A small amount of water damage caused a holidaymaker to stop boarding a plane to Bali from Sydney airport.
Personal fitness coach Emma Doherty departed Sydney airport on June 21, excited for her 10-day solo trip to Bali.
But the eager traveler was not allowed to board her flight.
She says border control said the water damage to her passport made it look “dodgy.”
Moments after she was refused to board her flight, Ms Doherty said security explained to her that Balinese officials would “put her in a cell” over her damaged passport.
Personal fitness coach Emma Doherty (pictured) took off for Sydney airport excited for her 10-day solo trip to Bali when she wasn’t allowed to board her flight due to a small area of water damage to her passport
“So I’ve just been rejected on my flight to Bali and I’m currently stranded in the middle of Sydney airport,” Ms Doherty said in a video posted to social media.
“No idea what to do or where to go and I was literally told if they allowed me in Bali the army and security at the airport would have put me in a cell.
“Actually, there was a tiny bit of water damage on the bottom of my passport.”
Ms Doherty said she had never brought the damage to her attention before.
“I didn’t even notice,” Mrs. Doherty said. “I travel all the time and it has never been said to me before.
“Apparently Bali’s airports are really strict and are known for putting people in a cell if they don’t like your passport.”
The devastated traveler said she sat on the floor crying for 15 minutes and warned others on their way to Bali to “triple check” their passports.
“Obviously I’m really upset, like I’ve literally been robbed. I’ve been sitting here crying for the last 15 minutes,” Ms Doherty said.
“I tell myself that everything happens for a reason and I wasn’t supposed to get on that flight today.
“If you guys go to Bali make sure you triple check your passport to see if there is no damage, no stains, no water or anything on your passport because they won’t let you in and if they do , you end up in a Bali cell.’
Doherty claimed her passport had the least amount of water damage, but was told Bali officials would detain her if she entered the tropical island with her passport
The avid traveller, who moved from the UK to Australia, warned others to ‘triple check’ their passports before heading to Bali
Social media users admitted that they had similar experiences while traveling from Australia to Bali.
“My partner’s passport page was a bit torn and they wouldn’t let him board the flight to Bali either,” one person commented.
‘I’ve had the same thing. Landed in Bali, had to wait in a cell until I could get a flight,” a second person added.
This happened to me a few years ago! Exactly the same with the water damage!!! I had to get a brand new passport within 24 hours,” another person wrote.
Another person who lives in Bali confirmed that travelers with damaged passports are being detained when they land on the tropical island.
“When you come to Bali… you have to make sure your passport is literally in mint condition. It’s true – you are being held,” they wrote.
The Australian Passport Office website notes that normal wear and tear on a passenger’s passport should not prevent them from travelling.
Severe damage, including missing pages, faded ink, markings, and tears or cuts in pages – with particular reference to the photo page – can cause border guards to deter a person from travelling.
“Contact with water or other liquids can cause serious damage,” the Passport Office advises.
“You must not tear or remove any pages from your passport. It is critical that all details and photographs on the personal information pages are legible and clear and that there is no evidence of alteration or tampering with any aspect of the booklet.”
Bali introduced strict passport rules in 2019, allowing authorities to detain tourists and fine airlines for letting passengers travel with damaged passports (stock image, woman rows traditional boat towards Ulun Danu Bratan Temple, Bali)
Bali has some of the strictest passport regulations when it comes to travel documents with tears or water damage.
The laws were introduced in 2019, allowing Indonesian authorities to detain travelers and fine airlines more than $4,700 for allowing the passenger to travel with a damaged passport.
It comes after a Western Australian lawyer was detained in Bali early this year for having a small tear in his passport.
A tiny detail on a prominent Western Australian lawyer’s passport led to his detention immediately upon arrival on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali.
John Hammond flew into Denpasar airport on Feb. 5 and was going through the immigration process when he was “chased away” by officials who believed his passport was fake.
“I was driven to the bowels of Denpasar airport when I was told my passport might be counterfeit,” Hammond told radio station 6PR.
“It had a tiny tear the size of a thumbnail and that was, I believe, the reason why I was held at the back of the airport.
“I had to read a statement that I acknowledge that my passport was of poor quality and/or a counterfeit.”
Mr Hammond was eventually released after being asked to sign a statement claiming he would never return to Bali with a damaged passport.
Passport damage and the law
Aussie travelers should check that their passport (pictured) is in good condition
Normal wear and tear on your passport should not be a problem. More serious damage may prevent you from travelling.
If you are unsure about the state of your passport, please call the Australian Passport Office on 131 232 or contact your nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate abroad.
It’s important that:
- there are no tears or cuts in the passport pages, especially the photo page
- everything on the photo page is legible and clear
- there are no marks on your photo or in the machine-readable zone on the photo page
- no pages have been deleted
- there is no change or tampering
They may need to see your passport to assess it.
Source: Australian government