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28 replies
Getting one's passport stamped
Aizle
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Could someone please tell me about borders in Europe and passports and how all of this works? I have a Canadian passport, and I’m not going anywhere that requires me to have a visa. I’m going to France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Czech Republic.

I read somewhere that even though you don’t stop at borders now between Schengen countries, it is still advised that you get your passport stamped, just in case something happens and the authorities need to know when you entered the country. Or something like that.

Is this true? And do you have to then go out of your way to seek out a border control agent?

Thanks!

segacs
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You will almost never get your passport stamped at border crossings between Schengen countries, and there’s no need to. It will be stamped when you first arrive from your international flight into the Schengen zone, and again when you leave. And since the Czech Republic is not part of the agreement, it will likely be stamped at that crossing as well.

No need to worry. I don’t know where you read to get it stamped anyway, but that seems pretty pointless to me.

first_timer
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What if you want to get it stamped. I like being able to look back at my passport and seeing all of the countries I have been to. Is it hard to get stamps when traveling from country to country?

oldlady
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quote:What if you want to get it stamped. I like being able to look back at my passport and seeing all of the countries I have been to.
Alas, I think the answer to this is basically "get over it." Most stamps on mine are impossible to read or figure out what they really mean, anyway.
quote: Is it hard to get stamps when traveling from country to country
There’s effectively "no border" if you cross on the train — I don’t know where you’d go to get a stamp.

Aizle
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Okay, so I looked this up on Google again, and this is what I found:

"Travellers should ensure that their passports are stamped on entry and exit at the external borders of the Schengen area. The passport stamps serve as documentary evidence of a traveller’s length of stay in Schengen territory. Officers at ports of entry might wave travellers through but it is in a traveller’s interest to request an entry stamp. There is normally no passport control at borders between Schengen countries, and therefore the absence of an entry stamp from the initial Schengen port of entry could create difficulties during subsequent encounters with local police or other authorities."

So basically, make sure to get it stamped on entry, even if they want to just ‘wave you through’.

segacs
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It’s rare they will just "wave you through" on entry if you’re on an international flight into the Schengen zone. At airport customs you’ll get a stamp. So there’s really nothing to worry about, unless you’re trying to cheat the system and overstay your 90 days.

Jena
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According to my passport, I entered london, but never left. Sometimes there are no stamps apparantly.

seraphim
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According to my (old) passport, I never went to Yugoslavia either.

segacs
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I’ve entered Canada many, many times but never left. There aren’t really any exit customs from Canada. But I live here, so it’s no big deal.

I’ve also entered the USA countless times and left only rarely, because of agreements that allow us Canadians to board planes headed for home in the US like a domestic passanger, and deal with only Canadian customs when we land.

Then again, technically we don’t even need a passport – yet – to go between Canada and the US.

stockmanjr
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quote:
According to my passport, I entered london, but never left. Sometimes there are no stamps apparantly.

The UK doesnt stamp you out they just seem to check your passport when you are leaving…
-howie

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KiwiRob
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The only places I have every been stamped on exit are the US and Australia, I’ve flown out of a number of European countries and have only ever been stamped on entry. Twice on trips to Norway I haven’t been stamped on entry either.

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I only got 2 stamps when I was in Europe last. The first was when I landed at Heathrow from Canada, and the second was when I was departing Barcelona for Heathrow on my way home. I never got a stamp when I arrived in Paris on the Eurostar from London, and I never got another Heathrow stamp when I was leaving to go back to Canada.

EricaT
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nivid,

You got an exit stamp when you left barcelona?

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You are much more likely to get your passport stamped when you enter a non-EU non-Schengen country, but border security between the EU Schengen members and EU non-Schengen members has, if anything, been stepped up recently. I assume your a non-EU person.

nivid
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EricaT,

YES I got an exit stamp from Barcelona when I was leaving for London. I think that I was flying on British Midland to Heathrow. I was very surprised to. It was the only time that I have ever gotten an exit stamp from any country that I have travelled to. Most times I just get an entry stamp. I got the stamp after I had checked in and gone through security. It was from a man in a booth at the far end of the terminal, as you are entering the area where the departure gates are. It was strange but I was just happy to add another stamp to my passport.

alphuris
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Seriously, you need to reread what you posted.

quote:Travellers should ensure that their passports are stamped on entry and exit at the external borders of the Schengen area.

Internal borders are not necessary.

Martha Thomas
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I’d like to have had stamps from the 3 countries I went to, but the only stamp I got on my trip this month was a Homeland Security stamp upon re-entering the US in Atlanta.

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It’s odd how the US occasionally stamps American passports with entry stamps. I got one in my previous passport, and have seen a few in other Americans’ passports while flipping through them. Haven’t come across any instances of other countries stamping the passports of their nationals when they’re returning home.

seraphim
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I have 2 German stamps (I think they were both from the border with Poland, one entering and one leaving) in my passport, despite me being a EU citizen. The first time they asked me if I wanted one (it was the first stamp in a brand new passport), the second time they just gave it without asking.

nivid
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I’ve returned to Canada on several occasions, and have never even seen anyone with a stamp for passports. There must have been one for those people not returning home to Canada. I went through customs in both Toronto and Halifax. Even if I had the option, I don’t think that I would want one anyway. I’d rather try and fill my passport with other countries, other than my own.

bunnih0p
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I didn’t have my passport stamped on either entry or exit from France earlier this year. Is that the norm? I was kinda disapointed actually =)

nivid
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I never got an exit or entry stamp from France either. But I think that it was due to me coming into France from London, and exiting to Spain. If you flew into France, you should have gotten a stamp though. It’s not always the case for train travel.

northernlights
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I’ve got quite a few stamps in mine,and for some odd reason a stamp from the US when I returned home last time.I think this has to do with the amount of time you where out of the country for allthough not sure.any non eu country you need a entry and exit stamp for sure.I ran into problems when a border patrol couldnt read the entry stamp,it couldve been a big problem but we eventualy smoothed it over.

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I’ve been stamped the last 2 times returning to the US…Kinda odd to stamp your own citizens but anyhow…Every time leaving the schergen zone by air I have been stamped out..Leaving by ground (eurostar) you dont get stamped out
-howie

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My last passport was so full of stamps and visas I had to get a new one before it expired.

You have to travel to get that, not go on holidays

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Quote:
What if you want to get it stamped. I like being able to look back at my passport and seeing all of the countries I have been to.

That is the way I thought when I got to Europe. Nine countries later and only three stamps to show for it. I tried to get a stamp in every country, but most officials just shrugged me off. In Barcelona, they were mean, they refused and then kept laughing in spanish at me. I kinda gave up after that! If you’re taking a bus or a train, there is little hope of a stamp. CDG in Paris did stamp, upon my request, as did the train ticket sales lady in Amsterdam. Good luck, they are a nice memory if you can get them, but not necesary.

Elana

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luv_the_beach
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If it’s any consolation, all the Schengen stamps look the same anyways. The only thing that’s different is the wording…provided you can read it. Some times there’s not enough ink on the rubber, and you can just barely make out the "D" or "F" or "I" inside the ring of stars on the upper right corner (or is it upper left?). Czech Republic and Switzerland are both not a part of the Schengen agreement (although I think Switzerland recently decided to relax border controls).

On exit stamps: I’ve never been stamped exiting the USA. I’ve been stamped at the airport while exiting both Greece and Germany (to non-Schengen countries: Greece to Swizerland, Germany to USA). France stamped me on entry for a brief visit recently…but not when I lived there!


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I’ve always heard that Americans don’t get entry stamps upon arrival into Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport…but I didn’t experience this first-hand. They are definitely conservative when it comes to stamping passports in Europe, but I don’t think you have cause for alarm unless you are approaching the 90-day limit in the Schengen zone.

In the rest of the world, however, they are extremely liberal with passport stamps. For example, last year I visited Hong Kong, Macau, and Tokyo and had two whole pages of my passport taken up by these stamps.

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They will stamp-it for you, if you ask… I have gotten stamped every time in the Carribean (Jamaica, Turks&Caicos, St. Maarten, etc.).. However, they do not always stamp it for me going in & out of Germany,France, and/or Mexican places like Cabo San Lucas & Cozumel. They just look at it, ask a quick ??, then wave me by. My ole passport, which expired in 1998 – was very filled-up with stamps. This newer one, which I have had since July 98, has definately missed about 6 stamps – coming & going over the last 5 yrs. I am not sure why they do not ALWAYS stamp them… I believe they should…

I am leaving from EWR with $4000 for 9 days

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