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Say 'bye!' to passport stamps

The UK and EU are set to drop the need for passport stamps in the future as the EU border system enters the digital age

Published by
Sean Rooney·08/01/2024

Passport stamps are badges of honour for many travellers. I will forever brag about the Mt. Fuji stamp I got when visiting Japan. But why did we even use stamps in the first place? Most countries have different stamps for arrivals and departures to make it easier for officers to quickly identify your recent movements. This process, however, is completely manual and can be time-consuming.

The new automated Entry/Exit System (EES), will register non-EU travellers digitally, removing the need for physical stamps. The European Commission’s Department for Migration and Home Affairs said that “EES will replace the current system of manual stamping of passports, which is time-consuming, does not provide reliable data on border crossings and does not allow a systematic detection of overstayers". It was originally due to launch in 2022, but was delayed until May 2023 and again until November 2023. Critics fear that a lack of preparation could lead to some major teething problems when the system is introduced.

But fear not, you still have till November (and potentially longer if they don't sort their act out). If, like mine, your passport is full of stamps and you want to keep it forever, you can! When your passport expires, all you have to do is send off your passport for clipping, then it can be returned to you, with your stamps intact!

Also, as it currently stands, once there is no room left in your passport and it's been filled with stamps, you cannot request new pages, you'll need a new passport. The new system will alleviate this issue as the stamps will no longer take up pages - a small victory in the grand scheme of things!

Overall, this new system should make all of our airport experiences a lot smoother, but on the other hand, does it take away some of the magic of travelling? What do you think?

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