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Passport and Visa Questions? The IATA Wants to Help

February 19, 2013 at 2:59 PM | by | Comments (2)

Is a visa required for my itinerary? Do I pay at the airport or submit in advance? Is my passport valid long enough to travel to [insert country]?

All of these are pretty standard questions for a traveler setting out to visit a new country, and yet the answers aren't always straightforward. That is, unless you're looking for those answers on the IATA's document requirements form. The process is simple: answer some specific drop-down questions regarding your passport, airlines and destination and the International Air Transport Association will use this to determine if you fit the criteria to cross a border.

We recently used it to check if we were a-okay to visit Turkey with a passport about to expire. Guess what? The IATA forms said we'd be good and, after paying the $20 tourist visa fee at Istanbul-Atatürk Airport, they proved correct.

Obviously if your travels involve complicated crossings and a few questionable destinations, then cross-referencing the IATA info with the State Department's official travel pages is recommended, but all in all, it's a site worth bookmarking.

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Same database airlines use

First, you might want to actually add a link to the IATA page.

That being said, this taps into the same database that virtually every airline in the world uses to verify that any necessary travel documents are in order (referred to as Timatic)

Therefore, if your query shows that you need a visa (or something else) to travel somewhere, your airline is going to want one, even if you were verbally told by the applicable consulate that you don't need one. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you get something in writing from the consulate and don't just rely on verbal confirmation.

The reverse is also true; if this says you don't need a visa when most people would, and the airline balks at check-in, just mention the exact language that is used in the IATA database and tell them to look it up themselves in Timatic.


@BlueFreak

Thank You for the valuable information! Link added--my fault, had a code slippage.

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