Know about TIMATIC- your most reliable reference for visa requirements

International travel Is a complicated process. Passengers often need to have visa for their destination country- but there’re 100s of exceptions and variations to visa rules. Visa requirements are a function of several parameters such as
  1. Nationality of the passport holder
  2. Destination Country
  3. If the passenger holds any other visa (such as US or Schengen visa)
  4. Date of travel (in case new rules are applicable from a certain date)
  5. If the passenger meets certain guidelines- like should have return ticket, should not stay more than X days and so on
  6. Transit country
  7. Countries visited in recent past (there could be some vaccination needs)
  8. Purpose of visit
  9. And several other instructions and guidelines that vary from country to country, time to time.
Ever wondered how do airport check-in staff decide if your travel documents are good enough to be allowed into destination country? Airlines will be heavily penalized if they bring a person to a foreign country without valid documents. Obviously no staff can remember all possible combination of rules that applies to a traveler. They need a reliable source that they can refer to when in doubt. That tool is called TIMATIC

TIMATIC stands for Travel Information Manual Automatic

So where to refer for TIMATIC?
TIMATIC is maintained by IATA, the apex body for most airlines in the world. The official website is this- but this IATA website needs you to pay and subscribe. 

Most airlines flying international sectors would have subscribed to TIMATIC but would give access only to their staff. Only few airlines have TIMATIC Access in public domain.

You can refer to some of the public links available on airline websites(some airlines who have subscribed to TIMATIC have kept  public interface for anyone to access and cross check)

I find United Airline's website interface best 

Emirates has its version here

Few others are 

How you as a traveler can use TIMATIC during your trips?
1 Check for visa requirements
When you’re considering visiting a destination, you can visit TIMATIC to check your visa requirements- at times you may be exempted from visa if your passport is eligible for it or if you have visa of a 3rd country like USA. This will save you time, effort and money otherwise needed to be spent to get a visa.

2. Carry printouts for reference
It is possible that at times airline staff, immigration officials may not be aware that you don’t need visa to visit certain country. Carrying evidence from TIMATIC will make it lot easier for them to cross check and let you through. For example there’re dozens of small, lesser known countries in the Caribbean region or off north Africa or in Oceania region that give visa on arrival to Indians- many of us might not even have heard of these countries- even immigration officials may need some refresh to ensure that you’re allowed in visa free there.

3. Ensure compliance with fine print
While many websites tell you that Indian passport holders with US visa can get visa on arrival at Philippines, but there’ll be many fine print which won’t be clear on these websites and if ignored can land you in trouble. Some fine print are
  • That a US visa holder should have visited USA at least once on that visa (you can’t just get a US visa and head straight to Philippines)
  • Free visa on arrival facility may be available at select airports only- you may need proper visa for some land crossing or less popular airports
  • There could still be additional rules- like no of blank pages, validity of passport and US visa, no of days allowed and so on- non compliance may result in you being denied boarding or deported back home
4. Stay up to date
Visa and immigration rules constantly change- What was correct an year ago may not hold good today. So for each journey/planned trip, it is better to validate your documents are in order- particularly when visiting lesser popular or far away country. Cross checking on TIMATIC avoids last minute tension, trouble or confusion. At times your travel agent may give wrong advise or outdated information. It is in your interest to be 100% sure.

At times we read news that a certain country is now allowing visa on arrival to Indians-Don't rush to book your ticket right away. Unless this new decision reflects on TIMATIC, airline staff won’t let you board. So it is important to give some time for these rules to get reflected in systems like TIMATIC, before planning your travel.

If you trip is not straight forward-you're not just going to a country and returning- you may have a transit or stopover or you might be flying onwards to a different country or you have only one way ticket and so on- then there will be more questions and concerns-you should be fully prepared and ensure compliance with all applicable rules.

Be advised that having a go ahead on TIMATIC doesn't guarantee your entry into a country-it only states you're eligible to travel. Being allowed into a country is a discretion of immigration officials, who might want to verify your story, purpose of visit, financial ability and various other things before allowing you in.

Happy travels from Airlineblog.in

Similar: Understanding Transit Visa requirements

Timatic on Wikipedia

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