Skip Navigation

ESTA with no onward ticket

Travel Forums North America ESTA with no onward ticket

1. Posted by Davo_NT (Budding Member 5 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

so, the plan is for a mate & I to travel across the USA over a few months before heading up into Canada. All the ESTA information I've found states that you need to provide info for a flight leaving the US within 90 days of your arrival, to prove your intent to leave the country.

however, we're planning to travel by car & cross into Canada by road. So how do we provide proof of intent to leave the country within the 90 day period?
I've been told we can use a hotel booking within Canada to do this, is that the case??

we'll be travelling under the Visa Waiver Program if that makes any difference

2. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Don't know the answer for sure, but my guess is yes, you should be able to use a hotel reservation--especially if you have a reservation that shows a non-refundable portion on the hotel booking. The US State Department is not entirely unreasonable;--they are just trying to be sure that is your intent to leave the country within the 90 days.

If, when you arrive they demand a ticket, use your cell phone and do what some people do and purchase super cheap fares from Fort Lauderdale or Miami (both in Florida) to the Bahamas (for example, to Freeport). I think Spirit Airlines has something for as cheap as $20 or so.

3. Posted by Tom Travel (Travel Guru 9 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

2012 we travelled twice into the US on the ESTA visa waiver and nobody ever asked us for an onward ticket upon arrival. The immigration officials just stamped the date when we had to leave in our passports.

Mind that leaving to Canada, Caribbean (Bahamas) and Mexiko does not count! We had to fly out to Costa Rica and come back to get another 90 days. ESTA can not be extended under any circumstances, you have to leave!

You can not come back into the US from Canada or Mexico (travelling by land) after the 90 days are over on ESTA!

4. Posted by Davo_NT (Budding Member 5 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

T-A, id assumed they asked for this information in your ESTA application rather than at the point of entry.

sounds encouraging anyway. cheers

5. Posted by Davo_NT (Budding Member 5 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Just FYI for anyone seeking similar advice. the airline (Hawaiian Airlines) wouldnt even check us into our flight without a RETURN ticket, not even an onward tickward would do! they may have let us on if we had our canada visas approved but at that stage we didnt.

we ended up going into the Flight Center located in Syd Airport & booking return flights at some random date. we only had to pay the $250 cancellation fee for the tickets & this was enough to show the Hawaiian air staff at check in. Customs Border control didnt even ask about return/onwards travel at the point of entry. although we came through hawaii & ive been told theyre more relaxed than the mainland.

6. Posted by scibuff (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Just in case anyone else reads this, for the purposes of ESTA (as well as in all other US immigration circumstances), the US, Canada and Mexico (and Bermuda and the islands in the Caribbean) are considered the same. To fulfill the requirement to leave within 90 days you must leave this area, i.e. you cannot simply travel to Canada.

[ Edit: Edited on 03-Feb-2016, at 07:28 by scibuff ]