Urgent immigration question
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Sep 30, 2012 6:42 PM Last Post By: mendocinateacher
Sep 27, 2012 10:00 PM
Urgent immigration questionMy brother is 22 and has just boarded a plane from Auckland, New Zealand which is flying to Buenos Aires, via Santiago. He recieved a great deal of hassle at check-in because he didn't have an onward ticket from Argentina. He has tickets booked from Peru to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Auckland but they demanded to see a ticket out of Argentina. We are planning on travelling overland to Lima and assumed we would buy the tickets when we arrived.
Eventually they let him on the plane. I have purchased bus tickets for us and forwarded them to his email address so if anybody asks to see them when he lands in Santiago and/or Buenos Aires, the ticket shows we are leaving Mendoza for Santiago, two weeks after arriving in Buenos Aires.
My question is, is this enough? Should I just go ahead and book an airline ticket out of the country or will a bus ticket suffice. When he stops over in Santiago (for four hours) will he have enough time to print his ticket for immigration officials and if not, will they accept a ticket that he can access from his iPhone?
Thanks for the help, we are both quite concerned obviously.
Sep 27, 2012 11:54 PM
1Once he is on his way it is unlikely any immigration officer anywhere else will ask to see proof of onward travel. It is the airlines which can be fined if they do not check that passengers have an onward ticket if required (Chile does not require it). Immigration seldom bothers about it. I don't think he will have any problem once he lands in Santiago. This bump usually occurs with the originating airline. It is a good idea to carry a printed copy of flight reservations with you, especially if you have an open jaw ticket.
Sep 28, 2012 5:21 AM
2Relax. Immigration won´t make any problem. Very unlikely in Chile and even mucn more unlikely in Argentina. The flight ticket from Lima to Los Angeles should have been more than enough for the airline too. Which airline is he flying? Ths is important to know as this kind of problems haven´t been reported over the past
Sep 28, 2012 8:21 AM
Sep 28, 2012 9:19 AM
4All travel requirements, including the lack of need of a forward or return ticket for Chile, can be found on Timatic. Sometimes you have to point the agent at it.
Sep 28, 2012 9:55 AM
Sep 28, 2012 11:24 AM
6Thank you so much for your replies. It's his first big trip overseas and he had everything printed- a flight out of south america, a flight out of america. We had assumed we would have no problems being able to travel overland and didn't think about the fact that we might need to prove this. There was nowhere on the ticket that stated he must bring proof of an onward journey, specifically out of Argentina.
So currently he is stopped over in Santiago on the way to BA (flying LAN) and I have forwarded him a bus ticket I bought us, that takes us from Mendoza to Santiago. He is unable to print it because apparantely there aren't printers in the departures area but if he was stopped at Argentina he could show them his email.
At Auckland airport he was advised with Qantas that when he stopped over in Santiago he might consider buying a ticket with LAN, to prove he was leaving the country.
This is the second time on my trip that I have had problems - only ever at check-in, never at immigration so I'm confident that this was the hardest part, particularly considering your replies.
Hopefully that's the most stressful thing we have to go through !
Sep 28, 2012 3:06 PM
Sep 29, 2012 12:06 PM
8The impression should not be given that the airlines are making up rules or simply trying to get you to buy a ticket you don't need. The rules vary by country. The rules exist regarding having a return ticket; in some countries you need it and some you don't. In Chile you don't and, apparently, in Argentina you do. 99% of the time it is not going to be a problem at immigration but, if anyone falls into the 1% for any reason, they can be sent back where they came from by immigration and the airline pays the bill.
Since the traveller in question had a ticket out of South America but not out of Argentina, the airline agent questioned it. That's fair enough because Argentina requires a ticket out of there and not somewhere else. The ticket he had should be enough for Argentine immigration as it shows intent to leave and it would be highly unusual for him to have a problem if he had a printed out copy of his reservations for further travel with him.
The reason I mention it is because borders are tightening up in both Chile and Argentina and it is well to know what the rules actually are and why the airlines are so fussy. Airline ticket, bus ticket, fake itinerary, real itinerary, fully refundable ticket you are going to cancel as soon as you arrive, whatever, but you may need to show something to the airline before boarding. In this particular case, a printout with reservation number of further travel out of Lima would probably have been enough.
Sep 29, 2012 12:56 PM
9Problem with ground stuff is that you can't speak with a human being but with trained monkey, they simply refuse to acknowledge the fact that as you said for 99% you will have no problems. It's not even about that 1%, they simply say: rules say so as so and you have to follow or you are denied boarding!
They don't think about consequences for the airlines nor they care about them, they are simply trained like circus animals to follow procedures they don't understand!
Sorry for being so bold, but this is my experience that costed my over 1000 EUR...
Sep 29, 2012 1:44 PM
Sep 29, 2012 3:28 PM
11My guess is that from the airlines point of view they are strict in enforcing this rule for 2 reasons.
1. Risk management. On the off chance immigration don't let you enter on a one way ticket the airline wants to cover themselves. It's been said here many times immigration never ask, but I would bet if they don't like the look of you or suspect you are in illegal immigrant they would check and enforce these rules.
2. Extra revenue. The airline has the chance to sell expensive last minute tickets.
While working as a travel agent in Australia some years ago we were taught that Open Jaw tickets such as those of the OP are acceptable means around one way entry requirements. Obviously LAN doesn't seem to agree.
Sep 30, 2012 5:51 AM
12Not about this specific situation but interesting and timely to the discussion. There is an article in today's Mercurio in Chile about people who have been denied entry at the airport. The number has grown from 709 in 2010 to 3,894 so far this year. The airlines are complaining about the cost of repatriating so many people and the difficulty of finding seats to do so on flights which are infrequent and/or fully booked. This leaves the passengers denied entry wandering around the transit area for up to 3 days. The airlines are complaining that they are left with the cost and the problem. Immigration says the law is there and airlines need to check documentation. The only situation where the airline is not responsible is when immigration exercises its right to deny entry for discretionary reasons. This usually means they suspect the person has come to work and not as a tourist.
The economic problems in the northern hemisphere have meant that a lot of SA countries are experiencing a wave of people looking to go somewhere else to work. Chile is swamped. People found working on tourist visas are not just getting kicked out but are being prosecuted and fined. The game is changing and it is good to have a heads up.
Edited by: vnrose
Sep 30, 2012 5:43 PM
13But of all those cases of denial in Chile, I bet not one was for not having an onward ticket alone.
There has NEVER been a case of Argentine immigration refusing to allow someone in for not having an onward ticket alone, so, with respect,, I think someof your comments, vnrose, could be a bit misleading for those reading them.
Sep 30, 2012 6:17 PM
14Not one was for not having an onward ticket because Chile does not require an onward ticket, as I have already said. I am not talking about Argentine immigration but Chilean immigration. I have no idea if anyone has been refused entry for whatever reason in Argentina or what those numbers might be. I wasn't talking about Argentina. What I am saying is that the borders in Chile are getting tighter, including a new visa requirement for one nationality, and controls on people taking casual work on a tourist visa are a lot riskier than they used to be. Since a lot of people ask questions on here about working on a tourist visa to help finance their travels, this is important for them to know.
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