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Denied Entry!

Passport Full, Plans Deferred.

As I stood at the immigration booth, excitement pulsing through me, my heart sank as the official flipped through my passport and delivered the unexpected words- Where is your visa? I responded with all innocence or total ignorance that I didn’t know I needed one. I’m sorry.

He motioned me to apply for an e-visa on the other line. After filling in a form, I got in line. I waited. Few people passed my turn and I was still waiting. There’s a problem said the officer in the cubicle in front of me. He motioned for another officer to take me aside and that’s when I learned that there’s no space on my passport for a visa. I ran out of pages!

I held on to hope, to reconsideration. I knew of what may happen next- allowed entry or denied. I hung on to the first but the latter did happen. One police officer was so determined to deny me. He rushed me and treated me like I committed a crime of his day. He directed me to follow him and asked for my credit card, bought my return tickets, and rushed me through a shortcut to the airplane (it was the same plane I flew in).

However, amidst my disappointment, a glimmer of empathy emerged from some officers especially the one next to me while his co-officer emphasized the severity of the situation.

In that moment of disillusionment, I learned the invaluable lesson to always pay attention- check your passport pages especially if you travel much. It was a missed opportunity and my fault. It was a sinking feeling of regret that served as a harsh lesson in the importance of preparedness and attention to detail when it comes to travel.

And luckily, there was NOT A MARK that says denied on my passport. YAY!

More trips with Cultural Wanderer are coming so a new passport (renewal) is on its way.

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