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I am a big fan of all things analog & souvenir-ish, and I am planning a visit to Australia. I was discouraged to hear about the ETA and that it means you do not get a stamp... but I know some places still give stamps at their discretion (like the USA, I'm Canadian so we don't usually get stamps but it has happened).

On an Australian immigration website, there is mention that Australian citizens can get their passports stamped upon entry/exit to Aus, but there's no mention of foreigners being able to do so and I was wondering if anybody knew.

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3 Answers

Just left Australia today (via Cairns) and asked the immigration officer to stamp my passport. I'm Australian and for the last few years they've only stamped Austalian passports on request. To my surprise, I was told that as of 1st Dec 2012, no more entry/exit stamps for anyone - Australian or foreign. Apparently the computer record is good enough now. How am I to fill my passport now? :-)

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Every time you fill your passport you have to pay a hefty fee for a new one. So this sounds like a good thing. –  hippietrail Jan 21 '13 at 3:42
    
I came in via Sydney yesterday on my British passport and received an entry stamp, so it appears that stamping is still happening contrary to the answer above. –  Marcus Gorillius Apr 12 '13 at 5:22
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Short answer : When entering using an ETA, you do NOT get a Visa stamp, as the ETA is electronic. You WILL get an entry stamp when you enter, and an exit stamp when you leave.

Longer Answer :

There are two types of "Stamps" that can be put in a passport - Visa stamps and entry/exit stamps.

Visas. As of a few months ago, Australia no longer issues physical Visas for most types of visas without payment of an additional fee. All Visas are recorded and tracked electronically.

Entry/Exit stamps. The rules of exit/entry stamps vary depending upon your nationality and how you enter the country.

For Australian passports, they have not stamped passports by default for over 5 years. If you ask they will happily do it for you, but they will never do it without asking.

For New Zealand and US passports, when entering Australia using SmartGate your passport will not be stamped when entering Australia. As you do not deal with immigration officials when using SmartGate there is no way to ask for a stamp to be given.

For all other passports entering and departing Australia your passport will be stamped.

It is expected that the use of SmartGate will be rolled out to citizens of additional countries over the next few years, at which time the number of countries that do not receive a stamp when using SmartGate will increase.

All entry/exits (including of Australians) are recorded electronically, as are any Visas that are issued automatically on arrival.

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All good and welcome information, but it doesn't answer the actual question. From my experience at other borders where one usually doesn't get a stamp. If you ask nicely you can get one. –  Peter Hahndorf Jan 6 '13 at 14:07
    
@PeterHahndorf It answered the question for everything except SmartGate users, which I've now added. –  Doc Jan 6 '13 at 14:20
    
So to clarify, that's only for Smartgate Kiwis. Non-Smartgate still get the stamps, as do those like myself who had the Smartgate machine break down in Sydney :) –  Mark Mayo Jan 8 '13 at 0:52
    
It's worth mentioning that while visas used to be stamps, most countries switched to visa stickers over a decade ago (more difficult to counterfeit). –  dbkk Jan 8 '13 at 17:50
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As a New Zealander - I can confirm that I've been through Australia twice in the last three months, and many times in the last several years, and have stamps from every single time. I've also seen it on many non-New Zealander and non-Australian passports.

Frankly, this is the first time I've heard of anyone commenting that they might not get a stamp.

I guess the answer you're looking for is firstly - there IS a stamp, and odds are you'll get it without asking, but I'm sure if they didn't, you could always ask, as they'll have it there on their desk.

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I also got entry & exit stamps in Australia, travelling on an eVisitor. I wonder where OP got the idea that "ETA means you do not get a stamp"... –  Jonik Jan 6 '13 at 10:49
    
I have had stamps on both my British and Australian passport every time I go to Australia - like you, I'm not sure why you would not get them. –  Rory Alsop Jan 6 '13 at 11:15
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All of my Australian passports are full of Australian entry and exit stamps too. The only countries where I've got passports stamps after requesting them were in Liechtenstein and Austria. The former is basically a souvenir that you buy for a minimal price in Vaduz, and the latter when I rollerbladed into the country from Vaduz (-: –  hippietrail Jan 6 '13 at 11:36
    
@hippietrail and that's why you made this emoticon of a vampire with a forehead crease –  Midhat Jan 6 '13 at 12:35
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Actually I spoke too soon! I assumed I was getting more and more stamps but now that I've dug out my current passport and gone through each page - I didn't spot a single Australia entry or exit stamp! I'm so surprised by this that I am using exclamation marks excessively! –  hippietrail Jan 6 '13 at 14:41
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protected by Ankur Banerjee Feb 9 '13 at 15:21

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