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Can I still get passport stamps from Croatia (flying from the EU), Serbia (train from Croatia) and Romania (train from Serbia)?

If not, can I still ask for a stamp at the border as a souvenir?

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I only have anecdotal evidence for you as a Croat who frequently travels with a foreign non-euro passport through ex-Yugo countries. On some of the land borders the agents get quite lazy and will literally just look at the outside of the passport and wave you through. These guys you can quite easily ask for stamp if they don't automatically do it (mime it if they don't speak English, they'll understand) but it will depend on the person you get. I get a stamp about 50% of the time.

My experience with the airports however is that they always stamp.

As for Romania, I've never been so I can't give you any advice there.

  • Thanks that's useful. I will take a train to Croatia, then I guess I will jump out of the train ask them for one if they didn't give me one. Or do u think I have time to do this? – Joythewanderer Apr 1 '15 at 9:12
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    @ItisNotXiaoxiaoJoy in general, when you are about to cross the border a police agent enters the train and asks for the passport to the passengers. This is generally a loooong process (I experienced it in the border with Serbia-Macedonia and Macedonia-Greece). – fedorqui Apr 1 '15 at 10:03
  • @fedorqui this is correct - the border police will come to you on the train. They may ask you to open your bags as well. – Darko Z Apr 2 '15 at 1:07
  • I see, so if I want a stamp, I will ask the police? Or go with them to the border control guy? – Joythewanderer Apr 2 '15 at 20:35
  • The guy who comes on the train is the border police so you can ask them to stamp if they don't do it in the first place. – Darko Z Apr 6 '15 at 23:16
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For Croatia and Romania, it depends on your citizenship and possibly on your country of residence and a few other details but not really on where you are currently travelling from.

These two countries are EU member states and they should not stamp EU passports (nor even require EU citizens from travelling with a passport, if they hold an ID card). I guess it's possible you could convince a border guard to stamp your EU passport anyway but in general they should not do it, no matter where you presently come from.

They are however not part of the Schengen area, which means they perform full border checks for land borders and incoming flights, even from EU or Schengen countries. The same rules therefore make it mandatory to check EU passports/ID and stamp non-EU passports (except for the holders of some types of residence permits). Unlike the UK, which is mostly free to set its own rules, Croatia and Romania have to apply the Schengen rules and show they can perform border checks to the Schengen standard (even if they have not joined yet).

If and when Croatia or Romania finally join the Schengen area, they will lift border checks on land borders with other Schengen countries or flights originating from them but would still stamp the passports of third-country nationals coming from outside the Schengen area. The border between Croatia and Serbia or between Serbia and Romania would thus become the “external“ border of the Schengen area, which means checks for everybody and entry/exit stamps in the passports of non-EU citizens as applicable.

Serbia does whatever it likes, including stamping the passports of EU and non-EU citizens alike.

  • thanks, that is useful. I have a non-EU passport but with a EU residence, so they will stamp me right? – Joythewanderer Mar 31 '15 at 20:20
  • @ItisNotXiaoxiaoJoy Except if you have a residence permit for family members of EU citizens, yes, they should stamp your passport. – Relaxed Mar 31 '15 at 20:34
  • yes I have a residence for EU family member. So I won't get it? Can I still ask for it? haha – Joythewanderer Apr 1 '15 at 9:10
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    @ItisNotXiaoxiaoJoy You can always ask but in principle they should not routinely do it. Serbia is a different story, border guards should probably stamp your passport but they might not care (see Darko Z's answer). – Relaxed Apr 1 '15 at 10:36
  • I will ask them to do it next week and come update the result. – Joythewanderer Apr 2 '15 at 20:36
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To answer myself's question after my experience. When I went out of Belgium to Croatia, the airport custom first said I'm an EU national's family member, so I don't need a stamp, but after I kept asking, he gave me one :) Croatia did give me an outwards stamp on the train to Belgrade, Belgrade also gave me an entry stamp. But Belgrade refused to give me one when I took the train from Belgrade to Romania. Romania did give me both entry and outwards stamps. When I arrived at Belgian airport, they didn't give it to me even I tried to ask quite hard.

  • "But Belgrade refused to give me one when I took the train from Belgrade to Romania" Serbia doesn't stamp foreign passports on exit, so you're fine – Crazydre Dec 20 '17 at 14:47
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Croatia and Romania are supposed to stamp non-EU/EFTA passports (except if travelling with an article 10 or 20 card together with, or to join, the family member on the basis of whom the card was issued), but not EU/EFTA passports.

Serbia is supposed to stamp all non-Serbian passports on entry, and, since March 2018, on exit.

In practice, land border agents in Croatia and Serbia (and the rest of former Yugoslavia plus Albania) frequently don't bother stamping. In particular, when I took the Budapest-Belgrade and Belgrade-Skopje trains, the Serbs literally looked at my (foreign) ID card for two seconds (no, they did not even scan it), and I got the impression that they treat passport holders no differently.

As such, this is a region where if you use a passport, it's a very good idea to remember to ask border guards to put a stamp, as they are supposed to by law, and not getting one could lead to problems getting a foreigner's registration card, or exiting if getting a pedantic officer (which is more likely at airports).

  • "Croatia and Romania are supposed to stamp non-EU/EFTA passports": unless the traveler is traveling under the freedom of movement directive with a card issued under article 10 or article 20. – phoog Nov 28 '17 at 19:13
  • @phoog Edited.. – Crazydre Nov 28 '17 at 19:19
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Yes, Croatia still gives you passport stap no matter do you come with air or land. You need ask on the border. I live in Croatia and each time I go in Slovenia or Hungary I ask them can I get my passport stamp. They said "OK" and that's it. Also if you fly between two EU country you can also ask during passport control to get your stamp. Last year I get in El Pratt, Barcelona passport stamp.

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Yes, you will get stamps. You will only not get stamps when travelling between Schengen countries. Croatia and Romania are not (yet) in the Schengen Area, and Serbia is not even in the EU (though there are non-EU Schengen countries, Serbia is not one of them).

  • @pnuts That would just put it in the same boat as Romania and Bulgaria and force the council to take a stance on the issue. – Relaxed Mar 31 '15 at 19:49
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    As I explain in my answer, that's not the whole story. Being part of the EU (even outside Schengen) means no entry/exit stamps for EU citizens. – Relaxed Mar 31 '15 at 20:33
  • Yep, that's not correct. It is inter-EU travel which ensures there is no stamping (e.g. EU citizen visiting UK/Ireland or vice-versa gets no stamps). Between Schengen countries, the passport is typically not shown at all. – Andrew Ferrier Feb 15 '17 at 13:03
  • @AndrewFerrier EU/EFTA passports are not supposed to be stamped at all, even if entering from or exiting to a non-EU non-EFTA country. – phoog Nov 28 '17 at 19:16

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