on 8/8/2014 at 13:33

As captainbkk says, it is almost impossible to know how individual immigration officials will react to any given situation, particularly in so many different places. Different countries vary greatly in how the rules are enforced. Some are strict. Some are lax. And as we've seen lately with Thailand, it can even vary from day to day.

The one constant seems to be that if you are bonafide tourist wishing to enter for genuine tourist reasons, you'll be okay. You can help yourself by looking presentable when you are crossing borders, having the right amount of cash and a passport photo with you as needed, and having some kind of documents to show where you are going. That would include a print out of your electronic ticket for the return flight for whevenver and from wherever that may be. If it were me, in addition to the smart phone email of an onward flight, I'd print out a copy at a cyber cafe or guest house. It shouldn't cost all that much extra, and will be worth it if they cannot accept the smart phone proof.

I'd like to hear how it turns out for you, and if you have any trouble at borders or if it is smooth passage like so many of us have enjoyed over the years. Good luck.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,764
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Posted by busylizzy on 8/8/2014 at 15:01

I would think that an email version of a ticket is acceptable. That's how I always check in at the airport and hotels now - I just hand over my phone. Onward ticket would be the same. I never have anything printed (a huge step for me, a self-confessed tree killer of days gone by). I've been travelling for a year now (SEA as well as Turkey, Greece and other parts of Europe) and no one yet has asked me for an onward ticket. (But that doesn't mean it won't happen, of course). Interestingly, I flew from Hungary to England recently, and that was the only time I seriously grilled by immigration on my arrival about my plans, funding, etc. But even they didn't ask to see onward ticket.

#4 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by kakal on 10/8/2014 at 10:21

Thanks for the replies guys looks like it's anyone's guess then, the reason i asked was because i wont be buying onward tickets until i get in the country and then when i decide i want to leave i'll buy one to the next country, so was thinking worse case scenario just buy a ticket at airport if they insisting on needing one then showing confirmation on phone as proof.

busylizzy- glad to see it worked for you, i'll have to give it a go and see how i get on ( if asked)

#5 kakal has been a member since 6/8/2014. Posts: 4

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