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February 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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You’d Better Have Blank Pages in that Passport

from the February, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Perhaps the most important item you carry with you on your international dive trip is your passport. Without it, you're going nowhere. But, even if you're carrying a valid American passport, you may still not be admitted to your destination if it expires in six months or doesn't have enough blank pages. Let us share a case we reported in 2011:

"It's a good idea to read up on immigration and customs laws for each country you're visiting. Before traveling to Indonesia's Raja Ampat to go diving, Margaret Howerton (Vacaville, CA) had made sure she had at least two blank pages in her passport, a rule facing travelers. 'But when I arrived at the Manado airport, I was ushered into a back office where I was told I didn't have a blank 'visa' page in my passport. Neither of the two last empty pages were labeled 'visa' at the top. (When I returned home, I checked the website for Indonesia's passport requirements, and sure enough, blank 'visa' pages are required.) The immigration officials didn't permit me to call the U.S. Embassy, use their telephone or their computer. I was told I would need to return to Singapore or fly to Jakarta (to get my passport amended by U.S. officials). Finally, another official told me I could pay $200 and be processed through. After agreeing to a discounted bribe of $100, I was promptly on my way." She was lucky....

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