What is Timatic, and How to Use It?
Where to Turn If You Suddenly Have a Question About Visa Requirements for a Specific Country
Where to get iormation about visas for all countries worldwide?
It’s best to use Timatic – a service database for visa matters.
Independent travels, aside from the freedom of movement, imply the right to make mistakes, and some people make use of this right quite extensively. The most unpleasant mistake is to arrive in a country that requires a visa without having one (I’ve already told the story of newlyweds who tried to fly to the Philippines from Hong Kong without a visa and were not allowed to leave the country).
With popular visa countries, everything is simple and clear. You need a visa for the USA, Australia, the UK, and other similar popular destinations, and everyone knows that.
If you are unsure whether you need a visa, the first thing I do is open Timatic. What is it? It’s a database created and intended for airline employees. Information in this database comes from reliable sources and is regularly updated. Timatic serves as a basis for airlines to require certain documents from passengers, such as visa availability, passport expiration date, route peculiarities, or special conditions from transit countries or destination countries.
Where is Timatic available?
Timatic is available in paper form and electronically on its website. Access to the website is possible only for registered users and is subject to a fee; ordinary citizens cannot access it.
But it’s not all that bad; airlines share information with passengers, and it can be found on the websites of aviation alliances as well as individual airlines. Below are links to well-known alliance or airline websites that contain information from Timatic. These are the sites I use to find out if a visa is required for the destination country or a transit country.
Websites where you can find official information from Timatic:
Airlines only board passengers based on information from Timatic and may deny boarding. Before flying to a country where visa requirements are not clear, it’s better to print out information from Timatic.
For example, this is what I did when flying to Indonesia via Singapore. Transit passengers do not need a visa, but there are peculiarities in what constitutes transit (departure from country A to country C via country B).
Sequence of actions:
Before the trip, plan the route, the countries you are traveling to, transit destinations, and your nationality. Usually, the place you are flying from does not matter; it’s the place of arrival or transit that matters.
Check Timatic using the links provided above, look for visa requirements and passport and travel document requirements.
If a visa is required, visit the embassy website of the country where you need a visa and determine the appropriate consulate.
Prepare documents, obtain a visa, and set off on new discoveries.
Timatic is great, but I still advise that after checking your future destination, find the embassy’s website, search for the necessary visa information there, and compare it with the information obtained from Timatic.
You may also find the Wikipedia page dedicated to Timatic helpful.