Test your transit knowledge
Are you about to travel internationally for the first time in a while? If your flight is not direct and you have one or two stops along the way, do you know the difference between an airport transit and entering a country in terms of procedures?
Here’s a little refresher on the different airport procedures required for transit and entering a country.
What is a transit?
Transit passengers are generally defined as travellers that will pass through another airport for less than 24 hours to get to another destination to complete their journey. Generally, travellers will have their bags checked to their final destination and be given all their boarding passes at their first check-in point.
Transit passengers remain airside (in the designated transit area) at an airport. In the case of an international journey, this means a traveller would not clear customs and immigration in transit.
When does a traveller enter a country?
A traveller will be considered to have entered a country if they have met all the prerequisites and have been processed by border security (customs and immigration).
If a traveller is booked on two separate passenger records/bookings, where they are required to collect their bags, give their passport to immigration and check-in for another flight, they will be entering the country and must meet all requirements.
A traveller who stays overnight in a landside airport hotel (outside of the transit area), is considered to have entered a country.
Do you have an upcoming itinerary with multiple requirements?
The transit and entry requirements for each country can differ according to the passport you have and your vaccination status. If you are booked on an itinerary that includes multiple destinations, it is important to be aware that each point should be checked, even if it is only a transit.
If an itinerary has multiple tickets issued, even though it may appear that you are only transiting in an airport for a short time, you will be required to clear customs and immigration and will enter a country. Due to airline agreements, this also means you may need to collect bags for the next flight if you are unable to check it through.
If your itinerary is issued on separate tickets, all entry requirements for the country/countries you travel via must be met, in addition to the requirements of your final destination.