I heard from another pilot that he read something on the internet that some police somewhere in Europe busted UK pilots, by counting the stamps in their passports and if they found an odd number for a particular EU port of entry, they fined the pilot.
The chap has not supplied me with the source and nobody I know can find it either.
Has anyone come across this?
It cannot possibly work reliably, not least because border police do not always stamp passports. I heard there is an EU mandate to always stamp them now. It will fail if, for example, you diverted cross-border due wx. So it would be a de facto fine on somebody diverting. And a Brit flying over France and diverting to another airport in France is taking a risk because most of them are on a 24hr PN now so the police have the right to detain you.
It will also fail if you have more than one passport. A lot of people have those; UK and Irish is quite common because the Irish one has been dead easy to get if you have even remote Irish ancestry.
You can in/out on different passports from same country? or if you are dual national? so I can’t see how it works ?
I think you just need to keep track of some logs, the EU law is rather clear missing a stamp is not an issue as long as you have all the logs of you travel “handy for inspection” that you are within max stay limits, I don’t believe “getting busted or fined because of wrong passport stamps count” neither the “getting detained because of diversion”
The elephant in the room is always customs, unlike immigration they have every interest in “taxing & fleecing you” !
“Article 11 of the SBC introduces a possible presumption of illegal stay of a third-country national found on the territory of a Schengen Member State or when exiting the Schengen area without bearing an entry stamp. In this situation, the third-country national may rebut the presumption by providing, by any means, credible evidence, such as transport tickets or hotel bills, proof of his/her presence outside the Schengen area, that he/she has respected the condition of a short stay in the Schengen zone. In such a case, the competent national authorities shall indicate in the travel document, in accordance with national law and practice, the date and the place of the crossing of the external border of one of the Member States.”
Article 11 of the SBC introduces a possible presumption of illegal stay of a third-country national found on the territory of a Schengen Member State or when exiting the Schengen area without bearing an entry stamp
That is actually not very likely because any Brit flying into Schengen (or just the EU e.g. Croatia) will always stop at a proper entry point, because to do otherwise is drawing a lot of attention. Basically you can’t do it unless doing it somehow “covertly”.
The issue is that passports don’t always get stamped, on entry or on exit, so on some subsequent trip to the mainland somebody might find a discrepancy in the stamps.
You can in/out on different passports from same country?
Of course. Sometimes for good reasons, intentionally, e.g. at the EDNY exhibition they asked if I was a Brit and on an affirmative answer I got put in the “Russian visas” queue, whereas if I showed a Czech passport I would get a very different treatment.
the competent national authorities shall indicate in the travel document
What does that mean?
No idea what that means?
I guess when a passport is not stamped one has to keep “evidence of that trip” but I doubt the lack of stamps is problematic as it’s portrayed, the law has provision for it and as I mentioned it’s very common (at least when you have few passports, especially for countries where stamps should not mix )
Has anyone noticed border police counting stamps?
I certainly have, in France most recently, but after much puzzled conversation between them they could not reach a conclusion (and said nothing to me) which is hardly surprising since one can cross a lot of borders within the European mainland without getting stamps. One can also get the opposite: get a lot of stamps without crossing borders (in between Greek islands). It would take an amazing knowledge of geography and border rules to decipher the average GA traveller’s passport.
I just got a new passport this year but this would have been a lot of fun to try with my old one, or the one before that. The recently expired one has something like 50 stamps in and out of Munich airport, intermingled with ports of entry to other countries. The pages used for in and out on a given trip are not consistent – for every ‘in’ you’d have to search for an ‘out’ with about the right date and when it gets full they just start looking for any available spot to stamp it. I think they might have given up or gone crazy before they figured out if the number was even or odd, to a given place.
Pre-pandemic a colleague was going to Australia every month for years, I can’t imagine what his passport must look like although (incidentally) a lot of places worldwide don’t stamp passports outbound, and some don’t stamp them at all. The US is in the former category.
I have multiple citizenships but travel on only one passport. Obviously there is nothing to do with crossing international borders legally that prevents me from using more than one on a given trip.
Sounds like a scare story to me. For sure Border/Immigration often look where you have been, but counting?
Since I started working I have had more than one passport, have often used a different one to/from the UK/Europe if my company gets me a Visa. Border/Imigration dont give a hoot where they stamp your passport such that pages get wasted – sometimes its as if they deliberately try to find a blank page for their stamp even when the Visa is right there on the page you present to them. So good luck trying to figure out number of stamps on my 5yr old passport…
Edit : @Silvaire, wrt your comment on travelling using different passports, beware there are in fact a few countries where it is illegal to have more than one passport on you – just in case anyone didnt know.
Does that happen in Europe?
In Africa yes. I’m truly amazed if this happens in Europe. I’d immediately suspect they’re looking for a bribe to make some extra money?
wrt your comment on travelling using different passports, beware there are in fact a few countries where it is illegal to have more than one passport on you – just in case anyone didnt know.
Yes some countries don’t allow you to hold two (not legally) and some countries insist on their citizens to enter using country passport…
I think also the “consular service” you are entitled to, depends on which passports you have used to enter