Can you one-way to Bom-bay?
July 30, 2007 4:39 PM   Subscribe

Can you fly into India with a one way ticket?

Trying to book flights for an upcoming trip to India and Southeast Asia. We're planning on landing in Mumbai. I don't have a set end date of when to come home so I would like to fly into India with a one way and then buy my ticket home overseas. I heard this is the cheaper method and also allows more flexibility. However, when speaking with the travel agent to book my reservation, she asked me if I was certain I could enter India on a one way. I have no idea, I checked a few embassy websites but couldn't find out any information. Anyone know first hand if this is possible?

posted by ageispolis to Travel & Transportation around India (11 answers total)
When Mohamed Haneef tried to do this, he was arrested and held for a month without charge.

Your mileage may vary. If none of your relatives have funny foreign names, you'll probably be OK.
posted by flabdablet at 4:53 PM on July 30, 2007

Call the embassies. You don't want to be wrong about this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:00 PM on July 30, 2007

I don't have an answer for you but it would be useful to add some info about your citizenship and passport (Canadian?), and where you will be flying from, all of which are probably relevant.

Also flabdablet beat me to it - don't try this in Brisbane.
posted by nomis at 5:21 PM on July 30, 2007

Seconding LobsterMitten: India is very strict about its entrance rules. A friend of mine (a British citizen) flew into Bombay last year without having first applied for a tourist visa and immediately found himself on the next flight to Singapore (apparently the nearest place not requiring a visa?) for a week.
posted by kittyprecious at 5:48 PM on July 30, 2007

According to Lonely Planet, you need a visa before you will be allowed into India (as others have said) - and "most" embassies will not issue you with a visa unless you have a return/onwards ticket.
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:28 PM on July 30, 2007

There must be a way to do this. I have a friend who is living in India indefinitely--many, many people do so. I suppose you could always get a one way ticket to a country near India that isn't so uptight, then by a roundtrip ticket from that country (and never use the return ticket). It really isn't that big of a deal, and assuming you're not a jerk and don't try to freeload off of the hospitality of the people there, it will be good for India if you're there--bringing in (hopefully!) much needed cash.

Of course, IANAx.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:32 PM on July 30, 2007

FWIW, it took about 6 weeks to get my Indian visa from the consulate in Chicago (through the mail). However, I didn't have to provide any information about flights (in or out) when getting it -- only the $60 fee and a valid passport.
posted by nitsuj at 6:38 PM on July 30, 2007

Oh, and the answer to this can probably be found at the forums.
posted by nitsuj at 6:39 PM on July 30, 2007

Best answer: Here's a thread on asking your question:

The last comment is probably your best bet. If they ask for your return ticket, say you're leaving the country via bus.
posted by nitsuj at 6:42 PM on July 30, 2007

Best answer: Can you fly into India with a one way ticket?

Yes. I applied for an Indian tourist visa two years ago in San Francisco, and it was pretty easy.


You don't have to have a return ticket to your origin; you just need a ticket out of India at the end of your visa's validity to show to immigration when you arrive so they're confident that you're leaving. You can change your plans from what you tell the immigration officer and go elsewhere, of course; but again, you MUST leave before your visa expires, and the visa's validity begins on the date of issue, not the date you arrive! So if you get the visa January 1 and arrive in India January 15, you don't have 6 months of time in India; you have 5 months and 15 days.

Tourist visas (category T) at the consulate in Vancouver cost C$62 and are valid for a whopping six months, but again, you've got to tell them when you're leaving on the visa application form, and tourist visas are not extendable (source and details, including the appropriate form, here). I'm looking at the current downloaded visa form right now, and they ask why you're going ("tourism!") and where you're going, but when I applied, I just put the names of touristy places and the place my friend was getting married - Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Goa, etc - and my visa was granted the same day because we dropped it off in person. The Vancouver consulate may have different rules.

I've done this one-way ticket in, one-way-ticket out thing in other countries as well because many times it's cheaper or more convenient, and in every case, as long as you can prove that you're heading elsewhere before you become an over-stayer, you're fine.

A warning, though: it's worth carrying the confirmation e-mail from the flight you've decided to use as evidence of leaving India, should you be asked to present it.

Cheapish ways out of India are flights to its neighbors: Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Kathmandu, Colombo, and places in the Gulf like Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait, and Abu Dhabi. There are heaps of low-cost airlines in India, and many of them fly abroad - here's the Wikipedia list. I checked for a random flight from Chennai to Kuala Lumpur in December 1, and it came out around $200 one-way. If you buy refundable tickets (read the fare rules!) for around the time you'd like to go you won't lose out if your plans change.

Good luck!
posted by mdonley at 6:54 PM on July 30, 2007

To get your visa quickly I suggest going to the consulate in person. Although, it's been 10 years since I did it, so things may have changed. In the morning I dropped off my passport and application at the consulate in San Francisco, and I picked it up in the afternoon.
posted by ShooBoo at 8:31 PM on July 30, 2007

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