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Counting passport stamps

I truthfully said Croatia. He said OK and drove the whole bus (a mixture of countries) straight to the show.

Croatia is not in Schengen, I suppose the bus driver knows that

I recall similar story going from Spain to Melilla, I did ask 3 times if so one need to see our passports and the answer was no, only after that we have left the terminal they called us back…

Last Edited by Ibra at 01 May 22:02
Paris/Essex, France, , United Kingdom

In that case the stamp counting did work!

Stamps make sense only for Schengen zone control.

I could see the rationale behind sending me on because Croatia did the two stamps correctly, but that makes sense only if Croatia is in Schengen (which it isn’t – not yet!). The EDNY border guards probably read in the German press that Croatia is looking at it…

Had the border guards stamped me OUT, that would be correct, because I was leaving Schengen, but I would end up with mismatched stamps. I would have an OUT stamp but no preceeding IN stamp. So they did me a favour. But I don’t think they did that to do me a favour. They did it because they thought Croatia is in Schengen.

As I posted further back, I got the wrong direction stamp at Beziers last year…

For IT anoraks, this reminds me of SPF. You look at it to see if an email is spam, but if it is set up wrong (which it often is) you have to disregard it and carry on

UK doesn’t stamp passports mainly because it is not in Schengen, and probably partly because the real movement data is on computer anyway, and it’s a stupid hassle for the police “airport flying squad” which implements the border here (which is driven partly by a GAR form submission and partly by watching FR24, AFAICT ). France “dealt with this problem” by removing police from ~100 airports, ~10 years ago, which benefitted nobody and buggered the economics of many airports while making life much harder for UK pilots since all those years ago (brexit has minimal effect on UK-France GA). The rest of the UK debate is domestic-political and is obviously related to the fact that if you are in Schengen, you have zero border control, which is fine if you are happy with zero border control

The use of stamps is wonderful for job protection / job demarcation, because it ensures the provision of a desk on which the passport can be stamped, and everything that goes with that. It safeguards the entire edifice of the border control profession who sit behind a glass screen with a little hole in it, with a 9mm on their belt which won’t get used in 1000 years. Border control with no stamp is like a fire service with nobody setting anything on fire (which is to a large extent true today, compared with say 50 years ago when electrical fires were common)

Croatia is not in Schengen, I suppose the bus driver knows that

There is a “don’t” missing there.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter are you a little confused. Croatia may not be part of Schengen but it is part of the EU and therefore there is free movement of people between Croatia and Germany. So you had entered the EU but being outside Schengen you had to show your passport. It didn’t need to be stamped again either in Croatia when departing or Germany when arriving. It perhaps should have been stamped at the point of departure to UK.
Moving from one Schengen country to another should not require the showing of a passport. So if for instance you flew from Germany to France, you should not (AIP and NoTam permitting :)) require the showing of your passport.
Regarding France you seem to miss the point. As the EU and Schengen evolved so the need for border forces bases at various small airfields became less and less needed. Many had nothing to do, so they were moved to where the work existed and their numbers were cut.
Secondly, GA airfields in France come under sports and leisure for the main part. A commune keeps them like they would a football or athletic stadium. Do they need to allocate part of their budget for border force staff just to greet the small number of aircraft arriving from or leaving for the UK? I would answer, no.
There are some communes that do benefit greatly from such traffic, LFAT being a prime example and others whose airports are open to International traffic who see themselves as part infrastructure and use a longer PN system which allows them not to have to budget for full time border staff. And then there are the airports which are totally infrastructure such as CdG, Nice, perhaps Bordeaux Merignac whereby GA tends to be discouraged by attitude, handling and price.
But most airfields have no need for border force as we don’t get many UK visitors. We have had 2 since January and they entered and left via Dinard.
Also most airfields do not and have never relied on International GA traffic. It is welcome, but does not make a difference to whether an airfield stays open or closes.


therefore there is free movement of people between Croatia and Germany

Croatia → Germany or vice versa, you have to use an airport with Immigration. Germany should absolutely stamp the passport – just like with pre-brexit UK.

I forgot to mention some other – peripheral – reasons why some people may want a passport stamp: foreign domicile rule compliance, collecting evidence for a residence/citizenship application process being just two examples (obviously fully country-specific).

The rest of the debate is really regarding whether “user pays” should be fully applied. If it was fully applied, then much of our “way of life” would collapse. For example, there would be only toll roads, and no roads in the countryside, etc. There would be no street lighting. Around the edges, “user pays” is arriving bit by bit, slowly penetrating our society. Rubbish collection is now charged for here. With airports, there are “interests” on both sides of the line. I predict that much of French GA will gradually disintegrate, or more likely will collapse Italian/Spanish-style into grass strips and ULs. It will take time, and removing “facilities for foreigners” is an easy low hanging fruit, which the police absolutely love anyway. UK GA is already fully self-funding but manages to hang in there because there are lots of owners who spend money.

as we don’t get many UK visitors. We have had 2 since January and they entered and left via Dinard.

That’s because they can’t be bothered to fight with the hassles. They stay at home and fly to Sandown for the £200 greasy meal, or give up flying (as many have in last 2 years), or fly to a country that welcomes them. For example Ostende which is just down the road is a paragon of friendliness. Even the police welcome you with a nice smile. Years ago, Brits were going all over France. Especially before my time, when Immigration was not enforced. I used to see friends around France, up to about 2011; after that I had to do an extra stop, say Caen, but Caen now tells about 90% of the earth’s surface area to f- off. Much of the “frequent flyer” group I used to meet up with a few years ago, UK and France, has packed up.

Fortunately we can depend on four more years of LFAT being accessible, due to Macron

As everyone knows I have a bigger capacity than most for banging my head against the “GA brick wall” and I am still emailing with La Rochelle, trying to get something out of our mid-May fly-in, in the face of their completely stupid 48hr PN on all foreigners.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

You still don’t get it. France is culturally different to the UK. The majority of French airfields are paid for by the local commune, out mostly from local taxes. GA is very important in France
2020 there were around 600 aeroclubs affiliated to the FFA flying around 600,000 hours. Mainly for leisure or sport. Most instruction and running of these clubs is by unpaid volunteers. The clubs are an intrinsic part of the social scene of the community both in terms of sports and leisure and education.
FFPLUM has about 16000 pilot members.
The RSA has around 1600 experimental aircraft registered with them and that doesn’t include the orphelins or classic aircraft.
Even in the best of years going back over the last 30 years, the number visiting GA aircraft coming from the UK to the vast majority of airfields in France is tiny.
I think the record at LFFK was around 30 in any one year, and in that year we ran a " fruit de mer" open day, inviting the whole of Europe and followed it a few months later with "un jour des hires (oyster day). On each day we had some 120 aircraft arrive from all over Europe. On the first date, around 10 arrived from the UK, mostly from The Flying Hut at Shoreham. On top of this we had one or 2 from Switzerland, Germany etc.
The second event drew 5 UK aircraft, again mostly from the Flying Hut at Shoreham. The other UK visitors came individually or in 2 at a time throughout the course of the year and most were visiting Brit friends who live here.
And most are nice people and very welcome, as are the Germans, Belgians, Dutch, Swiss etc.
Yes LFAT gets a lot of Brit GA, as does LFBH and LFMD but to think the French GA scene relies on UK visitors is I am afraid laughable.
Forgot to mention pre the UK becoming a 3rd country, most visitors entering France from the UK just flashed their passport, if there was anyone there to flash it too. France was pretty lax for the most part.

Last Edited by gallois at 02 May 10:02

You still don’t get it.

No need to make it personal.

the French GA scene relies on UK visitors is I am afraid laughable

Nobody said that.

Too much nationalism on the forum sometimes, and it drives people away.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

@Peter you do have a wee bit of in/out EU/shengen mix up. I have never had a passport stamp inter EU. Not ever, in 20 years going to/from UK-Shengen inside the EU with an EU passport. It never happened. Outside EU for sure every time pre Brexit but since Brexit it is entirely random as to if you get a passport stamp to, or from… be it via L2k, Calais CDG or AMS, private or commercial flight. And wrt the whole Tax/Residence thing you brought up its why I have 5+yrs of boarding cards in a drawer.

@gallois, its true that in the big scheme of things across France Brit visitors are a tiny proportion of GA, but every time I have flown through Calais, Caen, Cherbourg or L2k, the apron has exclusively G/N reg aeroplanes on it. Maybe one locally based Fox-reg might be in the circuit, maybe a visiting Belgian or German, but essentially its Brits there. And the reason they are there is/was the reduced Douanes P/N.

Regards, SD..

I agree, but I think passport stamps are a “Schengen border” crossing requirement (movement of people) but it is crossing an “EU border” that triggers the stamping action.


Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Croatia may not be part of Schengen but it is part of the EU and therefore there is free movement of people between Croatia and Germany.

No, it’s free movement of goods. I think we did this exercise many times here but it’s worth of repeating:
- EU membership – free movement of goods
- Schengen membership – free movement of people

So, Croatia to Germany or Germany to Croatia you have to show your passport (or ID card) to immigration (police) on both ends regardless your citizenship.

Last Edited by Emir at 03 May 06:09
LDZA LDVA, Croatia

I reckon it normally works this way:

Within EU but crossing Schengen border: have to show passport (i.e. must pass Immigration) but a stamp is not required.

Within EU but not crossing Schengen border: no need to show passport and no need to pass Immigration.

So, Croatia to Germany is same as pre-brexit UK to Germany: have to pass Immigration, but you don’t get a stamp.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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