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I'm a visa requiring third country national and I have a 1 year multiple entry schengen visa (maximum 90 days). I went to Iceland on the day the visa became valid, and came 2 weeks later. At the exit border control, the agent there informed me that they had placed a wrong seal at entry by mistake (an exit seal instead of an entry seal), and that I do not have to worry about it as they have electronic records. I didn't even know that they had messed up with their seal until he told me! Ok so that was fine.

However, I have read here that Schengen countries do not have a uniform database. I'm planning to make another trip of 2 weeks using the same visa with the entry point being Germany. Would there be any complications as I now have 2 exit stamps on my passport? (The visa start date was October 2, and the stamps are for October 2 and October 15) The officer in Iceland at the exit border control explicitly told me that there is nothing to worry about, but reading opinions here seem to imply otherwise.

  • It is correct that the German authorities do not have access to any Icelandic electronic records regarding your entry and exit. You must at least expect them to be baffled by the inexplicable stamps. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 30 at 16:13
  • Always check your stamp before you leave the immigration officer. – Michael Hampton Jan 30 at 16:40
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    @MichaelHampton The officer at the exit border control was the one who showed it to me, and he said there's nothing to worry about. So there was nothing else I could do. Even if I did check during entry, I would not have known it was a wrong seal because I'm not familiar with the differences between an entry/exit seal. For all I knew, there would have been a seal with the proper date. – sparkling123 Jan 30 at 16:54
  • Aha. The entry stamp has an arrow entering the box. The exit stamp has an arrow exiting the box. Now you know. :) – Michael Hampton Jan 30 at 16:56
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    @MichaelHampton Yeah. :-) But, at that time, I had zero knowledge on that. Would the officer in Iceland say that there's nothing to worry about if there's no area wide electronic system?? – sparkling123 Jan 30 at 17:02
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It is true that there is no Schengen-wide database of entries and exits, and the different Schengen countries depend on passport stamps to document a traveler's earlier visits to the area.

The good news is that there is no formal requirement in the Schengen rules that hold a traveler responsible for having stamps that match up. You'll need to convince border guards that your plans and history are on the level, and passport stamps are certainly one of the pieces of evidence they look for, but it's not like stamps are judged by a robot that can't consider other evidence.

Depending on how diligent the border guards are the next time you enter, they may or may not notice the discrepancy -- and if they do they will probably be confused but invite you to explain what's going on. You need to be ready to provide this explanation.

If possible, you'll probably want to travel with documentation of your flights to and from Iceland, just in case -- boarding cards are best if you have them on paper, otherwise whatever you can get your hands on. Perhaps the hotel bill for your stay in Iceland?

However, it is unlikely you will need this documentation. Even without it, I would expect that your explanation alone would convince an average border guard. It is corroborated by the fact that the first stamp is from the same date your visa -- in the same passport! -- was valid for, and it would make no sense to assume that you entered Iceland twice without getting stamped and then exited it with a stamp both times.

Furthermore, October 15 is now more than 90 days in the past, so no matter what happened back then, it's not relevant for whether you're complying with the 90/180 day rule now, which is the primary purpose of the entry/exit stamps. (Visas valid for more than 6 months have "90" in the "duration of stay" field, but what that really means is just to follow the 90/180 day rule).

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    I agree that the traveler's explanation alone is probably sufficient, but I suppose that in case it is not, the German border authority could call the Icelandic border authority and ask them to corroborate the story, or at least confirm the travel history, by looking in their database. That the Germans lack direct access to the Icelandic database does not prevent them from asking the Icelanders to look in it. The time that this would consume probably contributes to the likelihood of the Germans' accepting the traveler's story on its own merit. – phoog Jan 30 at 17:14

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