Model stranded in Bali because of ‘water mark’ on passport
Tegan Martin, 26, shared a photo of her passport on Instagram with the words: “Wasn’t allowed on my flight due to this water mark in the corner of my passport. Has this happened to anyone else?”
The “devastated” model was due to appear at a Friday night gala at Sydney’s Pyrmont Point to raise money for suicide prevention and breast cancer support.
Instead, she will have to remain in Bali “for a little bit longer than expected”, she said in a video shared on her Instagram Stories.
Life could be worse, of course. Martin has been enjoying a luxury health retreat at Bliss Sanctuary for Women in Ubud, swapping cocktails for massages, “lemon waters and fresh coconuts”.
Many other tourists have come across the same problem when traveling to the Indonesian island.
Lexi Karakostas, 16, had her dream holiday ruined before it even began after immigration officials at Denpasar airport spotted slight damage to the spine of the document — issued in 2017 — on her arrival.
The teenager, from Melbourne, was forced to spend 11 hours at the airport in January before she was told she would have to get straight on a flight home.
Her mother Susan Karakostas told news.com.au she understood and respected the laws in Indonesia, but hopes her daughter’s experience will stop others from making a similar mistake.
“I didn’t even know her passport was damaged,” Karakostas told news.com.au.
“We had been in Europe and it seemed fine. But we respect their laws and regulations, and we are in no way upset with the government, but we want to warn others to be careful of damaged documents (when traveling).”
A UK couple who saved more than $7000 for their honeymoon to Bali were turned away at the border in October because their dog had chewed the edge of the groom’s passport.
Daniel and Tia Farthing, from Suffolk, said that UK Border Force staff told them the passport would not be an issue, provided all the necessary details were in it. But Indonesian officials didn’t agree.
When the “traumatized” pair landed at London’s Heathrow Airport, they said a flight attendant who had been told of their ordeal looked at the passport and asked: “Is that what all the fuss was about?”
A man with a nine-year-old passport described as “slightly damaged” was stopped from boarding a Batik Air flight from Perth on Christmas Day.
Indonesian authorities now appear to be enforcing a $5,000 fine on airlines if they bring passengers into the country with damaged passports. Passengers are also refused entry.
Unfortunately, it’s not clear what level of damage is acceptable.
What qualifies as an acceptable passport?
According to the US Department of State, damage that might require a traveler to replace their US passport includes water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing visa pages, or a hole punch.
The department says “normal wear and tear” is expected and likely does not count as damage. Normal “wear and tear” could include things like the bending of a passport after being carried in a back pocket.
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