When I got to the desk at the airport to check my bag for a flight to Australia last year I had an unexpected surprise: I needed a visa, and I didn’t have one.
Lucky for me Australian visas aren’t difficult to get, and after handing over more cash than I would like, my bag was checked and I was on my way to my gate within a few minutes.
To be fair, the Australian visa shouldn’t have been a surprise to me (that was definitely my oversight.) But thanks to heightened airport security and child-trafficking concerns more countries are requiring additional documents in order to enter them, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Despite me not anticipating the visa requirement for Australia, needing a visa is rather common. When a country doesn’t require a visa, then most people would presume that all they would need is a passport for entry. That’s not always the case.
Many countries have started to require birth certificates, immunisation records, and even documentation for the prescription drugs you have in your bag — especially if you’re travelling with kids.
In 2021 visitors to the European Union with U.S. passports will also need to request a 'travel authorisation' to visit the country.
The Journal told the story of a family that travelled to South Africa last summer. They were able to fly from the U.S. to Dubai, but when they got to Dubai they weren’t allowed to continue their journey because they didn’t have their kids birth certificates.
While their tale is certainly a unique one at the stage, it’s also a good cautionary one for everyone. If you’re travelling somewhere new, it’s always a good idea to do a deep dive on what you might need while you’re there. You can find that information on the International Air Transport Association’s website, as well as with the embassy for the country you plan on travelling to.
It’s also a solid idea to have copies of things like immunisation records and the like stored in the cloud so you can access them on the fly while you’re travelling. Even if you don’t need them for entry, you never know when a medical issue will pop up and you’ll need to access that info.