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Missing Exit Passport Stamp

Last October I flew into Fiumicino airport in Rome and toured Italy for two weeks before returning to the U.S. via a Transatlantic cruise out of Civitavecchia, Italy. My passport was stamped upon entry at Fiumicino but was not stamped upon leaving Italy as there was no passport immigration control at the cruise ship terminal in Civitavecchia.

I am returning to Italy in April for three weeks and will be flying into Fiumicino, Rome returning home via Schipol airport, Netherlands. I am concerned that when I pass through passport control at Schipol I might be questioned about the missing exit stamp as my passport won’t account for the number of days I was in Italy during my previous stay in October. I will be bringing a copy of my October cruise ship ticket to verify my exit date just in case.

Is it common procedure not to stamp passports at Civitacecchia on cruises departing for the U.S.? Should I be concerned?

Posted by
16171 posts

I don't think I would be overly concerned, but yeah, bring the ticket. The only people who I would be concerned about are the airline check in staff when you depart for Italy. They get sticky on this because they have been "trained" about Schengen rules. The airlines can be fined for allowing people on the airplane who are violating Schengen rules, so they go through the passport carefully checking stamps. The border agents pretty much just scan the bar code on the passport to see if it gets flagged from the computer system. I have heard other people did not get stamped entering Italy, but their bar codes got scanned, so they were in the system.

BTW, did you get an entry stamp when you re-entered getting off the ship in the USA?

Posted by
796 posts

I had a similar situation a few years ago in Germany. Flew into Germany in October and out of CDG two weeks later, where they didn't stamp me out. Returned to Germany in December. Going through passport control at MUC on the way back to the US I got in a showdown with the agent who was fiercely controlling his square yard of turf. He said I had overstayed and must see the police. I said, fine, where are they. ( I kept my game face but was thinking "Oh, @#*!") My friends whom I had brought on a Christmas market trip were wide-eyed by this point.

After a few more minutes of this back and forth conversation, the other agent in the booth looked at my passport, rolled his eyes, and waved me through. I'm pretty sure the Germans are more rule followers than the Italians, but I am now pretty diligent to be sure I get an exit stamp. I wouldn't be too concerned about it in Italy.

Posted by
2476 posts

Are you sure there was no emigration check before you left Italy? That sounds very strange. But passports are not stamped usually, it is scanned and the information stored in digital form. But if you are correct and there was no check, then there's no record of you leaving Schengen and you'll probably be flagged as overstaying, so bring all evidence you have of your return trip.

Posted by
3477 posts

Did the cruise line collect your passport when you boarded? Many do this and handle immigration for you while you are settling in.

As others have stated, a stamp is not always needed anymore as the passport is scanned and the information kept electronically.

Did US immigration stamp your passport when you got off the ship? If so, this will be proof you left Schengen since you can't be there if you are somewhere else.

But, just in case, it would be a good idea to bring any documentation that shows you were actually on the cruise ship.

Posted by
1166 posts

Please come back to the Forum after your trip and let us know if this was a problem and if so did the cruise ticket help to resolve.

Posted by
21356 posts

First, you will not have a problem going in. Your passport will be scanned and stamped. No one will check to see if you have a proper exit stamp from your prior visit. On exiting, I would use a stick note to id the page for the current entry stamp. I had a halfway similar problem exiting France two years ago. Nine months earlier I had been in and out of the Schengen zone with both proper entry and exit stamps. At exit immigration in France he flipped through the pages and quickly found the earlier entry stamp and put his thumb on that page and continued to flip through the pages quickly - we have a lot of stamps. Then he started back through the pages slightly slower but still quick. At the end he asked rather curtly, "When did you enter and where?" Two weeks ago via the Eurostar was the response. This time he went through very slowly and finally did see the entry stamp - much smaller than the average entry stamp. He seems more than a little irritated but stamped it and waved us on. He did not seemed to be concerned with an exit stamp for the earlier entry stamp since his focus seem to be on the most recent entry stamp. Now I make a point of putting a little sticky note on the current entry stamp.

My guess would be that you would not have a problem without the exit stamp but having the cruise ship ticket could be helpful.

Posted by
265 posts

Several years ago we were returning from a Greek island Cruise. We exited the boat in Venice and our passports were returned then. We flew from Venice to Frankfort, heading back to the states. I made it thru passport control. My husband didn't! The man in the "little booth" was questioning my husband because his passport was stamped Sept 12. The problem was , it was August the 12th!. With a very straight German face he asked my husband if he was Michael J Fox. Being very nervous and NOT realizing he was kidding since he wasn't smiling,like a dummy I said,Oh no, my husband is much taller! Funny now but not then because, after all that, they weren't going to let my husband board the plane. Traveling is always an adventure, stay flexible and SMILE!!!

Posted by
16171 posts

Like I say, any problem will be with the airline employee checking you in for the flight.

Posted by
5471 posts

Stamps, as others have said are an unreliable indicator, but they are where an agent starts. As several others have said, the cruise line likely handled Emigration from the information you submitted and their own checks, but it may save some frustration if you have clear answers on your previous entry and exit (where, when, vessel, the ticket would help) which would prompt an Immigration officer to just move you through, as opposed to search deeper in electronic systems and hold you while they do it.

Like I say, any problem will be with the airline employee checking you in for the flight

I am not certain that the airlines have a requirement to review whether you have or will spend too much time in the destination country...their only requirement I believe is to verify that your Documents (Passport and/or Visa) are valid and for a default length of time.

Posted by
21356 posts

.....I wouldn't worry. They don't go by passport stamps...... That has not been our experience. We have found recently that they are checking stamps more closely than they ever used to. Assume the increase security is the reason. And we have never had airport personal check passports other than it is valid and hasn't expired. No check-in airport has ever looked at our entry and exit stamps. I really doubt if airline personal are really worried if you have overstayed the Schengen zone requirement. That is an immigration issue.

And finally --- Did US immigration stamp your passport when you got off the ship? --- A US citizen does not get an entry stamp when returning home. They scan your passport but that is it. You don't have proof of entry to the US because you don't need it.

Posted by
8960 posts

All your exit/entry data should be accessible via the Immigration officer's computer. There have been a couple of occasions where my entry stamp was illegible, the officer asked me where I arrived and looked it up on his terminal to confirm. It slowed down the usually processing time, but at the end of the day not a big deal. No reason to worry about this.

Posted by
265 posts

I did a return transatlantic cruise last October. Before flying to Rome the airline sent me an email saying I did not have a return flight booked and were concerned about when I would return. I told them I was returning by cruise ship and they entered that information into my record and that was that. I also did not end up with a stamp in my passport showing I exited Italy. I guess the electronic record took care of the concern raised by the airline.

Posted by
19526 posts

I am not sure what caused the issue, but in 2016 while I was waiting in the interminable United check-in line at the Barcelona airport, the United employee working the line became very interested in me. (Not in a personal way; I was 64 at the time.) I think he initially asked about my arrival in Spain, but I couldn't easily document that since I didn't have data service on my smartphone and I no longer had a copy of the inbound flight receipt. In the end, the guy was satisfied after looking at photos on the phone. It was all quite odd, but I was stuck in that slow-moving line anyway, so I wasn't stressed about being held up.

Looking back on it, I suspect the problem was that I had booked a one-way frequent-flyer ticket to Madrid several months before my trip. Then, during the trip, I booked a separate frequent-flyer ticket for the return from Barcelona. Both flights were on United miles, but I speculate that the records were not linked in the computer system even though both contained my passport number and frequent-flyer number. That was an 88-day or 89-day trip, so clearly Schengen-legal. I guess something about me looked like a potential security threat.

Posted by
21356 posts

The issue might have been the one-way tickets. At one time a one-way ticket was one of the trip wires for extra security because that is what the original 9/11 terrorist did. The second was no checked luggage.

Posted by
3477 posts

Depending on which point of entry I return to the US through, I sometimes get a US stamp in my passport. I agree that, after checking my passport, I have not gotten one for the last 5 years of returns except for one coming in through Boston in 2016. But I do have several from before then. Guess with all the technology, stamps will just become obsolete before know it.

Posted by
21356 posts

What does your US stamp say? "Welcome Home."

Posted by
6 posts

Frank, my cruise ended in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My passport was not stamped there either.

Posted by
4 posts

Arrived in Rome very early, we were first to depart plane. We were groggy as was the Italian passport control agent. He just waved us on as we approached his window. He looked SO annoyed to be there and obviously wasn’t to be bothered.... I remember thinking whaaaat? But just went on as he indicated. Couple weeks later we were told in Switzerland he couldn’t stamp our passports as deporting as there was no record of us entering. After explaining what had happened he rolled his eyes and waved us on. LOL

Posted by
7832 posts

Did you check EVERY page of your passport? My experience on my 1st trip was the Italian immigration officer just flipped open my passport and stamped it with the faintest stamping. He had skipped several blank pages. Took awhile before I found it. ( I wasn't expecting to find it on pg 5, when pages 2,3 &4 were blank)

Posted by
21356 posts

....cruise ended in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My passport was not stamped there either....... The last I knew Puerto Rico is a part of the US. I know that our president doesn't know that but it is. Welcome back.

Posted by
27 posts

My husband and I and another couple flew into Italy in 2007 arriving at the Liguria Airport. No one was at passport control!! As we continued walking we noticed the Customs Agents were in front of us, heading home with lunch boxes in hand! Welcome to Italy!! No one questioned us when we flew home from Rome 18 days later! This was a RS Best of Italy trip!

Posted by
4637 posts

I don't think it's a big deal. And then some people have double citizenship. Show US passport when leaving US and then EU (Schengen area) when they land in Europe. Then they don't have many stamps.

Posted by
6 posts

I have finished my trip and have an update about my missing exit stamp in my passport. When I returned to the US I passed through passport control at Schiphol in Amsterdam. I inserted my passport into the electronic passport reader. An inspector stamped my passport with an exit stamp. The inspector did not look at any of my passport stamps to verify my length of my stay. I’m assuming that my entries and exits including the missing physical exit stamp from my last trip are stored electronically and checked when it was scanned in the reader. I was worried that I was going to be pulled aside and questioned about the missing exit stamp but it was not a problem.