I'm a British citizen (by birth), born abroad in the late 1990s. I recently found my first passport, and in it are two UK entry stamps from my first two visits to the UK. One is from Gatwick and the other Manchester, so this evidently wasn't a one-off or a mistake.

I was a baby at the time, and my parents don't remember anything unusual happening at the border. I haven't had any UK stamps since, and I can't find anything about this online.

The stamps were unremarkable and don't specify any limited leave to enter, except one has letters that look like "O/R" handwritten underneath it (as pictured).

Why would the border officer stamp a British passport? Photo of one of the entry stamps

  • 1
    Perhaps the practice of not stamping British passports arose after the late 1990s. What do the stamps say? Presumably they do not say "leave to enter" and do not convey any restrictions or prohibitions.
    – phoog
    Aug 30 '19 at 15:22
  • @phoog No entry restrictions although "O/R" is handwritten on one, I've uploaded a photo.
    – Joe Malt
    Aug 30 '19 at 15:26
  • 2
    I think that means"On Request". Someone travelling with you (as it appears you were an infant?) probably asked the Officer to stamp your passport as a souvenir. These days on arrival in the UK with a UK passport you can still ask (if it's not too busy) and the Officer usually writes "By Request". This because as a UK passport holder entering the UK no stamp is required.
    – canonacer
    Aug 30 '19 at 15:43
  • That's interesting - I'll ask my parents if either of them requested it. Is there any practical reason they might want the stamp, other than as a souvenir?
    – Joe Malt
    Aug 30 '19 at 15:44

An online search for "O/R" turned up a list of mostly irrelevant meanings, but one meaning seems likely to fit here: on request. It's possible that your parents asked for the stamps.

In a comment, you ask

Is there any practical reason they might want the stamp, other than as a souvenir?

They might have thought that your presence in the UK had a bearing -- or might possibly have a future bearing -- on your right to retain British citizenship. Maybe they asked for stamps in their own passports to serve as evidence of their presence in the UK for reasons of taxation in the place where they were living at the time, and the officer stamped all of the passports, including yours.

  • 2
    This appears to be the correct answer. I asked my mother and she thinks she asked for them as a souvenir. I'm not 100% sure if the other stamp also has O/R on it, but I'll have a look when I get the chance.
    – Joe Malt
    Aug 30 '19 at 16:07
  • 2
    Update: I've asked my father, who remembers the border officers scrutinising his and my documents carefully to make sure I was actually their child (presumably an anti-kidnapping / anti-trafficking measure). He doesn't think it was as a souvenir, and thinks the officer possibly wanted the entry recorded for the aforementioned reasons. That doesn't explain the O/R though.
    – Joe Malt
    Aug 30 '19 at 16:14

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