Say you visited Russia on a three-month visa-free entry, and you exited on time. According to the rules, you must wait 3 more months before you may return. You then renew your passport in a nearby country, at your country's consulate.

If you attempt to return to Russia early, will they let you through passport control because your new passport has no prior entry stamps? Or is there a national system that records all entries / exits?

Another common situation is being blacklisted from Thailand. Again, that's done by a special stamp on your passport.

I heard of people who were blacklisted simply getting back in by getting a new passport. Is this true?

If so, why in God's name would a country, in the year 2018, not have a computerized entry system to enforce this stuff?

Why is this even a discussion?

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    As an example, the Schengen Area has no entry/exit system but does record bans and such. – Crazydre Mar 11 '18 at 11:16
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    I am not sure what kind of answer you are looking for here - this is, by definition a question without an answer. However a theory is that it depends on each country and how robust their controls are. It usually also matters if the country is target for illegal immigration. – Burhan Khalid Mar 11 '18 at 11:20
  • @BurhanKhalid I'm sure various people will have various answers based on their experience. That's good enough for me. – solrac Mar 11 '18 at 11:21
  • @solrac - you realise this isn't a discussion forum, right? – Rory Alsop Mar 11 '18 at 18:39
  • I guess.... I'm really just waiting for people's answers, based on their experiences. Not trying to be a forum. – solrac Mar 11 '18 at 19:20

I will attempt to answer the underlying question which seems to be:

Why in God's name would a country, in the year 2018, not have a computerized entry system to enforce this stuff?

In order to have a computerized entry system - or more accurately, a digital border control enforcement, the country itself must have digitally enhanced immigration framework in place.

After all, you cannot maintain a digital database of immigration for visitors and a separate one for citizens and permanent residents.

Next, you have to look at a cost of such a system - which isn't trivial. It starts with establishing a digital identity system, enrolling everyone (including everyone in the country, and everyone outside via the embassy); next you have to issue digitized travel documents - again, non trivial.

You may have to invest in robust IT and DR/BC controls; hire security experts, do training of staff, publish and update procedures, get certified by various standards bodies.

Now you are ready to start enforcing digital border controls; starting with recording entries and exits digitally (in addition to stamping on passports), leading to e-visa (removal of the sticker based visa - a measure against fraud), and then followed by e-gate (self-service immigration controls) and finally ending up with passport less travel (you can enter on other digitally issued government ids, such as driver's licenses or id cards).

All that is a great burden on a country who is not a target of illegal immigration (many are not) and who do not have the budget to undertake such a comprehensive overhaul.

Some may have put in lax controls especially if a country relies heavily on tourism - the various penalty fees may be a significant source of ancillary revenue.

  • Great answer! But I disagree with the enormity of the burden you describe. All a country would have to do is set up checkpoints at all their airports, Invest in simple passport scanning machinery with OCR that records name and passport number into a database, Invest in a database to handle only immigrants. Nationals do not need need to be scanned or entered into this database. Optional: fingerprint scanning machines. It's not that hard. Any country can easily afford it from a small percentage of their tax revenue. ------ So then my question is: Which countries have such a system? Which do not? – solrac Mar 11 '18 at 12:25
  • It is not as trivial as you imagine. It is not a matter of scanning a barcode at the supermarket, it is a matter of scanning, verifying, validating and ensuring the document is genuine, then validating the person. Having been part of a few projects in this area it is eye opening the number of standards, rules, regulations you have to follow. From the outside, it looks trivial when your passport gets scanned and in a few seconds you are waved through. – Burhan Khalid Mar 11 '18 at 12:44
  • There are no rules or regulations to follow other than the country's own! What body can impose greater authority than the country's own decision? – solrac Mar 11 '18 at 12:47
  • You have to follow international guidelines for handling of passengers, authenticating international documents, a global standard for storage and verification of data, etc. etc. many more things that are too long to discuss here. It is not trivial by any means which is why there are multi-billion dollar businesses running in this space, and countries are offering their own platforms as starting blocks for other countries. – Burhan Khalid Mar 11 '18 at 12:56
  • I understand that, but I also can imagine a smaller country saying "F.U." to all the international standards and making their own system. And not a single thing would change that, except for overthrowing the government. – solrac Mar 11 '18 at 13:26

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