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Bali Immigration Is Being Ultra-Strict On Passport Checks For Tourists

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Tourists who are preparing to travel to Bali this peak season are being urged to take time to thoroughly check the condition of their passports before heading to the airport.

The warning comes after yet another Bali-bound traveler was turned away by immigration officials over almost imperceptible damage to her passport. 

British Passport On Luggage

British traveler Emma, known by her TikTok handle @EmmaFitUK_ has taken to social media to talk about her ordeal at Sydney Airport.

Due to travel to Bali for a vacation, seasoned traveler Emma headed to Sydney Airport to board her flight to Denpasar.

To her dismay, she was turned away from her flight by immigration officials in Sydney as they discovered a small watermark on her passport ID page. 

In her video, she said, “I’ve just been rejected on my flight to Bali, and I’m currently stranded in the middle of Sydney airport, no idea what to do, or where to go.” 

@emmafituk_ still can’t believe this happened. RIDICULOUS😤 but would rather be stuck in Sydney than locked up in a Balinese cell so whatever✋🏼 PEOPLE: If you’re heading to Bali just make sure your passport is in PRISTINE CONDITION or i quote “you will get put into a cell, have your possessions taken off you and detained until they decide to send you back” 🙂 #bali #canweskiptothegoodpart #deniedboarding #holidayfail #holidayfails #vacationgonewrong #airportlife #airportfail #travelfails #fyp #balitrip #detained #foryoupage #balitravel #sydneyaustralia #traveltok ♬ original sound – Erich

She described how the immigration official at Sydney Airport had outlined the potential consequences at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport had they allowed her to fly.

The immigration official told Emma that security officers in Bali may have detained her for traveling on a damaged passport, secured her in an immigration cell, and potentially deported her back to the UK.

Emma told her followers, “apparently, Bali airport is really, really strict, and they are known for putting people into a cell if they don’t like your passport. Obviously, I’m really upset. I’m literally gutted. I’ve just been sitting here crying for the last 10 or 15 minutes.”

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@emmafituk_ just telling myself everything happens for a reason 🙃 trying not to cry right now but whatever i’d rather be stranded in Sydney than detained in a Balinese cell !! #bali #deniedboarding #airportlife #airportfails #travelfails #travel #traveltok #traveltiktok #fyp #storytime #passportdamage #detained #flyingtobali #balitravel #balitrip ♬ original sound – emmafituk_

She warned her followers and fellow holidaymakers heading to Bali to “triple-check” the condition of their passports long before heading to the airport. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • There are no tears or rips, no matter how small, anywhere on the passport.
  • There are no water marks, ink stains or chemical spillages on any pages of the passports
  • All pages of the passport at present
  • There is no damage, tampering, discoloration or marks on the bio-data/ID page of the passport 
  • All details on the passport at decipherable. 

Immigration officials anywhere in the world reserve the right to judge a passport fit for travel, and once the decision has been made, it is highly unlikely that there will be changing of that decision.

Travelers deemed to be traveling or attempting to travel with a damaged or tampered passport face the legal repercussion of the country that they are in. 

Emma’s warning on social media comes just days after an Australian traveler was deported from Bali a matter of hours after arriving.

Matt Vandenberg was traveling to Bali from Sydney when he was stopped by immigration officials at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport.

The official at the immigration counter found a 1cm tear in the crease of Vandenberg’s passport that he had missed and had not been flagged during his departure from Australia. 


Vandenberg also took to social media to warn fellow travelers to thoroughly check the condition of their passports before traveling abroad.

Vandenberg was detained by immigration officials in Bali before being deported back to Australia at his own cost, missing out on the holiday of a lifetime. 


Despite the ordeal, Vandenberg remained in good spirits and even thanked the immigration officials for their kindness while he was under their watchful eye in the airport.

Vandenberg described the whole saga as “grim and exhausting” and urged travelers heading to Bali to take immigration matters seriously. He shared that immigration officers in Indonesia “do not mess around”. 


As Bali heads into the peak holiday season, travelers should take time to check the condition of their passports before they travel.

Since it is not only the peak vacation season in Bali but across the world, travelers should also check other details, like the expiration date.

Embassies and consulates around the world are extra busy at this time of year, and passport applications can take up to 6-weeks to be processed in many countries, although emergency and fast-track applications are also often available. 

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Saturday 1st of July 2023

Ah yes, a microscopic tear or stain on the passport would be a tarnishing offense to the immaculate island of Bali that is glowing in perfection, every millimeter groomed and shining.

Question. Did they reject her passport before or after non-refundable visa payment?


Tuesday 4th of July 2023

@Yuoku, PS. Doesn't matter where or what country. You pay the visa application fee. If for any reason it's denied you don't get a refund.


Tuesday 4th of July 2023

@Yuoku, Does it matter? Payment of the VOA fee is not the granting of a visa. That depends on the checks at Imigrasi. She failed.


Friday 30th of June 2023

One or two incidents and all the same entitled arrogant people on here come out and protest regarding this issue. You are an adult then take care of your personal identity and from identity theft. A passport issued by a respective government, you are responsible to handle it with care. It does not matter whether a passport is 10 years old or 5 years old. Grow up people.

In general, if a passport's appearance has been fundamentally affected, it contains a damaged chip, or has incurred other superficial wear and tear, it will not be accepted as a travel document. Therefore, significant passport damages includes: water damage. Faded pages.


Thursday 29th of June 2023

This is a fairly insanely policy in Indonesia, passports are valid for 10 years and will not be pristine after frequent use for 9 years.

Most other countries have very different procedures in case passport has slight damage, they may take it to an inspector that will verify that

- the passport is authentic - the information has not been altered, including no pages removed - the passport matches the person that presents it

You cannot expect this from a tiny land border crossing, but from a big airport like DPS or CKG you certainly should.

Als note that the Australian services had no issue with her UK passport at all, if it was invalid or such she would have been arrested by Australian immigration at that point.


Saturday 1st of July 2023

@Ben, It's their rule, what happens elsewhere is immaterial. Complaining on this or other sites means f*ck all and won't change a thing.


Friday 30th of June 2023

@Ben, In general, if a passport's appearance has been fundamentally affected, it contains a damaged chip, or has incurred other superficial wear and tear, it will not be accepted as a travel document. Therefore, significant passport damages includes: water damage. Faded pages.

Have you been to London recently????? You enter the UK and exit the UK through the auto gate for certain allowable passports. Therefore no UK control border services have checked her passport. But apparently Australian services caught her while trying to leave with one official paid attention to her passport.

Why would you think their policy is insane with controlling their points of entry in CGK or DPS? It is a sovereign nation doing it's best to protect and serve.

J West

Thursday 29th of June 2023

Any stain or scratch can throw off the watermark and bar scan security features and its the simplest way for scammers to use a stolen or faked passport to travel. Terrorists know all the tricks, so don’t blame the immigration security people. Don’t be careless with our safety blondie.


Thursday 29th of June 2023

Most damage is done by officials at entry due to mishandling the passports.


Sunday 2nd of July 2023

Arrived bali 28th june 4th time since august tear and staple in passport from thai passport control 2015 never had an issue


Saturday 1st of July 2023

@Randy, Do you hate every human on earth? Is that what driving a taxi does to you? You couldn't lash out at customers so now you drink and yell at all the commenters here on Bali Sun.


Friday 30th of June 2023

@Firechef, that's utter bullsheet. Have you left and came back to Bali recently? You get finger printed, photo taken and passport verification for authenticity. Would you want a terrorist to enter on false pretenses?? Hell no...