Hi I'm an Australian currently living in Vietnam and my boyfriend and I are thinking of moving on to Canada shortly to do our 12 month work Visa, followed by 3 months travelling through the States. We have heard that you can not buy a one way ticket to Canada with a US carrier, even if you are only transitting the States, otherwise they will deny you boarding due to the strict US regulations. Does anyone have any firsthand experience with this? If so please let us know!
I have a feeling that carriers only fly to and from their country (or countries) of origin. I may be wrong, but that's what I've always assumed... Someone should be along shortly to enlighten you with facts, though!
You can buy one-way tickets between the USA and Canada, or from an international destination to Canada via the USA. There are no problems with that. You may get extra screening (I think the 9/11 bombers were travelling on one-way tickets), but you won't be denied boarding.
For firsthand experience, I've done it many times. I have purchased a number of one-way tickets from the USA to Canada over the years, most recently last year (2006). For the international portion, in 2005 I bought aflight from Hong Kong to Toronto via San Francisco on a one-way ticket.
If you are flying from an international destination to Canada via the USA, you may need a visa for the USA, even for transitting. Assuming you are Australian, you won't need a visa as Australia participates in the visa waiver program, but if you are a different nationality, you may require a visa.
Ah - yes, you can land in the US and then go on to Canada. I misunderstood and though you meant straight to Canada.
My boyfriend almost got into trouble over his U.S. visa. He missed his connecting flight from Switzerland to Montreal, and had to catch a flight in the morning, which stopped in Denver first. He got a vsitor's visa in the U.S for the stopover, but then flew home directly from Montreal, so never went back over to the U.S. Well, the next year when we were going to New Orleans, U.S. customs informed him that he could be arrested for not giving the visa back. He said Canadian Customs should have removed the visa from his passport and shipped it back to the U.S.
Same thing happened to me - we were in Toronto and went to Niagara Falls - decided to walk over to US go through passport control and paid for the joy of the passport stamp too! Got the visitors visa. On the way back through the Canadian immigration we showed our passport and asked about the visitors visa - they said it would be removed at Pearson Airport on our way out of Canada where we were flying back to UK. At airport they said it was nothing to do with them. When we got home we were concerned this was not right so contacted the US Embassy who sent us a standard email telling us to post visa along with supporting documents proving we were not in US - letter from employer, bank statements etc. Which we both did. On a trip then in Dec to Las Vegas l was pulled by immigration and taken for secondary questioning - luckily l had the foresight not to bring the copies of what l had posted. I was told if l had not brought this proof l wouldve been sent home!!!! Funny my other half was not pulled in for secondary questioning and sailed through immigration! Still it was not a nice experience!