Water damage to a passport and a minor page tear can lead to entry restrictions to a country

By TravelWiseJan 13, 2024 19:05 PMNews
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Water damage to a passport and a minor page tear can lead to entry restrictions to a country
Before traveling, make sure there are no tears, missing pages, or water damage. Source: Freepik

As passports age, they are likely to suffer damage from being taken out of your bag and handled by airport staff. However, while some minor marks and scuffs are tolerated, there are two vacation destinations that have such strict rules that you may be denied entry.

Many vacationers go to Bali, known for its amazing beaches. However, this country also has some of the strictest passport damage laws in the world: airlines fine thousands of pounds for passengers who enter the country with a damaged passport," reports The Sun.

Damage to passports is taken so seriously that tourists may be denied departure, and immigration authorities may refuse entry to the country. This could result from even the slightest wear and tear on travel documents, such as a small tear or unofficial marks.

Water damage to a passport and a minor page tear can lead to entry restrictions to a country
In Bali, there are some of the strictest laws regarding passport damage in the world. Source: Freepik

Earlier this year, Australian traveler Matt Vandenberg was denied entry to Indonesia due to a small tear in one of the pages of his passport. The tear, measuring about one centimeter, was noticed by an immigration officer upon his arrival in Indonesia, leading to the confiscation of Vandenberg's passport and his expulsion from the country.

Matt Vandenberg wrote: "I guess this is a good warning for people traveling to Indonesia - they are not kidding."

TikToker Emma was removed from a flight to Bali after being told that the water damage on her passport was unacceptable. In February, traveler John Hammond was pulled aside at immigration control because of a "tear the size of a thumbnail" and was detained."

Vietnam also has a zero-tolerance policy for damaged passports.

The UK Foreign Office states: "If you are visiting Vietnam, your passport must be free from any damage. British nationals have been refused entry and exit due to damaged passports."

The British Mission in Vietnam confirmed this on its Facebook page: "Even minor damage to your passport could mean you will be refused entry."

Although Bali and Vietnam have some of the strictest restrictions on passport damage, most countries will not let you in if it is seriously damaged.

The United States, for example, has strict rules about passport damage that include any signs of water damage, tears, missing visa pages, or holes.

Normal "wear and tear" - including bending of the passport after carrying it in your back pocket or unfolding of the visa pages after repeated opening and closing - is expected and is not considered "damage."

How to protect your passport from damage?

Ilya Buravstov of Generation Visa Service told CNTraveler that things like exposure to sunlight can damage the chip, and some people even try to remove stamps and visas.

"I've seen people who travel a lot who think they can make room in their passport, that they can peel off the full-page visas that you get from China or Egypt, or remove the stamps from the page to make room for more," says Buravstov. - "As soon as you do that, you will mutilate your own passport, which is damage, and they will notice it because there will be a mark.

According to Buravstov, the most common damage is water-related, often due to passports being left in the rain or spilled on.

Adding souvenir stamps, which some countries offer as a novelty, can also lead to trouble and even a travel ban.

What should you do if your passport is damaged?

To avoid problems, it is important to protect your passport from damage. Keep it in a safe, dry, and protective case or wallet.

Remember that something that seems harmless, such as leaving your passport in your back pocket, can cause it to be damaged, and keep it away from pet dogs as they are known to chew on passports.

If your passport is damaged, it cannot be repaired. The only solution is to replace it.

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