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When entering the United States as a permanent resident, US immigration agent sometimes doesn't stamp one's passport. Upon entering the United States, is it ok to ask the US immigration agent not to stamp one's passport, and if so, would they always/typically agree not to stamp it? Motivation: reduce passport renewal frequency.

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    I don't think an immigration officer cares about your passport renewal frequency.
    – Max
    Oct 8, 2021 at 10:03

4 Answers 4

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is it ok to ask the US immigration agent not to stamp one's passport,

That depends on your definition of "ok". It's certainly not illegal.

would they always/typically agree not to stamp it?

I don't think there such a thing as "typical" with CBP. I always find them to be very inconsistent and unpredictable. They may agree, they may give you a tongue lashing, they may sent you over to secondary just to make sure you miss your connection.

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Get Global Entry—US permanent residents are eligible if you otherwise meet the program requirements.

I cannot 100% guarantee that nobody will stamp your passport under any circumstances if you have Global Entry, but the normal flow at major ports of entry is that you use your green card at the kiosk and you'll never hand your passport to anyone from CBP unless you're singled out for special attention.

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We on this site are not CBP officers and they are not forthcoming with the minutiae of their jobs (although they did answer confirming the N days/N+1 days out rule) and so we can only guess.

The prevailing wisdom on this site is you are better be boring at the border. Be like everyone else. Make an unusual request like this and you stand out. Not a good idea. Not at all. You might think your request is reasonable -- but it's very obviously not, that's the very nature and the function of the passport -- but the officer will not necessarily agree with your stated reason. They might think you want to be able to hide/deny your visit to the United States to someone for who knows what reason.

So the reaction to this request can vary from "sure" to "you are not allowed to enter the United States, have a nice day".

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  • "we can only guess" -> some travelers may share their experience, e.g. travel.stackexchange.com/a/168839/1810. Oct 8, 2021 at 10:38
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    It is not within CBP's discretion to deny admission to a permanent resident.
    – phoog
    Oct 8, 2021 at 11:19
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    There’s a (big) difference between a CBP officer deciding of their own volition not to stamp a passport, and the traveller asking them not to do it, IMHO. The latter seems almost guaranteed to attract more scrutiny than normal, plus it’s an extra 30 seconds or so of conversation to add to their busy day.
    – Traveller
    Oct 8, 2021 at 11:21
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    @phoog True, but what is within their discretion is making your day miserable by subjecting you to a multi-hour procedure to figure out if they really really have to let you in.
    – TooTea
    Oct 8, 2021 at 19:49
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    @TooTea it can be worse than that -- they can send you to an immigration judge. But they can't just refuse entry and send you back where you came from.
    – phoog
    Oct 8, 2021 at 21:32
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One way you can avoid having your passport stamped is by not having it with you. A permanent resident normally does not need a passport to enter the US; a green card is sufficient.

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  • The problem with this is that it requires 100% watertight plausible deniability as to how you managed to leave the US and go somewhere else without a passport in the first place. Anything that even hints of a lie will not be looked on favorably by any CBP personnel.
    – Peter M
    Oct 8, 2021 at 15:05
  • @PeterM I was thinking more along the lines of "accidentally" putting it in a checked bag. But that is rather risky and could lead to having to replace the passport even sooner.
    – phoog
    Oct 8, 2021 at 21:30
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    (In CBP voice) "So how did you put your passport in a checked bag, before you passed through security at the airport you departed from?"
    – Peter M
    Oct 8, 2021 at 21:39
  • @PeterM "I used my national ID card to pass through the exit controls." Or "I'm coming from Canada."
    – phoog
    Oct 9, 2021 at 8:37

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