Too often, we find ourselves lost when we have to travel to a new destination country or make plans for a holiday. We are generally worried over our entry requirements, “Do I need a visa prior my arrival?” or “Can I get a visa on-arrival?” are immediate questions that pop into our heads.
Some of us contact local travel agents to find answers, others do their own research on Google, some even contact the Foreign Ministry of their own country. This is not something that we should panic about, in fact, the answers are actually available on the internet, we just have to know where we have to look for it. You probably might think the Passport Index is the best source of information to look for your answers – however, there are much more up-to-date and accurate sources than the Passport Index. Besides, why search for entry requirements on a website that ranks and promotes the strength of passports based on the ability of the holder been able to visit the most number of countries without a visa, or by getting one upon arrival.
Have you heard of the TIMATIC?
It stands for Travel Information Manual Automatic, it is an archive of records that contain cross border passenger documentation requirements for airline ticketing and check-in staff to ensure its passengers have sufficient travel documents for international travel. This is vital for airline companies due to the hefty fines imposed by the immigration authorities every time a passenger is carried who does not have travel documentation in order to travel.
Timatic consists the following:
• Passport regulations and updates
• Visa regulations and updates
• Health regulations and updates
• Taxes to be collected from the passenger at the departure or arrival airport
• Customs regulations, procedures and information
• Currency regulations and updates
• Updates on immigration rules
The Timatic database is managed by a team of immigration experts with world-wide access to over 1,000 sources and is updated on an average, 53 times per day. Access to the Timatic database is usually a paid service, however United Airlines and KLM generously offer the valuable service completely free for everyone.
To check passport, visa and health requirements for countries, complete the below form on United Airlines’ website. The corresponding data reflected are provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and are updated regularly.
You can also retrieve similar information by filling the below form at KLM’s TravelDoc website.
In a matter of few seconds, you will get the answers in English. However, being a system intended for industry professionals, you may not find the answer easy to understand. Should you have any doubts, always contact the airline office with which you intend to fly, or your local travel agent or consulate of the country you intend to visit.
Go ahead and try it yourself, you can completely rely on the up-to-date data retrieved from Timatic. Should you refer to timatic when planning travels to a new country, you will not have to expect surprises from your travel agent and check-in counters at the airport during departure.