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Or, can Timatic afford to be out of date at any point in time?

It is the database airlines and immigration consult to check current visa regulations and latest changes for all the nationalities travelling to every country in the world.

Someone claimed in another post that, in a certain case, the info on timatic was out of date by many months and possibly omitted certain visa requirements available to some nationalities but not recorded there.

Could anyone please elaborate on the workings of timatic and how it is updated and whether or not its real time info can be misleading/incomplete/unclear?

Thank you!

  • 4
    "It is the database airlines and immigration consult" Airlines maybe. Immigration, certainly not. Timatic has zero legal value. – fkraiem Nov 28 '17 at 0:17
  • It'd be helpful if you could include a link to the other post. – martin.koeberl Nov 28 '17 at 2:05
  • @fkraiem, I understand timatic has no legal value and isn't binding for immigration officials but I sometimes they consult it for third country nationals to get an idea of the regulations before stamping you out of the country. – Marbles Nov 28 '17 at 5:50
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Is Timatic always up to date?

YES, to the point where travellers should not worry about it. IATA tries really, really, really hard to keep Timatic current.

Here's a fun video describing some way they do this: Timatic Sourcing

Basically, they try to maintain close relationships with the agencies responsible for entry and transit requirements and encourage them to notify IATA before any change takes place.

Or, can Timatic afford to be out of date at any point in time?

NO. No one in the industry benefits in any way from Timatic being out of date. In fact, it's a huge liability for the airlines.

To be clear, try as they do, some random bureaucrat can forget to notify IATA and cause problems. There are also some wonky situations, such as the US Passport/Turkish visa thing.

info can be misleading/incomplete/unclear?

Here's the deal with this, it doesn't matter. Timatic can be flat out wrong but there is no way to convince an airline on the spot that is the case. You can be traveling with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson himself, but if Timatic says you need a visa and don't have one, you're not going anywhere.

  • Last year I hit a case where it was ambiguous and it took 3 agents to discuss and eventually agree that my interpretation was correct. I actually had never read the system before but that time I saw that the language they use seems deliberately ambiguous containing statements such as may be allowed. – Itai Nov 28 '17 at 3:58
  • @Itai that's probably because governments themselves use that language. As far as I'm aware, immigration officers in every country are able to deny entry to travelers even if they have all their documents in order. In any country where that's the case, careful writers avoid making absolute statements about the effect of a visa. – phoog Nov 28 '17 at 4:18
  • @JOHN-305, If there is no way to convince an airline that timatic is wrong, but is there a way to convince them that timatic is right?? There was a case when visa-free entry for certain nationalities was made available and duly updated in timatic but the dumb airline staff would not listen to the passenger pleas to consult it for up-to-date visa info and instead denied them boarding because they were not in possession of the old style sticker visa that is fast becoming obsolete. Can the passenger sue the airline? – Marbles Nov 28 '17 at 5:55
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    @Marbles If you can prove Timatic was current and demonstrate that the airline uses Timatic and the airline does not have their own policies, you at least have a case for a refund. Read the Contract of Carriage to see what it says about visas and such. A complaint to their national authority is also an option. – Johns-305 Nov 28 '17 at 11:59
  • @phoog - Yes but I was in a case where Timatic said something along visitors can enter visa-free fo XX dans and may request to extend their stay at the destination country, so they were arguing about whether I was allowed a return flight coming back after the XX days. In fact, we had gone to the embassy the day before and they had told us to do that ut the agent was focused on the may, saying that they could choose not too but it would make the possible extension pointless if one had to book an earlier return flight! – Itai Nov 28 '17 at 14:34

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