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8 Documents Required for International Travel

As per the International Air Transport Association, over 60,000 travellers are turned back by the immigration authorities at transfer points or from their destination because of incorrect documentation. If you're nervous about your first trip abroad, this guide is for you. Find out some of the most important travel documents to carry for international travel to make it less stressful!

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What are the Documents Required for International Travel from India?

Travelling is among the top favourite things for most people. The thrill is unexplainable if the trip is abroad; especially if it's your first overseas trip! However, many people get confused when it comes to arranging the various documents required to travel abroad from India.

Documents Required for International Travel

The concern is valid- As per IATA, one of every 25,000 international travellers ends up paying a fine for boarding their flight with the wrong documents. This is especially difficult for first-time travellers who aren’t going abroad through travel agents or companies.

However, things aren’t always rosy for frequent travellers. No matter how many times you've travelled abroad, it can be overwhelming and even confusing because of ever-evolving requirements. We have covered some of the most important documents necessary for international travel in the next section; however, it is best to check your destination country’s official immigration website for the latest updates.

Documents Required For International Travel

Passport and Travel Visa

Aside from your essentials and must-haves for the trips, many documents for international travel need to be prepared before your trip. Here's an international travel documents checklist so that you don't forget anything!

  • Passport and Travel Visa

    When visiting another country, a passport is the number one requirement. If you don't have one, you should apply for one well in advance so that your application can be processed on time and well before your trip. 

    • Passport processing time can vary significantly from country to country, so don’t do it last minute!
    • If you already have a passport, then you should confirm its expiration date. If it expires in less than 6 months or before your trip ends, then you should renew it.

    Once your passport is sorted, the second most important thing is your visa. A visa is a stamp on your passport that indicates that you are permitted to enter another country, making it one of the most critical documents for international travel.

    While there are a few countries offering visas on arrival to Indians, most of them require an advance application that needs proper planning often requiring weeks. Thus, you should check if your travel destination offers a visa on arrival or not, and prepare your international travel documents accordingly.

  • COVID-19 Travel Documents

    Despite improvements in the pandemic, countries continue to take precautions as the coronavirus still poses a huge threat to everyone. Travelling after COVID-19 still requires some documents for international travel like a negative COVID-19 report, vaccination certificate, etc.
    Some countries even require a health declaration form and so on. These requirements vary considerably across different countries as well as airline carrier companies. Make sure that you enquire about all of these and prepare your COVID-19 documents as per the latest guidelines.

  • Copies of Identification Documents

    It's important to carry both originals along with a few copies of your ID proof while visiting another country. They will be required while checking in to your hotel or attending certain events or seminars.

  • Flight Tickets and Proof of Accommodation Bookings

    While these are pretty obvious, some people may still forget them among too many things they need to manage. These documents are crucial and must be available as soft copies, if not hard ones. In many countries, documents required for international travel are necessary to process your visa as well. These are important documents to carry for international travel and must be kept safe and available if required at that country's immigration counter upon your arrival. 

  • Travel Itinerary Details

    Your whole trip depends on this. Your itinerary requires a lot of time and effort according to which you will book hotels, adventure activities, festivals, events, etc. Unless your itinerary isn't finalized, your trip can't be organized to make the most of it. Also, many countries require a detailed itinerary before issuing your visa. If your itinerary is not sound or fails to meet the purpose of the visit then there may be a delay in the visa procedure.

  • Foreign Currency

    While the digital mode of payment is common and accepted in most countries abroad, it is still important to carry their local currency for things where online payment isn't an option. Exchanging currency abroad may consume more time, so it is recommended to do it in India. Many people also prefer traveller’s cheques, which are useful documents needed for overseas travel. Doing this in advance will also save you time and any conversion charges. You can also find a credit card with zero foreign transaction fee to save some money while abroad.

  • Event Tickets

    If you're going to attend a festival or theatre, chances are that you had to buy your ticket well in advance. Many adventurous activities and exciting events that you plan to attend may be sold out by the time you reach the country. To be safe, it is best to book them as soon as you have planned your itinerary.

  • International Travel Insurance Policy

    Travelling abroad is thrilling and equally risky because of so many uncertainties. There are things that you may be completely unaware of and may find yourself in legal trouble unknowingly. Not only such situations will spoil your plans, but also cost you a lot of money beyond your spending budget. Having a travel insurance plan will save you from these woes or the stress of facing one of these issues.

    Many plans can be bought instantly without any prior medical checkups. You can also customize your plans according to your budget and requirements by comparing different policies and the available optional add-on covers. Keep in mind that these will vary significantly with geographic location, age of the travellers, any pre-existing issues, etc. Make sure to give this enough time and consideration before finalizing!

Tips for People Going Abroad for the First Time

Tips for People Going Abroad

Now that you’ve understood the importance of correct documents to carry for international travel, take a good look at some of these handy tips:

  • Don't forget to compare different accommodations and transport options before paying for your bookings
  • Your travel essentials must include a universal power adapter, digital luggage scale, and a good pair of walking shoes so that nothing stops you from doing things that you want
  • Eat well and take care of your health. Minor bruises, bug bites, etc. should not be neglected as they may act up in a foreign climate and weather
  • Inform your credit card company about your trip. If you do not have a credit card, look for the best option. Credit for travellers is very useful and can help cut some costs. Often, people forget this step which results in their card getting suspended due to suspicious foreign transactions
  • While soft copies are usually enough, carrying hard copies of your tickets, IDs, COVID vaccination, etc. won't hurt in case your phone runs out of battery or gets lost.
  • Keep contacts of the Indian Embassy or Consulate of that country handy so that you can get in touch with them immediately in case of any emergency
  • Buy appropriate international travel insurance as per your destination and requirements
  • Make sure to store important contacts such as insurer helpline number etc. or details of your policy number among the documents needed for overseas travel

In a Nutshell,

It's recommended that you apply for your travel insurance well before time so that even unfortunate trip cancellations are also covered. However, if you are short of time you can also buy a travel insurance plan online on within a few minutes. Doing so will save a lot of time and worry so that you can enjoy your vacation abroad knowing that you will be taken care of!

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*Price shown is for a 30 day trip to Thailand with 1 lakh dollar coverage for an adult of age 25 years

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