How To Find Out Visa & Other Pre-Arrival Requirements in 2 Minutes

Last Fall, as I was boarding a Delta Airlines flight headed to São Paulo from New York's John F. Kennedy's Airport (IATA: JFK), the friendly gate attendant asked if I had my visa to go to Brazil. I promptly replied that I didn't require one as a Philippines citizen compared to citizens of the United States who did need a visa to visit Brazil. In his best skeptical, yet professional demeanor, he asked me to wait a few minutes while he verified my claim. He headed back to his workstation by the check-in desk and banged away on the keyboard. My head hung a little low. I hated being the person holding up the line but this was out of my control. After a few minutes, he waved me on and I was allowed to board my flight where I promptly woke up in São Paulo the next morning! Fast forward to today and I finally learned about the system that very attendant used to verify my visa claim. I figured that there was a large database with all this information readily available to be used by airline personnel and airline personnel only. I was then pleased to find out that this system can be accessed by anyone without ever leaving their home!

Enter Travel Information Manual Automatic, or Timatic for short. Aside from an extremely unimaginative name, this tool has been vital for me as I plan my RTW trip this coming April and the necessity of visas always being top of mind with my 'lower power' Philippines passport. In using this application, I have also learned about other pre-arrival requirements, such as transit visas and vaccinations, for certain countries I had previously never even considered.

RELATED: RTW Countdown: The Ideal Itinerary (Plan A)

Timatic was first established in 1963 and is managed by International Air Transport Association (IATA). Over 60M travellers have their documentation requirements checked against the Timatic database every year. -Wikipedia

Timatic is a subscription based software for airlines and airline affiliated agencies but fortunately for us travelers, certain airlines have the application baked into their website for you to use en gratis! Some airlines who have it loaded on their website include Kenya Airways, Surinam Airways and KLM. After using several variants of the web application, I personally like using KLM's the best with a user interface that is easiest on the eye.


How does it work? Let's take it for a test run

According to my second proposed RTW itinerary, I am hoping to get from India to Tanzania and I was curious to see what my pre-arrival requirements were. The flight I want to take takes off from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai (IATA: BOM) to Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam (IATA: DAR) with Etihad Airways. Side Note: I'm taking this flight in order to experience Etihad's amazing First Class apartment in the BOM - AUH leg for free with American Airlines AAdvantage miles!

RELATED: RTW Countdown: The Other Itinerary (Plan B)

(1) First, I performed a dummy search for sample Etihad flights from BOM to DAR. It appears there is a 1 stop flight through Abu Dhabi International Airport (IATA: AUH).

(2) Next, I entered the following information into KLM's Timatic application and clicked on GO.

(3) Finally, the resulting page showed me all the available information for my transit and final destination.

That's it! That took less than 2 minutes didn't it?


Interpreting The Results

National Philippines (PH) /Embarkation India (IN)
Transit United Arab Emirates (AE)
Destination Tanzania (TZ) /Visited India (IN)

The first part of the results is a summation of the information you entered into the query. I entered Philippines as my nationality, India as my embarkation point and United Arab Emirates as a transit point to my final destination of Tanzania.

Visa Information - Transit
United Arab Emirates (AE)
TWOV (Transit Without Visa):
- Visa required, except for Holders of confirmed onward tickets for a max. transit time of 24 hours.
- Visa is required for transit between Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai Al Maktoum International (DWC).
Visa Issuance:
- Visa required, except for A 96-hour transit visa can be obtained on arrival at Dubai (DXB)
Health Information: Destination
United Arab Emirates (AE)
Vaccinations not required.

The good news for me on the transit section is that I will not be needing a transit visa to go through the Abu Dhabi International Airport since I will have a confirmed onward ticket to Tanzania! The additional visa transit information for Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai Al Maktoum International (DWC) is also information that is good to know! Finally, more good news is that I don't require any vaccinations in order to transit.

Visa Information - Destination
Tanzania (TZ) Passport required.
- Passports and other documents accepted for entry must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the arrival date.
Visa Issuance:
- Visa required, except for Nationals of Philippines can obtain a visa on arrival, if holding travel documents valid for at least 1 month beyond the period of intended stay. Fee: between USD 50.- and USD 100.- (cash only). The fee can only be paid with notes of USD 50.- or USD 100.-.
Additional Information:
- Visitors are required to hold documents required for their next destination.
Warning:
- Passports and passport replacing documents of all visitors must contain at least 1 unused visa page
- Visitors not holding return/onward tickets could be refused entry.
Health Information: Destination
Tanzania (TZ)
YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION NOT REQUIRED.
Exempt from Yellow Fever vaccination:
- Children under 1 year of age. Recommended:
- Malaria prophylaxis: malaria risk, mainly due to P. falciparum, exists throughout the year in the whole country below 1800m. Recommended prevention: C.

Moving down to the destination information, it appears that I will be obtain a visa on arrival in Tanzania as long as my passport has a minimum of 6 months validity upon arrival. The result also outlined a handy tip about only being able to pay the visa fee in cash using US$50 or US$100 bills. Lastly, traveling to African countries may require certain vaccinations to be obtained in advance and I was pleased to see that it wasn't the case in Tanzania.

Using Timatic, I am able to uncover specific visa and health requirements rather easily. With my RTW travels consisting of over 20 countries and even more possible transit points, I will using Timatic very heavily!

Do you have a better, faster way than Timatic to find out pre-arrival information?


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