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After landing at a foreign airport you pretty much go straight to passport control, where an agent receives your passport, swipes it into a computer and then, perhaps after asking a few questions, lets you on your way, with whatever kind of visa you have (either previously received, or a visa-on-arrival). What kind of information does the passport control agent see about the traveller when she or he swipes the passport?

For example, do they see a list of your previous visits to that country, or all of your recent travel? Is the data, generally speaking, stored in your passport itself (e.g. one of the new ones which contain a fancy electronic chip), or in a database maintained by the country?

I am broadly interested in this question, but I can think of a few places in particular that might have interesting policies, due to their immigration and travel laws:

  • The USA (since it is so difficult for foreigners to visit)
  • The Schengen zone (since numerous countries are a part of the zone)
  • Israel (as they frequently question, heavily, visitors who have travelled to certain Arab countries such as Syria)
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    This varies greatly by country. In some countries, they see nothing other than the information you present to them directly. Which country are you asking about? – Flimzy Apr 29 '14 at 16:55
  • I know this varies by country - I was hoping for some different examples from people who are knowledgeable about the subject. – Jason Apr 29 '14 at 16:57
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    We sometimes have somewhat broader questions but the site's format favors specific, practical questions, like “If I go to X, can border agents see Y?”. This one might be too open-ended to have a single correct answer. – Relaxed Apr 29 '14 at 16:59
  • Maybe something we could talk about on the chat? – Relaxed Apr 29 '14 at 17:00
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    It's still asking 3 distinct questions. I suggest focusing on one specific country. Ask multiple questions if you like. – Flimzy Apr 29 '14 at 17:12