Onward ticket from the Philippines – FAQ / Workaround

Before you board a plane to the Philippines you need to show a return or onward flight ticket (to anywhere outside PI), an annoying ‘immigration requirement’ for foreigners. Once you land you don’t have to show it.


Some common questions that it’s hard to find the answers to on Google, and a cheap solution:

Do they always ask?

Yes, unlike e.g. Thailand it isn’t random, it’s strictly enforced for every airline and departure airport, and you can’t really blag it.

Does it need to be a printed ticket?

No, I’ve shown a booking confirmation email on my phone several times without a problem. Some websites online say it needs to be printed, I think that’s outdated info.

Do you still need an outward ticket if you have a visa?

Yes, whether you’re entering on the free 30 days visa waiver (used to be 21, then increased) or have a visa already (for 59 days), you still have to show an onward ticket.


Does the outward flight need to be within 30 days?

When I asked at the check in desk the lady said no it can be dated whenever… ‘because you can extend’. I asked what if it’s dated years in the future because you can extend visas within the Philippines for about three years… she didn’t know.

Some people do get refused though if their ticket isn’t within 30 days. So if that’s you arrive at check in as early as possible (opens 3 hrs before flight) in case you need to book a last minute flight somewhere.

Any other workaround?

Update – Flyonward.com now appears to be a complete scam, they deleted their Facebook and according to many reports including people I know, they never received their ticket. Avoid.

How it used to work is, for $10 you can rent a real ticket that auto-cancels after 24 hours. Just enter the time you want to receive your ticket, your email, and pay on Paypal. Used to work even if they check the flight number on their computer.


Hidden brag Pierre Cardin suitcase


Since Flyonward stopped delivered tickets and I started using BestOnwardTicket.com it’s faster, $12, and tickets are valid longer, 48 hours. I tested it out and wrote a review here.

Some theorize though that Bestonwardticket is the Flyonward guy, starting a new site to set up the same scam. That remains to be seen, but for now it’s working. I’ll update this post if I hear it turned into a scam.

Low cost Airlines?

If you’ve left it too late to use Flyonward or actually want to use your onward flight ticket, these are the main Southeast Asia airline carriers.

Flight costs vary depending on promos, your check in baggage weight, stopovers etc. so it’s worth checking several airline sites.

Do the Cebu Pacific girls always dance?

Sadly no, never the times I fly 🙁 Maybe only at Xmas?

27 Responses

  1. Bishop says:

    Any date is NOT fine. I came to Cebu on a round trip ticket in November, returning flight in May. I was not permitted to board without an onward ticket within 30 days. Orbitz has 24-hour free cancellation, free easy and doesn’t require giving info to a shady third party.

  2. jspill says:

    Weird, any date was fine for me, flew in a few days ago. Classic Philippines, doing things totally randomly.

    I heard of orbitz but when I checked I don’t think they refund the cost of service fees:


    In that case arrive at check in early in case you need to book a cheap onward flight on your phone

  3. kick2dante says:

    ya i think that will depend on the person that is checking up on things, if you get a strict ‘requirements’ type you could be f’ed

    most probably will just glance at the ticket and not notice the date

  4. Terry says:

    I applied for a visa, and an onward ticket was one of the documents I had to submit. I edited an old email from United showing my itinerary from the USA to the Philippines, which I paid for with miles. I researched flights and times, and changed the flights to show an itinerary from Manila to the USA within 59 days of my arrival. All my flights were real. The only fake bit of information was the confirmation number, which I had to make up. I was granted a visa, and the freedom to book a flight out at my leisure.

    • kick2dante says:

      yes i may have done something similar to that a time or two in the past hehehe

      i even once had the girl start entering info into the computer and then call her supervisor over, i started to sweat a bit, then they handed me the fake boarding pass back and i was on my way

  5. Bishop says:

    Orbitz refunds the whole thing if cancelled within 24 hours.

  6. frank says:

    Dante, What kind of visa do you get? The long term visitor visa? Is it a pain in the ass?

  7. kick2dante says:

    standard tourist visa, not a pain in the ass, go in after 30 days and renew, go in a month later and renew again to get an ACR card, at this renewal you can extend for 6 months

    i believe you have said you want to live in cebu, the immigration office is at a mall, longest I ever had to wait there was an hour and a half, good strat is to go in give them your paperwork wait 10 minutes for them to call your name, at that point you go over and pay then you wait for awhile, during the waiting period go grab lunch/shop/head to the internet cafe……. i wrote a blog post or two on my last visit and have handed out some numbers while waiting as well hehe

    go back in after 45 minutes and ask if they called you

    much easier then most countries, thailand makes you do visa runs every 2 months, indonesia requires you to go up to immigration three days in a row every month

    cambodia is easier then phils but phils is just a minor inconvenience

    • jspill says:

      Every 3 months for Thailand if you get a tourist visa. 2 months is the visa exemption.

      And you can buy a 5 year visa for $200/month, I’d easily spend more than $200/month living in PI compared to Thailand because rent and utilities are more expensive.

      Then with that 5 year visa there’s no need to go to immigration and pay extension fees, zero hassle.

      Then a middle ground is the student visa for 1.5 years, looking at $100/mo for that.

      • kick2dante says:

        so more hassle for the 3 month one going to some other embassy

        you may pay $200 more per month in phils but you don’t try to cut your costs, i paid $850 a month in cebu and lived in a fine apartment in a nice area of the city, highly doubt i would live anywhere in thailand and have the same quality of life on $650……..

        • jspill says:

          Can get a visa run company to do all the embassy stuff (it’s called a consulate actually) for you while you explore the city

          You probably could in Chiang Mai actually, somewhere you haven’t been yet. Super cheap condos. Cebu is like the Chiang Mai of the Philippines.

          Anyway how is what you spend relevant, or cutting costs – I’m saying for the exact same apartment it’d be at least $200 more, more like $400 actually with utilities and internet. So for the exact same life (i.e. not cutting costs, that’s the whole point) then it’d be cheaper to buy the 5 year visa in Thailand.

          Arguably Thailand is better for visas because with the 5 year Thai Elite card you literally never have to do anything. Like buying temporary citizenship in a cheap safe country with sick apartments and fast internet.

  8. Hesmunsteri says:

    since you’ve bought many tickets onwards you might just photoshop the dates from your existing ticket for the next time. its free and has worked since 2011 I bought my first ticket onwards to Kota Kinabalu. Even the flight number is still the same (just checked last week).

  9. kick2dante says:

    funny about flight number

  10. SouthernAdventurer says:

    I was thinking about getting an onward flight and actually going but then I would need another to come back correct? That’s a weird requirement to a country that could use more tourism judging by there GDP.

    • jspill says:

      Just any onward flight (e.g. cebu pacific to thailand/vietnam), you dont need one back to the states as well

      Yeah its annoying and tourism takes a hit. Dante likes that, less young white dudes to compete with ^^

  11. dante says:

    just the onward ticket every time you come in

    countries like phils that have no problem with you staying for 3 years shouldnt require an onward ticket… but they still do lol

  12. SouthernAdventurer says:

    Just FYI to anyone that like me is paranoid and didn’t trust an onwardflight site you can get a flight from Cebu to Taiwan for less then $30.

    • jspill says:

      What airline? Must be a temporary promo, surely

      I see some dates in Jan are 1799 pesos promo rate on Cebu Pacific, $37

      • SouthernAdventurer says:

        AirAsia. Must have been because now there $39. I booked one for $26 (I think it ended up being $32 after fees/taxes) but I also got a flight from JFK to Taipei to Cebu for less then $450 it might have been a slow travel time in mid Nov.

      • SouthernAdventurer says:

        Always check Cheapoair and/or Expedia they usually have the best deals. Google Flights though is actually pretty good as well.

  13. Akog says:

    Yea i am in process of booking my trip now for 2 week test run before i quit my job and give it a go. I found it pretty cheap out of jfk to manila 490. Round trip was 680. Pretty good.

  14. Steve says:

    Save yourself $8 – 10 USD and print one yourself.

    This works for me all the time, i buy a single and then search for an outward flight from PH to anywhere in Asia using the same airline you brought your ticket from. Make a note of flight number, date and time. The single ticket you just brought can be viewed as an online printed version. Just copy this printed online version (usually a webpage) into Word Doc and change the flight number, date and time to match the outward flight you searched for and print a copy so it looks like your single ticket but we use this as our outward flight..

    It works all the time because they are only interested in checking for date and time of outward flights on their computer only. i’ve traveled back and forth PH on numerous occasions and extending my stay as well and always use this trick to save on only buying a single flight. Or that, i don’t know how long i want to stay in PH.

  15. Rico says:

    hey man, I want to book a flight to another country with AirAsia something like 50 dollars for onward flight. I plan on getting a visa so I will not use this flight. I don’t care about a refund but can I cancel it without any issues? What should I do?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *