Having your passport stamped when entering or exiting a country serves as proof of your travels. However, some countries have done away with exit stamps in recent years to speed up passport control and reduce paperwork.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Schengen Area, Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, South Africa, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, and a few other countries do not stamp passports on entry or exit.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore which countries no longer stamp passports upon entry or exit in 2023. We’ll look at the history behind why some nations made this change, as well as the pros and cons for travelers.
Read on to learn all the details so you know what to expect when crossing borders this year.
Countries in the Schengen Area
The Schengen Area is a zone comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passport control at their mutual borders. This means that travelers can move freely between member countries without undergoing border checks.
The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985 and has since expanded to include countries from both the European Union (EU) and non-EU members.
Overview of the Schengen Area
The Schengen Area is known for its seamless travel experience, with tourists and business travelers benefiting from the absence of border controls. Some of the countries that are part of the Schengen Area include popular tourist destinations like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Greece.
Other member countries include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, and more.
Travelers entering the Schengen Area are usually required to present a valid passport or national ID card upon arrival. However, due to the abolishment of internal border controls, passport stamping is no longer a common practice within the Schengen Zone.
Schengen Countries That Do Not Stamp Passports
Most Schengen countries have implemented a policy of not stamping passports for travelers arriving from within the Schengen Area. This includes countries like France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Instead, immigration officers often rely on electronic scanning systems to record entry and exit information.
It is important to note that while most Schengen countries do not stamp passports, there may still be exceptions. For example, if you are entering the Schengen Area from a non-Schengen country, such as the United Kingdom or Switzerland, you may receive a stamp on your passport.
Additionally, some Schengen countries may still stamp passports in certain situations, such as when there are issues with the electronic scanning system or for security reasons.
When You Might Still Get Stamped in the Schengen Zone
If you are traveling within the Schengen Area and find yourself getting your passport stamped, don’t panic! There are several reasons why this might occur. For example, if you are crossing a land border between two Schengen countries, there may be random checks or spot inspections where passports are stamped.
In some cases, immigration officers may also stamp passports for administrative purposes. This could be due to issues with the electronic scanning system or if there are concerns about the validity of your travel documents.
It is always best to comply with the instructions of immigration officers and provide any necessary documentation to ensure a smooth entry into the Schengen Area.
For more information on passport stamping and entry requirements for specific Schengen countries, it is recommended to visit the official websites of the respective countries or consult with the consulates or embassies.
Ireland and the Common Travel Area
Ireland is one of the countries that do not stamp passports in 2023, thanks to its participation in the Common Travel Area (CTA). The CTA is an agreement between Ireland and the United Kingdom that allows for the free movement of people between the two countries.
It also includes the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This means that travelers can move freely between Ireland and the UK without the need for a passport, and therefore, no passport stamps are issued.
History of the Common Travel Area
The Common Travel Area has a long history, dating back to the early 1920s when both Ireland and the UK gained independence from each other. The CTA was established to maintain the close ties between the two countries and facilitate travel and trade.
Over the years, the agreement has evolved and expanded to include other territories, such as the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Despite the political changes and challenges the region has faced, the CTA has remained intact, allowing for the seamless movement of people between Ireland and the UK. This has been beneficial for both business and tourism, as it eliminates the need for travelers to go through the hassle of passport control when crossing the border.
Travel Between Ireland and the UK
Travel between Ireland and the UK is relatively straightforward due to the Common Travel Area. Irish and UK citizens can travel freely between the two countries without the need for a passport. Instead, a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license or a national identity card, is sufficient for entry.
It’s important to note that while passport stamps are not issued when traveling between Ireland and the UK, other countries may still require a valid passport for entry. Therefore, if you plan to travel beyond Ireland and the UK, it is advisable to carry a passport to avoid any complications.
The Common Travel Area is a great example of international cooperation and a testament to the strong ties between Ireland and the UK. It not only facilitates travel but also promotes cultural exchange and economic opportunities between the two nations.
Croatia is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning coastline, beautiful national parks, and historical cities. In 2023, Croatia will continue its policy of not stamping passports for travelers arriving by air, land, or sea.
This means that visitors to Croatia will not have physical evidence of their entry into the country in their passports. Instead, they will receive a small slip of paper upon arrival, which they must keep with them throughout their stay and present upon departure.
This system aims to streamline the immigration process and make it more convenient for travelers.
Cyprus, located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, is another country in Southeast Europe that does not stamp passports. Instead, travelers entering Cyprus will receive an entry visa on a separate piece of paper.
This visa is valid for a specific period, depending on the traveler’s nationality and purpose of visit. Cyprus has implemented this system to facilitate travel and ensure a smoother entry process for visitors.
Romania, a country rich in history and natural beauty, also follows the trend of not stamping passports. Instead, travelers entering Romania will receive a small entry slip with their personal information and the date of entry.
This slip serves as their proof of entry and should be kept safe until their departure. Romania’s decision to adopt this system aims to make the immigration process more efficient and hassle-free for travelers.
Bulgaria, a country known for its picturesque landscapes and ancient ruins, is another Southeast European nation that does not stamp passports. Similar to other countries in the region, Bulgaria issues a separate entry document to travelers upon their arrival.
This document serves as proof of entry and should be kept safely until departure. This system not only simplifies the immigration process but also helps preserve the integrity of travelers’ passports.
Oceania is a region comprised of numerous island nations and territories in the Pacific Ocean. It is known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality. When it comes to passport stamping, some countries in Oceania have adopted more lenient policies to facilitate travel and tourism.
Let’s take a closer look at three countries in Oceania that do not stamp passports in 2023.
New Zealand is a country renowned for its breathtaking scenery, diverse wildlife, and adventure activities. Despite being a popular tourist destination, New Zealand does not stamp passports upon entry or exit.
Instead, visitors are issued an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or visa, which is linked electronically to their passport. This streamlined process makes traveling to New Zealand hassle-free and ensures a smooth entry for visitors.
Fiji is an idyllic island nation known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs. To preserve its natural beauty and promote sustainable tourism, Fiji has implemented an electronic system for border control.
Visitors are required to complete an arrival card, but their passports are not stamped. This eco-friendly approach allows travelers to explore Fiji’s paradise without any visible proof in their passports.
Samoa, a Polynesian island nation, is famous for its lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and traditional Samoan culture. In an effort to simplify travel procedures, Samoa does not stamp passports upon entry or exit.
Instead, visitors are given an entry permit that serves as their official documentation during their stay. This streamlined process ensures a seamless experience for travelers and allows them to focus on enjoying the beauty of Samoa.
It’s important to note that passport stamping policies can change over time, so it’s always recommended to check the latest requirements and regulations before traveling to any country. Additionally, while these countries do not stamp passports, they still have immigration procedures in place to ensure the safety and security of visitors.
Other Notable Countries
South Africa is a popular tourist destination known for its diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and wildlife. In 2023, South Africa is one of the countries that do not stamp passports upon entry or exit. Instead, they use a biometric system that scans travelers’ fingerprints.
This innovative approach not only speeds up the immigration process but also reduces the wear and tear on passports. So, if you’re planning a trip to South Africa, don’t worry about getting your passport stamped – just enjoy the breathtaking beauty of this incredible country.
Japan, a country renowned for its rich history, technological advancements, and unique traditions, is another notable destination that does not stamp passports. Instead, they issue landing permission cards to visitors upon arrival.
These cards serve as an official record of entry into the country and must be kept safely until departure. So, while you won’t get a stamp in your passport, you’ll still have a memorable experience exploring the beautiful landscapes, bustling cities, and ancient temples of Japan.
Chile, a long and narrow country stretching along the western edge of South America, is famous for its stunning natural wonders, including the Atacama Desert, Patagonia, and Easter Island. In 2023, Chile is among the countries that have adopted a digital entry process, eliminating the need for passport stamps.
Instead, visitors are issued a tourist card upon arrival, which must be presented when leaving the country. So, while you won’t have a stamp to show off, you’ll have incredible memories and photographs of your adventures in this captivating country.
Brazil, the largest country in South America, is renowned for its vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and the iconic Amazon rainforest. In 2023, Brazil is also among the countries that have moved away from passport stamps.
Instead, visitors are provided with a printed entry form that serves as their official record of entry. This streamlined process not only saves time but also helps protect the valuable pages of your passport.
So, when you explore the marvelous cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, or the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls, you won’t have to worry about passport stamps – just soak up the sun and enjoy the Brazilian hospitality.
While these countries may not stamp passports in 2023, it’s important to note that entry requirements and procedures can change. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check with the official government websites or your travel agent for the most up-to-date information before your trip.
In summary, many countries around the world no longer stamp passports as standard procedure thanks to changes in policy and technology over the past decade. This includes most nations in Europe’s Schengen Area along with Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, South Africa, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Japan, Chile, Brazil and several others.
While passport stamps can serve as souvenirs or proof of entry, the lack of stamps often helps expedite immigration and improves the travel experience. Be sure to check current entry and exit requirements before visiting any country to avoid surprises at the border.