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Travelers Must Check This Crucial Thing On Their Passports Before Heading To Bali

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Tourists planning their trip to Bali are being urged to check the condition of their passports after one traveler received a huge fine, a long day out at Immigration, and ultimately deportation.

One Australian traveler has spoken to the media about his ordeal at Bali Immigration after officials found an easy-to-miss issue with his passport. 

Australian Passport on Bag.jpg

Traveler Matt Vandenberg from Sydney has departed for his trip to Bali without a hitch. He boarded one of Jetstar’s daily flights to I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, and his passport had not been flagged at any stage of the departure process. 

Vandenberg was traveling to Bali to attend his friend’s wedding when the most unexpected turn of events changed his plans completely.

As soon as he arrived at Bali Airport, he quickly learned that his trip of a lifetime was not to be. 

@faizalmaulana_22 Salah satu tempat terindah saat landing 😍🛬 #Bali ♬ original sound – Ian Asher

An immigration official who was assessing his passport on arrival found a 1cm tear in this passport. It is illegal to travel with a passport that is damaged or appears to be tampered with.

Although the 1cm tear is significant, it was hard to see without a thorough assessment of the passport as conducted by the immigration official. 

Vandenberg took to Twitter to share his experience with fellow travelers.

He wrote, “So I arrived at DPS, paid my visa, presented my passport, and get brought over to the immigration office who alerted me I have a 1cm tear on my passport page.”

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His reaction was surprisingly measured and grounded for someone who was about to be in serious trouble with Indonesian Immigration.

Vandenberg continued, “To be fair, he is correct. I had no idea until he bent it all the way back, and it stood out. You couldn’t see it any other way.”

Vandenberg was then escorted to an investigation room at I Gusti Ngurah Rai Immigration within the airport.

He was informed that he would not be allowed into Indonesia, and as such, his passport had to be confiscated, as a legal requirement, until he boarded a flight home to Australia

Speaking to reporters, Vandenberg said, “I’m shattered at the possibility that I’m going to miss my mate’s wedding.”

He shared that although he did not disagree with the assessment that his passport was damaged, the fact that immigration officers in Sydney didn’t pick it up contributed to the “grim and exhausting” experience he experienced when he touched down in Denpasar. 

Despite the rigmarole of the who saga, Vandenberg only spoke highly of the immigration officers in Bali and wants to use his experience as a warning to fellow travelers to take a thorough look at every centimeter of their passport before heading to Bali.

He added that immigration officials in Bali “do not mess around.”


He told reorders, “I spent 12 hours in the air, including a red-eye flight (a flight that departs at night and arrives the next morning) and 17 hours in the airport.”

He was guarded by immigration police officers the entire time he was in custody in case he tried to make a getaway.

Even still, Vandenberg’s spirits remained high, telling reporters, “The policemen were the nicest people you could meet.”


Vandenberg has applied for an emergency passport and hopes that he will still be able to make it back to Bali in time for his friend’s wedding.

Having racked up at least $1500 of unexpected costs throughout the saga, Vandenberg’s case should serve as a timely reminder for all travelers getting ready for their vacations. 

As Bali prepares for the peak holiday season, dozens more immigration officials have been deployed to work on the arrivals counters at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International.

Speaking to reporters late last week, the Head of Class I Immigration Office TPI at Ngurah Rai, Sugito, explained that more staff had been added to the arrivals hall to speed up the arrivals process. 


He added that the increase in staffing is not only to help accommodate for the additional influx of holidaymakers but will stay in place after the peak seasons now that the world’s largest commercial airplane is landing in Bali on a daily basis. 

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Wednesday 14th of June 2023

Once they implant that Microchip in ya you won't be needing passports!


Monday 12th of June 2023

All new passports have electronic microchip in it. Some little tear in the paper of this paper made booklet is a huge overreaction.

Did he get his visa fee back? Or the imigrasi was more than happy to take his money and then find a random little 'issue' with his paper pamphlet to restrict him from entering. Like Soviet Russia where border controls were bending passports and looking for any little thing to harass visitors.

Rules are rules? In Indonesia? What a load of crap.

Guy lost a bunch of money, that's the main story.


Sunday 11th of June 2023

Bali doing everything it can to convince me not to come back...


Sunday 11th of June 2023

All of the entitled usual commentators on here who believe that their mindset is above all the brown people in Bali. Rules are rules and this could happen to any of us regardless of skin color, nationality, creed or ethnicity. Instead of blaming the local authorities then take this as a positive step to ensure your passport is in order.

If this traveler went through the auto gate to exit from Australia, authorities would not seem to notice and neither the Airline counter at check in. You are responsible for your own passport. You are responsible for you own doing.

John Smith

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

@Randy, You seem like the only person who is reasonable and intelligent enough to be allowed to post here. Maybe we can vote?

Wayan Bo

Saturday 10th of June 2023

🐶: Like sometimes to try passport.