Passport Stamps

Does anyone know if you can get your passport stamped in the various countries of Europe? I missed the opportunity to do it (if it's possible) last year when I traveled from Germany to Denmark, Sweden and Poland. This year we will be traveling from France to Belgium and the stamps would be cool souvenirs.

Thank you.

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1972 posts

If you travel among countries in Schengen zone you will get no stamps in your passport. Only when you go from Schengen country to non Schengen country or vice versa. When you land from the US or Canada in first Schengen country you get passport stamp. When you leave Schengen country you get another stamp.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
3844 posts

Hi,

If you trip includes the UK along with Western and Central Europe, by the time you get home you will have 5 stamps; one for entering the Schengen zone and leaving it along with entering the UK and leaving it, that's 4. Number 5 is the US "readmit" stamp where you land in the USA. If the US Immigration officer just looks at your Passport, that reentry card, and pass you on, at that point I ask for a stamp. They should oblige, always worked for me.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10375 posts

Stamps designate your entry and exit dates into the Schengen Area. Every entry stamp must have a corresponding exit stamp, so no, unless you leave the Schengen Area every time you leave a country, you'll only get two stamps.

Posted by lindanjim
24 posts

Just like Scott, and I'm sure many others, we'd like to get our passports stamped in every country we visit to help tell a story and as a form of memorabilia. We'll be landing at London Heathrow from the US, proceeding to Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy (and the Vatican) and then France. If I understand correctly, we'll get stamped in London, then in Netherlands (entering Schengen zone?), then not again until we prepare to leave in Paris. It seems like we would be missing out on all those others. Is there a way to get stamps from the countries that will not be stamping our passports? We won't have a lot of time at each stop, so finding Immigration Control may be an issue. Since this is our first "reconnaissance" visit, we will be using the services of a bus tour company. Should we ask our Tour Director? Any other advice?

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

'Any other advice?'

Read the previous post.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10375 posts

"We won't have a lot of time at each stop, so finding Immigration Control may be an issue." Unless you fly into every country from outside the Schengen Area, yes, it will be an issue, because the Schengen Treaty eliminated immigration controls across the borders of the signatories. Quite simply, there's nobody there to stamp your passport anymore.

Posted by Chuck
USA
31 posts

I fully sympathize with you, Scott. I wish I had more passport stamps. What's made things worse is that I've entered/left Europe several times via Germany and the Netherlands due to changing planes before my final destination, so I have several stamps from those two countries and none from several others.

For future reference, even though they do not check passports when you drive in, you can get your passport stamped in San Marino. I didn't do so, but now I wish I had.

At any rate, you can get other fun little souvenirs by mailing yourself postcards from various countries and seeing how many different euro coins you can collect (1 and 2 cent coins are somewhat rare, and virtually nonexistent in some Euro-zone countries).

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

Maybe get stickers for your steamer trunk.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
4346 posts

OK, Ed, that made me laugh right out loud!

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
4217 posts

For some of us, the stamps are a bit of a pain. With a 10 year passport life, take enough trips, and you can run out of pages and have to send your passport in to get more pages put in. The US stopped putting entry stamps a year ago. You do need enough space in your passport visa pages for 2 stamps to enter the Schengen zone.
I have heard you can get it stamped at the Liechtenstein tourist office if you pay them.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
5434 posts

I miss them, too, but I think they're gone forever.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3120 posts

Instead of the passport stamps you could instead collect the unique currency from each country. Oh wait...

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
1972 posts

Well, Douglas,
there are still few countries in Europe which are not using Euro but in future they may so that currency will be really unique. I have some Dutch guildens, Deutschmarks, Austrian shillings, hundred thousand bill of Polish zloty (unfortunately not valid now), some old Bulgarian leva, high bill of Turkish lira (not valid now either to my regret). I did not collect them. They were just left after my trips and I kept them thinking I use them next time when I am there.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10375 posts

Even within the eurozone, you can still collect different coins. Sort of. Each country issues its own coins, and one side features some kind of unique national symbol. Kind of like the state quarters. Now, just because you have, lets say, a coin issued from Finland doesn't necessarily mean that you visited Finland, because you could just as well have received it as change in Spain. But the coins tend to circulate more within their own borders than outside, so at the end of your trip, your left over euro change will probably serve as a rough approximation of where you visited.

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
758 posts

Getting your passport stamped will not happen for reasons already outlined. How about getting a travel journal, and using that to adhere postal stamps that you can collect in each country in addition to other things, such as writings, entry tickets, etc.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

I have to be honest, I really don’t think I’ve ever paid any attention to the actual stamps in my passport except on two occasions: (1) Running out of room near year 10 as previously mentioned, and (2) Not getting an entry stamp upon landing at ZRH, not noticing until time to leave, and then wondering if it would cause any issues when leaving. It actually did cause a little ruckus…I had to explain, answer questions, etc. I have no idea why they didn’t stamp it coming in…an oversight, I guess. Upon departure, the immigration officers finally decided that since my traveling companions were all stamped upon arrival and that we were all booked under the same ticket, I must be legit, and they let me leave. More alternative “souvenir” ideas might include a pamphlet, a ticket stub, a receipt, or some other free thing that reminds you later of a certain place. I don’t collect these things intentionally, but I always end up with a bunch of this stuff in my messenger bag when I get home. As I’m cleaning it out, I’m reminded of a certain palace, museum, or just a good coffee shop. Just the other day, I found something I must have missed when cleaning out my bag from three trips ago. It was an unwrapped moist towelette from Japan in my messenger bag…it reminded me of how much I enjoyed that flight on All Nippon last summer. What a great airline! Anyway, this stuff is free, you don’t even have to try to acquire it, and it can bring back some good memories. It might be as dull as a receipt from a truck stop in Luxembourg, but when I found just such a receipt after a trip, it reminded me of that entire day driving from Paris to St. Goar, with a stop in Trier. Lots of funny stories...it was a great day, indeed.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3120 posts

Even within the eurozone, you can still collect different coins. Sort
of. Each country issues its own coins, and one side features some kind
of unique national symbol

Maybe some coin enthusiasts will disagree with me, but, yeah, not the same. I have a nice collection of currency from my earlier travels and find those far more interesting than passport stamps. I loved the national history and culture that was represented on bills especially. But as much as I miss the individual currencies, I do love how easy it is to travel cross-border now within the Eurozone.

And I think I should have put a sarcasm warning on my earlier post...

Posted by Sarah
Seattle, Washington
122 posts

Scott - check out the UK & Ireland (both are EU members, but are not Schengen Countries and they both have their own stamps).
As well as the European Microstates (some of them are EU members and yet they never signed the Schengen Agreement). I know Rick Steve's did an episode on the European Microstates and some of them have stamps. These entry stamps have nothing to do with your legal entry stamp into the Schengen Countries and you have to make sure you get them in the correct way otherwise your passport can become invalid.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12839 posts

About national coins, I've never been in Spain, but I have a 1€ coin from Spain. I haven't been in Belgium or France since the Euro's inception, but I have a 1€ and a 2€ coin from Belgium and a 2 Euro Cent piece from France. Coins migrate, so having coins from a country doesn't prove you've been there.

On the other hand, you can always find coins from the countries you go to.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10375 posts

Lee, as I said, it's a rough estimate. I daresay, the majority of your left-over euro coins probably sport the Bundesadler and Brandenburger Tor, with a few odd ones from other countries. I've never been to Greece, Cyprus, Spain or Portugal, but I've acquired a few stray coins from these places from time to time. But most of the coins in my pocket at any given moment come from where I spend the majority of my time- Germany and Belgium.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

The EU dates from 1993, the Schengen Area from 1995. Participation in either is not conditional upon participation in the other. The fact that many nations are both signatories and members is irrelevant.

You cannot put anything in a passport that will invalidate it - - including scribblings by a three-year old. A water-logged, mud-stained passport remains valid. If you can make it to the border, the Feds will still let you come home, even if you've lost your passport.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8275 posts

"The US stopped putting entry stamps a year ago."
I have an entry stamp to the US in my passport from last August. If it has changed, it's been less than a year.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12839 posts

"The US stopped putting entry stamps a year ago."

Can't prove it by me. I have a readmit stamp from Oct of 2013, less than a year ago. In fact, it looks like they're more common recently. My latest passport (2009) has readmit stamps from all three trips (2009, 2012, & 2013) with that book. My previous two passport books, used for 10 trips from 1987 to 2008, have only two readmit stamps (1989 and 2007), total.

Posted by LonTravel
Warsaw (most days)
31 posts

I remember back in 2002 being in Poland with a church group. We were in the south near Czech border.... we all thought it was fun to hope across get stamps and back again.. almost had to beg for it. For Europe that time has passed. Now I spend a good part of my year in Europe.... strangely for all the tech border guards still spend a lot time looking for that last entry stamp.

Buy a coffee mug or patch for your backpack or travel coat. EU stamps are all the same these days and just reflect where your plane entered EU not your travel.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
4217 posts

@ Lee Maybe they just ran out of ink in Chicago. My last one was Sept 2012 at JFK. Since then, nothing.