Letters on travelers' visa woes evince sympathy, scorn

The articles on visa problems were excellent warnings to Americans about following the rules and being aware ["Trapped Abroad, Alone" by Mary Forgione; "No Quick Fix for Visa Woe" by Camille Cusumano, Oct. 9].

I had a similar experience prior to exiting a cruise in Valparíso, Chile. When our passports were returned to us the night before we were to disembark, I noticed that my husband's exit visa had another person's name on it. The cruise line had mistakenly printed two for the man in the cabin a number below ours.


I was told not to worry; it wasn't important. Besides, a representative from the cruise line would be at the airport if there was a problem. I replied that if it wasn't important why were 1,200 other people given exit visas?

We were staying a few days in Santiago so there would be no representative. I insisted that we would not leave the ship without proper documentation.

The cruise line couldn't get a Chilean official to come back onboard to issue a new exit visa, and it refused to take responsibility for the error in a letter I wanted to carry with us. I finally worded the letter I needed by telling the cruise line to say it was a computer error,  that we had been on the ship and the exit visa had the wrong name.

With the letter we were able to enjoy our days in Santiago and had no trouble leaving as scheduled.

Ilene Oller

Los Angeles


May I please remind you that you are writing a Travel section, not an anti-Travel section? I don't understand how the admittedly unpleasant experiences of two people out of millions of travelers to Turkey and India warrant featured front and multi-paged stories.

What you are doing, knowingly or not, is encouraging stereotypical views of travel to these countries and others like them and encouraging people to avoid them.

That's not what travel is about. Such stories belong in brief cautionary side pieces, not as the main theme of virtually the entire Travel section.

Ambrose Bruce Terrence

Marina del Rey




What an amazing read and scary story. I am aghast that Turkey, which is suffering from a loss of tourism because of  terror and refugee issues, would so mistreat Forgione. Wow. That took care of any minuscule chance of my visiting there.

Go to Greece. Way, way nicer, folks; no chance for this stuff to happen. They value tourists and treat them right. I'm going again next year. Turkey is just not ready when it comes to solo travelers.

Thank you for the India story too. It's so important to be aware of these issues, especially countries that are mired in messy paper-driven bureaucracies.

And by the way, shabby response from our embassy in Turkey. Really.

Margaret Shemsi

San Diego


I cannot believe Forgione and Cusumano write for the L.A. Times. The first one leaves a country without obtaining an exit stamp, and the other knowingly overstays her visa because she couldn't be bothered to do the paperwork before the visa expired.

Adding insult to injury Cusumano quotes a U.S. Embassy official saying nothing would happen to a foreigner who overstays a visa in the US. That is because unlike 99% of the countries in the world, the U.S. does not bother with formal exit control.

If this is journalism, allow me to write an article on how U.S. Customs and Border Protection treats U.S. citizens who have brown skin.

I can assure you that it is far worse that what your correspondents were subjected to.

I know, because I am subjected to it every time I return home.

Ajit Sarma