Last April, my initial visit to Taiwan from the US on an entry permit, I was not asked to show an onward or return ticket. I was only asked to write my departing flight number on my Embarkation Card that they give you while on the plane.
Last September I did the same thing. This time the customs officer at the airport wanted to see my actual ticket for an onward or return flight. I did not have one. Remaining cool and calm I said “Its an E-Ticket, I will receive it when I depart”. He looked at my Embarkation Card and at the flight number I wrote in, and waved me into the country.
Last month, when I arrived in May, the scenario for April happened again. They did NOT ask to see an actual ticket.
I just got back from Bangkok Friday, doing a visa run. I now have a 60 day visitor visa extendable. I forgot to write in my onward / return flight number on my embarkation card. AFTER he stamped my passport allowing entry and waved me in, he called me back to the counter before I could get too far. Apologized and said he forgot to ask my departing flight number. I have a return flight to the US for the end of October, which is 2 months past the deadline of my Visa. I gave him that flight number. He wrote it down and waved me in…no other questions asked.
So, what does all this mean?
1.) You do not need to show a physical ticket. This seems to be only done from your place of departure if US. They usually wont let you leave your country and get on the plane without showing the ticketing agent at leat a confirmed return or onward itinerary. If, in the odd chance you are asked to show an onward ticket at the customs counter, simply say its an E-Ticket.
2.) It is all the luck of the draw. Whether you will be asked depends on which customs officer you end up talking to. There is no set order, rhyme, or reason to almost anything here. So be prepared and have a flight number handy and a good smile. Dress decent too, yes it does make a difference.
** By the way, doing a “visa run” is not “getting around” a 30 day entry. You are simply doing it the legal and legitimate way. There is NO WAY to “get around” a 30 day entry unless you are deathly ill and hospitalized and cant make your flight. In which case they may even decide to pack up your hospital bed onto a cargo 747, strap you to the bulkhead, and send you on your merry little way home.