We have quarantine rules if you come from some countries in Europe. The border officials will ask you where are you coming from. Do they have this information already and they just test you?

Also what happens if you have a stopover in another country. Will they know that you actually come from another country and not the stopover one?

Just to clarify, I'm a citizen of the country I want to enter (Romania), but there are rules if you come from Italy, Spain, or UK, you have to quarantine for 14 days at home. I can travel without passport, only ID.

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    Just assume they do. Lying to a border official is never a good idea and can ruin your travel for decades.
    – TooTea
    Jun 10, 2020 at 9:57
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    Citizen or not, lying to a government official to evade quarantine regulations can get you fined or even arrested (depending on the country).
    – TooTea
    Jun 10, 2020 at 11:56
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    @Travelguy OK I should have said there is little to be gained and lots to be lost, like if you get some sort of a long term or permanent entry ban for a country. This is not the time for travel, I think that should be pretty clear to everyone right now. Jun 10, 2020 at 13:28
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    The quarantine regulations, in ANY country, are designed to save people's lives. Trying to circumvent them endangers life. Don't be a 'that one'. Jun 10, 2020 at 20:27
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    Please note that one of the first major outbreaks in Romania was caused by an official returning from vacation and lying where he has been. There was a big outrage in the media about him, so it means they did find it out. He is now being charged with gross negligent homicide.
    – vsz
    Jun 10, 2020 at 20:39

5 Answers 5


Some countries require airlines to submit advance passenger information (usually called API, APIS or similar), in which case border control will know where you flew from. Certain countries only do for flights arriving from certain countries (e.g. Spain for non-Schengen flights).

Other countries have no clue and usually couldn't care less, unless an entry requirement is dependent on the point of origin.

A notable case is Tbilisi airport in Georgia, where the border police systematically asks where one flew from, as it's in fact recorded in the entry/exit system.

You say you're Romanian and wish to return home. Romania doesn't have a way of tracking where you flew from, but they'll likely know what flights are arriving around that time, so do research on that beforehand, and simply toss your boarding pass after boarding the flight.

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    Most of your answer is fine and to the point, but the last paragraph seems to suggest deliberately misleading border officers to evade quarantine. Can you provide evidence that this is legal under Romanian law? I was under the impression that TSE typically doesn't advise people to break the law, even if they can get away with it.
    – TooTea
    Jun 10, 2020 at 15:17
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    @TooTea OP wants to know what their reasonable possibilities are, and I answered just that
    – Crazydre
    Jun 10, 2020 at 20:47
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    Also, if you research and find a plane from Norway arrives 20 minutes before yours, and you say you came from Norway and the plane actually hasn't landed yet, you're really in the soup! Jun 11, 2020 at 14:31
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica Indeed, one might want to double check the arrivals real-time info using Wifi (if available)
    – Crazydre
    Jun 12, 2020 at 10:19

There is much less automated exchange of data than what many people assume, so the answer to your question as asked - "do they know" - is probably no. If you however ask: "can they easily find out", you must assume that the answer is yes.

In most cases, the airline is obligated to file a flight manifest with passenger data to the relevant aviation authorities and in some cases even to the immigration authorities in advance. For example, US Customs and Border Protection will always in advance be informed by the airlines about which passengers are coming and from where. If the immigration authorities do not have the information in advance, you must assume that they can get the data from the aviation authorities on demand. These records may or may not include data regarding previous connecting flights. If you however fly from A to B on one ticket from one airline and later from B to C with a separate ticket from another airline, the last airline won't know that you originally came from A and you can safely assume that there are no traces of that flight in the last flight manifest.

If a border officer is in doubt, there are however many other ways to more or less easily find out where you have been. It is nearly impossible to exist nowadays without leaving electronic traces of your whereabouts and especially if you enter your home country, border officials may very well be able to get access to this information if they require so. They don't have it when you present yourself at the immigration desk at the airport, but if you are questioned, something does not add up in your story and they find a reason to investigate further, I would consider it more than likely that the immigration authorities have legal means to request data from e.g. your bank or your cell phone provider, which show where you have been. In many cases, disclosing information about you can even be found in social networks without much effort. Posting a picture of yourself on the beach in country A and a few days later to tell an immigration officer that you haven't been there can easily go wrong.

You must also remember, that you in this case probably not only are breaking immigration laws by lying to a border official, but are (also) violating disease control legislation. The penalties for doing so can be surprising, especially if it turns out that you actually are infected with corona (which currently is an unlikely, but not unrealistic possibility when coming from Europe), lie to circumvent quarantine requirements and then with bad luck manage to infect other people.

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    I would like to add that this is not only legally problematic - there are reasons for the quarantine procedures to be in place. They're arguably good reasons, and OP likely has no way of determining their own infectiousness
    – bytepusher
    Jun 10, 2020 at 21:03
  • @bytepusher in most countries you can now undertake a COVID test without issues, as tests have become abundant. This plus voluntary self isolation and high quality mask wearing on the flight (N95 or higher) can reduce your odds of being infectious to effectively zero. I do understand that this isn't scalable and government rules have their own reasoning, but OP can indeed ensure their infection-free without too much trouble.
    – JonathanReez
    Jun 11, 2020 at 23:16
  • The actual question involves an EU citizen and EU countries, which means that you're not dealing with immigration officials and immigration laws. The UK is an exception, though, and also rather hard-hit by Corona. So returning from the UK will be an issue.
    – MSalters
    Jun 12, 2020 at 11:09
  • @JonathanReez: OP seems to "solve" this problem by not caring about rules, or possibly endangering other people's lives. Jun 12, 2020 at 12:07
  • @MSalters Romania isn't in Schengen, so full border checks. OTOH the UK doesn't do regular exit checks at airports.
    – Crazydre
    Jun 12, 2020 at 15:57

Yes, for many countries, airlines must send APIS data to the destination country containing a complete passenger manifest. The border authorities of such countries will know exactly who was on which inbound flight.

For example, if you enter the US and you use an APC kiosk, the kiosk will ask you what flight you came in on and check this against APIS data. If there is a mismatch you'll get the dreaded X on your receipt and have an uncomfortable conversation with a CBP officer. You should assume that other countries do similar (manual or automated) checks.


The border officials will ask you where are you coming from. Do they have this information already and they just test you?

They could be asking you or they could be testing you, you never know. If you answer with hesitation/uncertainty, I don't think it is hard for them at all to check your passport and your country of origin. Lying is not a good idea, if travel is not allowed from your country, don't travel.

Also what happens if you have a stopover in another country. Will they know that you actually come from another country and not the stopover one?

Flight stopovers are usually linked on a ticket, so immigration will most likely see where you've come from. If you booked two flights on a seperate ticket, they may investigate further and wonder how you went from the stopover country to the destination country when you do not live/reside in the stopover country.

I wouldn't advise travelling, after all doing this could cause you more trouble in the future than it's worth.

  • but if you have a stopover and they ask you where you are coming from, is it a lie to say the stopover country? I think you are technically correct. and if they catch you, you can say that's how you understood the question.
    – Travel guy
    Jun 10, 2020 at 11:30
  • I think it is a lie, your origin country is where you came from. If I was a border official, I wouldn't 'buy' your story
    – Xnero
    Jun 10, 2020 at 11:31
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    @Travelguy are you saying you are arriving (indirectly) from a country which is subject to quarantine, and you want to avoid it? That's most definitely a bad idea.
    – jcaron
    Jun 10, 2020 at 11:57
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    @Travelguy Note that it's unlikely that you're the first one with this idea. It's almost certain that the authorities thought about people travelling through a third country to avoid quarantine and put measures into place to close this "loophole". The officer will likely also ask you what you have been doing where you claim you come from, and pick up any hesitation or anything that doesn't exactly add up.
    – TooTea
    Jun 10, 2020 at 12:01
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    @Travelguy you should aim to be correct. Not to be technically correct, which in this case is just a friendly way of saying intentionally misleading.
    – Chris H
    Jun 10, 2020 at 12:17

I don't know the answer for Romania. But for Canada the answer is "yes", so a similar system could be in place.

In Canada you're required to fill out a form on arrival with your name, passport number etc, and one detail is the flight number you came in on. Recently some airports switched to electronic terminals. You scan your passport and it pre-populates most of the form including the flight number you arrived on. Therefore this information is clearly available and associated to your passport.

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