Aussie woman's damaged passport horror story a timely reminder for Kiwi travellers

  • 28/04/2022

A woman in Australia trying to relocate to New Zealand with her partner and one-year-old child almost had her dreams destroyed over a tiny amount of damage on the corner of her passport.

Lindsey Gray had been waiting for months for a travel permit to move with her family to Aotearoa, but was halted by immigration officials at Sydney Airport.

One corner of her passport appeared to have been nibbled by her toddler, Gray told Yahoo News Australia, so she wasn't allowed on the plane.

"When [New Zealand immigration officials] saw the nibble on my passport, they were 100 percent unimpressed," she told the news outlet.

"They told me it could have been tampered with and therefore I would not be allowed to travel."

Lindsey Gray and her passport damage.
Lindsey Gray and her passport damage. Photo credit: Yahoo News Australia

Gray said she rushed to get an emergency passport replacement, which cost AU$533. Then she had to spend more money on an airport hotel stay and rebooked flights, and underwent another round of COVID-19 testing before finally being able to travel.

She said she was in a panic as she rushed to get the new passport and as a result her "puffy, distressed, cry-face" will serve as a reminder in her passport for the next decade.

Now Gray is reminding New Zealand travellers to examine their passport for any damage before getting to the airport to fly internationally.

"Big lesson for out-of-practice travellers here - check that puppy for damage before flying," she told Yahoo News Australia.