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You might be able to get away with the excuse of your dog eating your homework, but when it comes to your passport—you won’t be so lucky.
That’s what one newlywed couple discovered after they had already flown 16 hours to Bali. Daniel and Tia Farthing were traveling for their honeymoon from the UK to Bali with a layover in Singapore. The couple made it through Singapore seamlessly, but were denied entry into Bali because their dog chewed up the corner of Daniel’s passport.
UK border officials reportedly told Daniel that his passport would allow him to be admitted to the Indonesian vacation hotspot, but Indonesian border patrol said the passport was in unacceptable condition. Officials in Bali sent the couple back to Singapore where Daniel was detained for seven hours, given no communication with his wife and locked in a room with 30 other people.
Indonesia does not have passport damage regulations easily available online. For American travelers, US passport books specify that they aren’t to be altered or mutilated in any way. The US also sets the following guidelines for damaged passports:
“U.S. passports that are damaged or in poor condition must be replaced, as they are no longer valid for travel. For security reasons, damaged passports may be retained by the Passport Unit. Please be aware that your damaged U.S. passport is not proof of citizenship or identity.”
The UK says that a little passport “wear and tear” is fine and defines damage as any of the following:
- Details are indecipherable
- The laminate has lifted enough to allow the possibility of photo substitution
- Discolouration to the bio-data page
- Chemical or ink spillage on any page
- Missing or detached pages
- The chip or antenna shows through the end paper on the back cover for the new style e-passports
- The chip has been identified as damaged after investigation
The newlyweds told The Mirror they had spent £5,000 for their honeymoon.
“We got married last year and planned our honeymoon for our first anniversary,” the couple told The Mirror. “We’d booked an elephant safari, a villa and pool. It was going to be so special.”
Since they did not get to take their trip, Tia’s sister set up a GoFundMe page to help them cover their lost expenses. The fundraising page has raised more than $1,400 in just two weeks. Tia’s sister wrote on the page that the couple had spent the entire year saving for this trip.
“Bali is not a cheap holiday,” she wrote. “And the worst part is the insurance won’t pay out a single penny, so they have lost thousands of pounds.”
The couple’s 4-year-old black lab-collie mix, Milo, had actually chewed the corner of the passport four years ago, and Daniel never had any problems traveling with it until this trip.
If you’re prone to misplacing or mistreating your belongings, TPG recommends getting a passport wallet to help keep it in good condition.
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