Entry/exit passport stamps are still available, although some countries have officially abolished them
Passport stamps have – unfortunately – become increasingly rare these days, as many countries have stopped stamping passports and instead opted for electronic records or printed slips.
Travelers entering a checkpoint where stamps are no longer issued automatically might have the option of requesting one from customs, whether for novelty or for specific reasons.
There are sometimes good reasons to have a stamp in the passport as visual proof of entry and exit from a country and many places eliminating stamps does not make it easier to reconcile your trip in some case.
For the average traveler, it doesn’t matter whether or not they get a stamp, although some might find it a little sad that they no longer get all the colorful proof of their travels.
We’ve talked about it in the past, like in the case of Korea in 2018:
More passport stamps for arrivals and departures in South Korea (arrival slip only)
Or – more recently – Singapore:
Singapore no longer stamps passports
On my current trip, I actually asked customs twice to get me a stamp.
The first was when I left Korea because I was still in the mandatory self-declaration period for daily health monitoring and wanted proof that I left on a specific date just in case. there would be a question about that later.
My second experience was this week when I left my cruise ship a day early and decided to stay in Canada rather than continue to Seattle. I got off in Victoria and flew on foot to Vancouver to avoid all the dancing of an international arrival at YVR, airport transfer, etc.
I was surprised there were no customs officers present when the few of us who disembarked in Victoria got off the ship. Especially after the ship’s crew did a big dance about it, we weren’t allowed to leave until 7:30pm, about an hour after everyone else. A lady from the port authority then told us to just walk out of the customs building into the city (country) with no further processing.
This did not sit well with me, as there was no formal entry procedure and I did not want to answer any questions about it the next time I entered Canada (or the United States since I left the cruise earlier). The airport has at least the Kiosk where you complete the formalities but here there was absolutely nothing.
She then contacted one of the customs officers who had no problem getting me an official entry stamp. They even agreed that it was a good idea and they didn’t think of it because all the other guests who left were Canadian nationals. So much for that…
If you are a part-time resident in a foreign country, it may also be useful to have proof of an actual stay abroad for more than 180 days for tax purposes. I encountered the situation where the tax authorities asked me to provide such proof and a copy of the passport stamps was satisfactory.
For those who are interested, it is even possible to obtain an official exit stamp in the USA but for that it is a bit of a hassle because you have to look for the official customs office of the international airport from where you are leaving. . As most know, US airports are not really set up for exit screening because those leaving the US are electronically monitored. The same is true for Canada.
When you enter some countries you will find that they no longer provide entry/exit stamps and we have reported some here on LoyaltyLobby over the years. While this primarily presented annoyance based on novelty factors such as simply missing the stamps in some cases, there are some very practical reasons why the stamps indeed make sense.
If you find yourself in a situation where you just need or want a stamp, just ask the customs officer. More than likely they will oblige and get their stamp (which took quite a while in Incheon as they haven’t used it for a while). Of course, if you can’t provide a valid reason, they could also say no, but my “for tax reasons” example was still sufficient.