The past 7 + years of traveling around South Asia has been almost problem-free for me and my family. But with time, you need to realise that certain important documents also start to near their “expiry date” – for example your passport.
Well, there were atleast 2 very important learnings for me with my recent Hong Kong trip. Both are related to the passport factor.
- Ensure your picture on your passport resembles you, if there has been an error, make sure you correct it early. Do not wait for the passport to expire. My photo is slightly distorted on my passport and this became a slight problem for me when I entered Hong Kong recently. Hong Kong gives asylum to Indians every year, a specific number and we do not need to have/apply for a visa prior to entry. The immigration officer scrutinized my passport a zillion times in those 10 minutes and finally let me pass through after seeing my return tickets.
- Always have your return tickets, as hard or soft copy in hand when you exit the aircraft. You never know when you will be questioned.
- This is the most important one of all – check your passport for validity/expiry before you even think of planning a trip! Some countries need you to have atleast 6 months passport validity when you enter. My daughter was almost not allowed to board the flight from Hong Kong to KL because her passport was valid only for the next 4 months. Not a big deal you might think, but why go through all the trouble?
- So, check your passports and visas before you book anything. It will save you a lot of money and also a lot of stress and trouble.
- We are very thankful to Malaysian Immigration for having cleared our case quickly, it was evening when this incident happened, and we half-expected any response from Malaysia.
Hope you guys also note these small things but those that can matter at some point and time.