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If you are boarding a flight to the Philippines from within Asia, it is quite likely that you will be questioned, though if you are boarding a connecting flight to the Philippines from a different continent, there is a strong chance that the airline agent will be unfamiliar with Philippine protocol and overlook the need for a return ticket.
However, it is best not to be caught at the airport without an onward ticket.
Otherwise, you may be forced to buy an expensive last minute ticket in a desperate attempt to board your flight. An onward flight ticket serves as proof that a traveller will be leaving the country on a specific date after gaining entry into the country.
This is problematic for many travellers, particularly backpackers, that are not sure how long they need to fully explore the country.
The irony is that Philippine immigration officials rarely ever ask for an onward flight ticket.
In addition, if one is extending their tourist visa in the Philippines, immigration officials rarely ask for the onward ticket.
This raises the question as to why the country forces people to waste money purchasing an onward airline ticket that they may never use -- especially when there is much revenue to be earned by tourists extending their stay.
The "Proof of Onward" ticket is an entry regulation imposed by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration that catches most foreign tourists by surprise.
Seasoned travellers that have explored extensively through Southeast Asia are often puzzled by this mediocre policy as many are accustomed to wandering freely throughout Asia without any definitive itinerary or schedule, pending the acquisition of the relevant travel visas.
But is this "Onward Ticket" policy truly necessary and is it something that enhances the appeal of the Philippines or makes it less competitive with competing tourist destinations in the region?
This article serves as a warning to potential tourists to the Philippines that an onward return ticket out of the country is required before you can board a flight to enter the country.
While it is not uncommon for many countries to require proof of an onward journey, the reality is that the vast majority rarely check.