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I am a non-EU citizen residing in Germany for more than 2 years with a temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel). I got stamped the very first time I entered Germany but since then I never got my passport stamped during entry or exit at different airports (Munich, Memmingen, Nuremberg, Frankfurt, etc). I traveled to countries like Turkey, India, etc. I was told they do not stamp passports with residence permits usually.

However, today, I was coming from Mumbai to Munich and got stamped on entry at Munich airport. So, when does a non-EU passport with residence permit get stamped? Is it random?

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It's a bit of a mess. From Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the operation of the provisions on stamping of the travel documents of third-country nationals in accordance with Articles 10 and 11 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code):

The encountered difficulties, as described by the Member States, are of the following nature:...Questioning of the necessity of stamping the travel documents of third-country nationals who are in possession of a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen Member State.

The report points out that it's a little silly to put entry/exit stamps in an EU resident's passport, given that there's no real way for them to check whether the person's overstayed in an EU country other than the one they're a resident of. It concludes in part:

The Commission underlines that travel documents of third-country nationals who are in possession of a valid residence permit of a Schengen Member State are exempted from the stamping obligation on entry and exit.

Of course, none of that would have come up in the first place if everyone was strictly observing the same procedures, and the stakes are pretty low. If you're running out of room in your passport you could try yelling at the ICO if/when he picks up the stamp, but otherwise I wouldn't worry.

  • Interesting that the Commission thinks people with residence permits should not have their passport stamped. I cannot find any such exemption in the Borders Code. Do they state in the report how they reach that conclusion? – Henning Makholm Apr 17 '18 at 15:55
  • @HenningMakholm see my comment under your answer. – Sneftel Apr 17 '18 at 15:56
  • @HenningMakholm That report predates the code you cited, though, so it is possible that something's changed in the interim. – Sneftel Apr 17 '18 at 15:58
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    x @Sneftel: If only! The 2016 Borders Code replaced a Borders Code from 2006 which had basically the same rules about stamping. – Henning Makholm Apr 17 '18 at 16:04
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In principle, according to the Borders Code, the passport of a third-country national with a residence permit (other than an Article 10 card for family members of a union citizen) is supposed to be stamped on each entry to the Schengen area.

However, we have a lot of anecdotal evidence that this doesn't always happen. There does not appear to be any clear rhyme or reason to when the exceptions happen.

As a practical matter, with a residence permit you can be inside the Schengen area without the 90/180 day clock ticking -- so the entry/exit stamps are not an effective way to check whether you're not exceeding the length-of-stay restrictions. So it's hard to come up with any bad consequences of missing the stamps.

  • I don't think that's right... see Article 11, section 3(g): "No entry or exit stamp shall be affixed....to the travel documents of nationals of third countries who present a residence card provided for in Directive 2004/38/EC." – Sneftel Apr 17 '18 at 15:54
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    @Sneftel: Yes, but that is a very special case. Directive 2004/38 is the freedom-of-movement directive, and this section refers only to the special residence cards for family members of a union/EEA citizen this directive creates. People who have a residence permit for any other reason than being family members do not get a Directive 2004/38 card. – Henning Makholm Apr 17 '18 at 15:59
  • The borders code doesn't say anything explicit about the stamping of passports of those bearing a residence permit other than a Directive 2004/38 card. – phoog Jun 26 '18 at 11:49
  • @phoog: Correct. In particular since the code does not contain any applicable exception from the general rule in section 11.1 which says that the passport of third-country nationals shall be stamped, that general rule applies. – Henning Makholm Jun 26 '18 at 11:55
  • @HenningMakholm what then is the point of the "in particular" clause of 11(1)? – phoog Jun 26 '18 at 12:48

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