For a traveler, a passport stamp is a bragging right and a sense of achievement, rolled into one. For governments and border control authorities, a way to monitor entry/exit of passengers. My Indian passports (featured image) have amassed a fair number of colourful stamps and visas and make for a great conversation piece. However, many countries are doing away with the practice altogether – some due to political reasons, while others advance to biometric measures of tracking entry and exit.
Passport Stamp – Going the way of the Dodo?
If you are a passport stamp collector, you may need to do a bit more than just enter the following countries to get a stamp. These countries do not issue a passport stamp upon entry (the list is not comprehensive, just the ones I know of);
- Hong Kong (Landing slip)
- Israel (Landing slip)
- Macau (Landing slip)
- Albania – Although not in EU, passport stamps are not issued for nationals of EU, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino
- Liechtenstein – Not part of EU but does not stamp passports for Schengen Zone traveler.
- Traveling within EU Travelling within the Schengen Area – Third country nationals or foreign nationals get a stamp on arrival in first Schengen country. No stamps for travel within the Schengen member states (free movement et al).
- Travel between Canada – US (Depending on Nationality/passport, landing slip at land borders). Travelers using Nexus or Global Entry also don’t get a stamp on passport.
- Entering island countries on cruise ships – Hit or miss with passport stamping. If your passport is not stamped, seek out a port tourism office and get one.
Several countries do not stamp passports of their own nationals entering the country (Brazil, Australia etc.) but will do it upon request. Similarly, if you are a tourist in a country that does not stamp your passport, you can request one. If you forget or the authorities do not oblige your request, visit the closest tourism office and request a souvenir stamp.
The future of passport stamps is bleak as we fully adopt biometric monitoring. Personally, I take great pride in a colourful passport, where each stamp comes with a story. I would hate to see the passport stamp go the way of the Dodo. On the other hand, those stamps (and visas) are the reason passports fill up and require a renewal *read cash grab * so one can argue that some form of stamping will always be around.
If you know of other countries where a passport stamp is not issued, or have a related experience to share, please leave a comment below.