Travel Tip of the Day: Keep Track of Your Passport Stamps

Johnny-Jet's-2002-2011-Passport-Stamps-17Keep Track of Your Passport Stamps
If you have a passport that has a lot of stamps, make sure to keep mental notes or use actual Post-It notes to remember where relevant entry stamps are located. I almost missed my flight last week when a German immigration officer couldn’t find my European entry stamp from Portugal. I couldn’t find it either, and it was only after a few minutes that I remembered the stamp I’d been given in Portugal had so little ink that it was barely visible.

The interaction ended up costing me five precious minutes when I was already running late for my connecting flight to Qatar, and so I almost missed my flight. I’ve never had an official go through my passport like that. In fact, the only reason I think the agent let me slide was that my wife had just gone before me (she had gone to a different agent when we arrived in Portugal that had more ink).

So, always try to keep track of where your stamps are, just in case—and if you get a stamp without much ink, ask to get it stamped over again.

 

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About the Author

Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

5 Comments on "Travel Tip of the Day: Keep Track of Your Passport Stamps"

  1. I agree! Take an extra moment at port of entry to check your stamp. If too light, ask for an over stamp. I have been held up for 25 minutes as the agent brought out a magnifying glass and checked a stamp. this occurred in Croatia at the Zagreb Airport. It was very unsettling and I had to run to make my flight, being the last on the plane!

  2. Last year my girlfriend and I had our passports stamped upon entry in Paris. At the end of our trip as we were leaving Portugal the officer looked for our entry stamp from Paris. All he could find was an “Exit” stamp for our entry date. Fortunately, he believed us and simply made some derogatory comment about French incompetance as they should have used the “Entry” stamp. Now we check the stamp carefully each time which is hard to remember to do after a 12 hour flight. And sometimes I have asked for a re-stamp when the ink was too light.

  3. I carry coloured post-it notes and if my passport is crowded, write on them where the current one is (for exiting) an intended spaces for new ones (next stops). Of course, sometimes Immigration staff doesn’t read English or isn’t considerate, such as when I had only THREE empty spaces for my two next stops (i.e. entry and exit stamp pairs as no visas required. I identified what should be where and presumed she would take one space not two. NOT. That’s why when close to the line you must have a spare. I do. Actually a spare passport is even more prudent, but that isn’t always easy to arrange.

    There can be a ‘funny’ history to passport stamps, such as when Cambodian Immigration stamped the wrong duration of stay. When I went to Pochentong Airport, instead of correcting their mistake they wrote a white lie – that that same day I had gone to Bangkok and back. Never happened!

    Or the time I visited Mexico and I got no stamps at all, an had to fight at the border upon exit.

    Be careful in Hong Kong, they include a tiny piece of paper that is easy to lose.

    Check your stamps. Wrong date stamps do happen.

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