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Fiji Immigration Trouble

Fiji Immigration

Having traveled to over 50 countries, I’ve learned that it’s wise to check country entry requirements before hopping on a plane. One that I often forget, is that most countries require the visitor to have a confirmed outward plane ticket.

When I arrived at Fiji immigration, I was well prepared. I had even made a screenshot of the confirmation on my iPhone in case the immigration officer would ask. Besides, it’s Fiji! Known for it’s super friendly people, who would expect trouble here. Right?

The immigration officer did indeed ask for my outward ticket. I politely showed her the confirmation. My flight was booked for a week later, going to Vanuatu, another island group in the South Pacific. “Where are you going after that?” was the next question.

“Hong Kong,” I answered a little surprised. “Why does she care where I’m going next,” I wondered. As soon as I’m out of the country it shouldn’t matter where I go. “When are you going back home?” the immigration officer followed up. “I…don’t …know,” I stuttered as I was completely caught off guard by her question. I hadn’t thought about my return date yet.

Fiji Map

Fiji is an island group in the South Pacific

The officer left her cubicle and walked away. When she returned, she ordered me to follow her into a small room. A grumpy, middle aged looking man sat behind a desk. He raised his eyelid and checked me out for a few seconds, after which he yelled “When are you going home?” “I don’t know, I haven’t booked a ticket back to Holland yet,” I replied.

“Fijian law dictates that all visitors need a ticket home,” he replied. “What???” I replied in amazement, “I’ve been to around 50 countries and I’ve never heard of such a rule!” The officer wasn’t impressed. “That’s ok, you book a ticket or we put you on a plane back to your country!” It didn’t make any sense to me. He wanted me to book a ticket from Hong Kong to Holland.

I quickly considered my options. If I can get on the internet, I could book a refundable ticket and cancel it later. I got my laptop out and looked for a Wi-Fi network. Fortunately, the local provider accepted my Boingo account. I booked a ticket to Amsterdam and showed it to the immigration boss.

Flight Confirmation Fiji

My flight confirmation that supposedly didn’t exist 😀

As he looked over the confirmation, he sat back and looked at me for a while, seemingly thinking about another way to make my life a little harder. “Give me the flight number to Vanuatu”, he ordered. He then picked up the phone and started mumbling some words. After a few minutes, he turned to me again. “I just called the airline, you are not confirmed on the flight. You will have to buy a new ticket.”

I was speechless. I showed him the screenshot of my confirmation again, including e-ticket number. He just sat there and shook his head. I spotted the room for hidden cameras. “This must be some candid camera joke,” I thought. “It won’t be long until a a TV host will walk in followed by a camera crew. I’m probably the 10 millionth visitor or something. I’ll get to meet the King and I’ll win a two week stay at some paradise island resort.

A few minutes passed. No camera crew yet. “If you don’t book a ticket, we’ll have to detain you and deport you back to your country,” the officer brutally disturbed my dream.

“I have a bloody ticket!” I repeated, getting a little agitated by the situation. “I’ll call the airline, this is insane”, I yelled as I logged into Skype and asked for the number. “Give me the confirmation, I’ll call again,” the officer refused.

After a ten minute conversation in some Fijian language, he admitted that I did have a ticket. He stamped my passport, threw it back to me and with a big smile on his face he said: “Welcome to Fiji.”

Fiji Immigration Stamp

After a very stressful hour, I finally did get my stamp!

*Aftermath: I asked several tourists in Fiji and none had similar problems. I also looked up the entry requirements online. I have yet to find the law that dictates visitors to possess a ticket to their home country. All sources cite any outward ticket suffices. Why this particular immigration officer gave me so much trouble remains a mystery.

Comment Section

10 thoughts on “Fiji Immigration Trouble



By Jasper Ribbers on 29 October 2013

Glad you enjoyed reading it, I can’t say I enjoyed the actual experience so much 😀


By Andrea lyn daleon on 11 December 2013

I’m from Philippines I just want to ask if I need visa going to Fiji.? And what country I can booked? Thank you hope you answer thanks….



By Dennis on 13 March 2014

HI!

A little late i found you`r travel blog and it is interesting reading. What come`s to mind when i read this little “adventure” is, have you consider filing complaints or something to them doing this to you ? I mean, clearly he was just giving you a hard time for what ever reason he had and as i read this i get more and more pissed of this idiot so it wouldn`t be more then fair if you in some way gave it back to him. I know it dosn`t serve you any good doing this but some on this earth should be learnd to treat others with respect. I mean, you are clearly not a terrorist or a criminal in any way and you have done no one no harm. Anyway, have a nice life and i am so jealous on you for breaking up and doing this. When you finally settle down somewhere you should consider working as a life coach or similair.


By Jasper Ribbers on 13 March 2014

Hey Dennis thanks for commenting. I didn’t file a complaint, honestly I just wanted to get out of the airport and enjoy the beach and the ocean :).


By Joy on 28 April 2014

Entertaining read Jasper, even though it wasn’t a pleasant experience for you lol! I’m sure your time in Fiji made up for it though! 🙂


By Jasper Ribbers on 29 April 2014

Hi Joy, absolutely it was an amazing trip and I didn’t let this experience affect my mood 🙂


By Emmanuel on 16 August 2016

hell. i went to fiji but was sent back \. i had my return ticket and all. but I was claimed not to be a genuine tourist cause i refused to show them my bank statement. do you think i can go back to Fiji if I wil be willing to show them a bank statement?


By Jasper on 22 December 2016

That’s crazy, I’ve never heard of that. I guess if you show them that you have some money it should be ok.

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