Australian girl sent home from Bali for small tear in passport

A teenage girl was blocked to enter Bali and had to spend 11 hours at an airport before being sent home because of a small tear in her passport.

Lexi Karakostas, 16, flew Thursday with a friend to the Indonesian island from Melbourne but came no further than the immigration desk.

The schoolgirl was one of the dozens of Australians who had been rejected at Denpasar airport in recent months with only minor damage to their documents.

Lexi Karakostas, 16, (pictured with her friend at Melbourne airport before the flight) was blocked to enter Bali and had to spend 11 hours at Denpasar Airport

Lexi Karakostas, 16, (pictured with her friend at Melbourne airport before the flight) was blocked to enter Bali and had to spend 11 hours at Denpasar Airport

A severe repression by the Southeast Asian country also imposed a fine on airlines US $ 5,000 ($ 7,131) for each passenger who was refused entry under the strict rule.

Lexi said that a customs officer glanced at her two-year-old passport, which had torn a small piece along the spine next to the main page and pushed her aside.

& # 39; The woman there said & # 39; look at the passport & # 39; to a man next to her and he took me to the immigration office, & # 39; she told Daily Mail Australia.

There she was asked if the passport on the plane was damaged, but she said that it happened in Europe where she traveled without problem last year.

After some discussion the situation seemed solved, at least for that trip.

"He said they would let me in, but mark my passport so that I could not come back with it, & # 39; said Lexi.

& # 39; But then the first lady of the office hit him and they talked in Indonesian. Then he let me follow him in the office. & # 39;

She was refused admission because her two-year-old passport had a small piece along the spine next to the main page

She was refused admission because her two-year-old passport had a small piece along the spine next to the main page

She was refused admission because her two-year-old passport had a small piece along the spine next to the main page

Inside she was in front of an immigration officer who told her that she was not allowed to go to Indonesia because her passport was damaged and instead sent home.

Lexi said she immediately burst into tears when she was alone and that her boyfriend and the father of the friend they intended to stay should not come to see her.

& # 39; I was hysterical, I did not know what to do, & # 39; she said.

Employees from the airport collected her luggage and searched her on Friday at 7.30 am in a plane back to Melbourne – 11 hours after her arrival at 8.30 pm.

Lexi said she should try to sleep on a chair or on the floor of the airport while it was closed at night, while the customs officers watched over her.

& # 39; It was scary, I was alone in a country where I had never been and my family or friend did not. It was traumatizing, "she said.

& # 39; I do not understand the rule or what it is for. They never explained it. & # 39;

Her passport was not returned to her before being escorted to her seat on the Jetstar flight in the morning.

Lexi said she immediately burst into tears when she was alone and that her friend and the father of the friend they planned to stay should not come to see her

Lexi said she immediately burst into tears when she was alone and that her friend and the father of the friend they planned to stay should not come to see her

Lexi said she immediately burst into tears when she was alone and that her friend and the father of the friend they planned to stay should not come to see her

Lexi's mother Susan Karakostas said she was startled when her daughter called her hysterical and in the evening she let out her eyes.

Ms. Karakostas said she understood that Indonesia was following its laws and procedures, but that unlucky Lexi flew all the way there before a problem was noticed.

& # 39; As tourists we respect their laws and regulations and respect the decision they have taken & # 39 ;, she said.

However, we are angry with Qantas because they were aware of the problem and that they should have said something in Melbourne.

& # 39; I called the embassy and they said that many Australians happened, because Indonesia seems to be cracking, especially in the past month. & # 39;

Ms. Karakostas said officials said that Denpasar's immigration sent people home with minimal damage to their passports.

Advice from Australian Passport Office

Travelers are advised to ensure that their passports are intact and in good condition & # 39; are not a problem with normal wear and tear.

& # 39; Contact with water or other liquids can cause serious damage & # 39 ;, advises it.

& # 39; You may not tear or remove pages from your passport.

It is crucial that all details and the photos on the pages with personal data are readable and clear and that there are no indications for changes or tampering with any aspect of the booklet. & # 39;

Although this advice applies to almost all other countries, the new policy of Indonesia seems stricter.

Travelers can contact the Australian Passport Information Service at 131 232 or visit a passport office or consulate to check their documents.

We want to warn other travelers who may not know this that they need to check their passport before they leave, & # 39; she said.

Fortunately, Lexi travel insurance has reimbursed the cost of its $ 1,100 return flight to Bali because any voyage canceled is covered due to damaged travel documents. & # 39;

The harsh action of Indonesia against a slight passport damage has led to failed plans for numerous tourists trying to visit the popular holiday destination.

The British couple Daniel and Tia Farthing save more than $ 7,000 for their dream wedding to be denied only because their dog chewed the groom's passport.

They said the British border guard told them that the document would be okay because his data was intact, but Indonesian officials did not agree and sent them home.

Another passenger said that he had landed on a Batik Air flight on Christmas Day because of his nine-year-old passport.

He said that the airline's personnel damaged an image of the & # 39; light. sent a document to their office in Bali and ruled that it is risky & # 39; was to let him get in.

Batik Air told him that they had stopped 20 passengers in just one month to fly to Bali over damaged passports.

Other travelers on social media described that they are denied access to small water damage, folding and small scratches in their passports.

Others, however, continued with much worse damage, pointing to the policy that was interpreted differently by individual officers.

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