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US to Gatwick and Madrid to US

I have purchased a one- way ticket from the U.S. to Gatwick, UK. I will be traveling England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain. I would like the return time to be flexible so I don't want to purchase my Madrid to Oakland ticket until later in say December. Does Passport Control or the TSA require me to show up at Oakland Airport on November 2 with a round trip ticket? Or can I show up with the one way ticket and buy my return ticket later?

Posted by
1294 posts

TSA shouldn’t be an issue. I’ve heard that UK border control sometimes asks to see your reservation for onward travel.

Posted by
8889 posts

Yes to what Rocket said, and that onward ticket UK immigration would want to see is the one that gets you out of the UK, which could be a flight to Madrid or a train ticket to Paris. They are just checking to see you don't intend to stay.

But, "Or can I show up with the one way ticket and buy my return ticket later?" - you are planning to enter the UK on 2nd November and buy your return ticket one month later after you are in the UK? Since tickets are more expensive the nearer you get to departure, especially those on European airlines, that might not be sensible.

Also, how long are you planning to stay? I trust you are aware of the various time limits for staying (90 days in 180 in the Schengen Area)?

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for your thoughtful answers. I think I am going to take the Eurostar train from London To Paris.

Posted by
3662 posts

To satisfy both the urge for flexibility and the need to prove you will leave the UK properly, you might find a one-way ticket home from Spain that allows changing the date -- for a substantial fee. But then, you are already behind in the financial count. You could have bought a multi-destination ticket into the UK and leaving from Madrid at a significantly lower price than you are going to pay in total for two single trans-Atlantic tickets. Flexibility is an expensive luxury in transcontinental air travel.

Posted by
1063 posts

" I think I am going to take the Eurostar train from London To Paris."

To get the cheapest tickets buy them well in advance.

Posted by
2903 posts

Be ready to answer some questions. Coming through immigration into England at Heathrow airport last spring, we were asked how long we were staying, what was the purpose of our visit and asked what hotel in London we would stay in that first night. I had to show them the printed confirmation of our hotel reservation for the next few days. They asked what we would be seeing, where all we would be going. If, as someone said, you made a reservation/bought tickets to another destination, it may be good to bring proof to show them that you are indeed leaving the UK on a certain date. That's what they will be interested in. Our plane tickets were round trip, so we had proof we were leaving in a couple of weeks.