Travel documentsTraveling Internationally? Make sure that your travel documents are in order.
Passport or national identity card
International traveler must carry a valid passport. Get your passport in time. If you have one check the expiry date and condition, and if necessary, get it renewed well in time before your departure.
Check with the consulate or embassy for the country you are flying to or the website for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs whether you require a passport or national identity card for your trip and how long it should be valid for.
A visa is required for some destinations. Some countries require a transit visa for passengers transiting their country, even if they do not want to go out of the airport. Also be aware of airport changes, since you will have to leave the transfer zone and hence, need a visa.
If you need a visa depends not only on the destination and the length of your stay, but also your nationality. This is exactly the reason why SIAMA cannot advise you on this; we have members from all over the world travelling to all corners of the globe.
In most cases, you are required to purchase a visa beforehand. So make sure to check this well ahead of your trip by contacting the consulate or embassy for the country to be visited. Without the correct visa the airline won’t allow you to board the flight, and your ticket will become worthless, so it
is very important to have the correct documents.
If You Need a Visa, Apply Early
Visas are best obtained far in advance, and depending on the country, the process can be complicated.
We have a preferred partnership with CIBT visas who can help you with this task.
Use their website to find out if you need a visa, and what the requirements are for your passport.
Next you can order the visa by yourself through the embassy or consulate of your destination country
If CIBT has a local office in your country you can request them to assist in the procedure to get your visa as fast as possible.
Even if your country is not in the list you can use the CIBT website to help with your visa needs. CIBT is maintaining a proprietary database that has the most up-to-date travel visa requirements for over 200 countries.
Tickets and boarding passes
Technically speaking, all you need to check in and receive your boarding pass is your name and a valid ID (passport in international flights). Online check in is also convenient and you can print and take your boarding pass to the airport for your first flight.
Our advice, even in this era of ticketless travel, is to always carry a print-out of all your flights.
There are even airports were you are not allowed entry without showing evidence of a ticket. Depending on where you go, you may be required to show proof of your return flights and dates. There are even airports were you are not allowed to enter the building without showing evidence of a ticket.
You can have evidence of a flight booking on a smartphone, but this won’t be helpful if your battery dies. It’s better to just keep your tickets on-hand and together, in a safe place, to show whenever this is requested.
It is also convenient if you can’t find a place to print your return tickets—print them and make copies at home before you depart.
Before flying to or transit through the USA, you will need to check if you need an Electronic Travel Authorization (‘ESTA’), except if you have a US visa (or are a US citizen, of course).
An ESTA allows you to stay in the US under the Visa Waiver program for up to 90 days and allows travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. An ESTA is valid for two years, (or less if your passport expires in that time). For more information and authorization requests please visit the ESTA website.
Before flying to or transit through Canada you will need to check if you need an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travelers with a valid visa (and Canadian citizens of course) .
For more information and authorization requests please visit the ETA website.
IMPORTANT: Information for traveling to/via South Africa:
Important new requirements for minors up to 18 years travelling to, from or transferring through South Africa. If you’re travelling to South Africa or transiting through a South African airport with a child you must be able to produce the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child’s details and both parents’ details. The abridged (or short) birth certificate which only lists the child’s details won’t be accepted. We urge everyone to read the new rules regarding travel to South Africa with minor children, here (information from the Dept. of Home Affairs, South Africa).
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise that passengers should have two blank pages in their passport on arrival. If passengers do not have blank pages they may be refused entry and will be returned to the country of departure on the next flight. Besides this, you also must check with the embassy, if you need to arrange a visa beforehand (and/or if your passport validity is in order for your visit).