I overstayed in South Africa for a week and got this ugly stamp in my passport which bans me from entering South Africa for a year. Now I want to travel to Italy, Paris and London for two months (in total).

Can they see this over-stayed stamp and not let me in?

In other words, can an over-stayed stamp from one country affect other countries?

  • 2
    One tactic used by genuine tourists is to unstick an old visa and use it to cover the overstay stamp. Do you have one in your passport?
    – JonathanReez
    Jul 10, 2016 at 19:57
  • A few countries in the world allow its citizens to have a second international passport. This helps avoid some issues frequent travelers have, such as entering Muslim countries with an Israeli stamp, or traveling while a passport is having a visa stamped into it. I know that the US and, more recently, Russia do allow this. For purposes of visa-free travel, this will work perfectly to conceal the unfortunate stamp you have. However, some countries will request that you hand in all of your passports when applying for a visa.
    – user4551
    Dec 9, 2017 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


While I agree with the first part of @MatthewHerbst's answer, I strongly disagree with his suggestion to "lose" your passport, so take this as a very extended comment if you wish:

It depends a bit on your nationality whether you need a Schengen / UK visa or are eligible for a visa / leave to remain on arrival.

However in both cases either in the visa application and/or at immigration you might be asked whether you had previously overstayed or have or had a ban from some country. It is a very bad idea to lie in this context.

While "losing" a passport might initially sound like a smart idea especially in the case that you do not need to apply for a visa, I highly recommend against it. Losing your passport means there will be a police report/flag somewhere about a lost passport and security agencies are sensitive to this, as a similar strategy is also used by "terror tourists" to camps in Afghanistan/Pakistan/Syria or wherever else the world is on fire right now. There is a chance that immigration is getting wind of this and will give you extra scrutiny. At this point I also would not at all be surprised if the authorities of South Africa and the UK but also Schengen shared access to their databases and already knew about your overstay and now will be very curious as to why you "lost" your passport so recently.

Let me conclude by citing from this excellent answer on another question, citing UK procedures:

The strategy of concealing an adverse immigration event by 'losing' one's passport and getting a fresh, unblemished passport is a poor one. There is a history associated with the passport that is not accounted for in its physical pages, but rather in computer systems linked to the passport number. And a new passport will contain a record linking it back to the previous one. People still try this strategy, however, and when they get caught the results are catastrophic.

If the UK catches somebody doing this, they will get logged (along with their biometrics) as violating Paragraph 320 of the Immigration Rules. That usually means the person can forget about coming here for a long time, if ever. Plus they will tell the US Department of Homeland Security about it (regardless of your nationality). They keep your biometrics on file for 12 years if you have a clean history, and indefinitely if you fall under Paragraph 320.

  • Many countries allow you to get a second passport or to extend the existing one regardless on the number of days left.
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 26, 2017 at 16:53

Yes, the immigration officer can see all the stamps in your passport, and can, at their discretion, refuse you entry into the country (even if you have a valid visa to enter). Further, some countries share databases with this information that might effect your ability to get a visa in the first place.

If you just want to get rid of the overstay stamp, you should "lose" your passport and get a new one. You won't be able to remove your information from a database though if it is in one, or restrict who that information is shared with.

  • 1
    What are the chances that it will happen if I'm comming just for a short visit and i have my tickets booked etc.? Does this over-stay stamp means that I would never be able to enter for sure any country anymore? It doesnt make any sense..
    – Tamara G
    May 5, 2015 at 8:41
  • 3
    All it means is that you overstayed your visa in SA. It has the most effect if you try re-enter SA. However, any immigration officer can see it. It is also a warning to them that you overstayed a visa in another country. They can ignore that warning and let you in, question you about it and let you in, question you about it and not let you in, or simply just not let you in. Immigration officers in most countries have broad authority to deny entry. If they think you will overstay your visa, even if you have a valid visa, flights, money, etc, they have every right to question you about it. May 5, 2015 at 8:45
  • Fair enough. I have a good excuse though (it was the SA authorities mistake, and I can prove it), so lets hope for the best.
    – Tamara G
    May 5, 2015 at 9:19
  • 2
    @TamaraG You can never entry any country for sure, except your home country and possibly anyone they have open borders with. Anywhere else it's ultimately the immigration officer's call and they can turn you away. Having an (apparent) history of overstaying just increases the odds that an immigration officer will take a dislike to you. May 5, 2015 at 10:56
  • 1
    So maybe to get a new passport it's not a bad idea..
    – Tamara G
    May 6, 2015 at 18:31

Previously overstaying by less than 28 days will not attract any mandatory refusal. However, although it should not affect any application, it may be held against an applicant in terms of credibility, depending on the Entry Clearance Officer.

Those who have previously overstayed by more than 28 days are automatically refused entry clearance for different periods, depending on whether or not they left voluntarily and at their own expense or at the expense of the Secretary of State. The same periods apply to those who entered the UK illegally and those who breached a condition attached to their leave. Those who left the UK voluntarily, not at the expense of the Secretary of State are barred only for one year. Those who left the UK voluntarily, at the expense of the Secretary of State are barred only for five years unless they left within six months of being notified of the removal decision, in which case they are barred for only two years. Those who were returned by the Secretary of State involuntarily or deported are barred for ten years.

Where there has been more than one breach only the breach with the longest exclusion period will be applied.

It should be noted that, in practice, the UKBA tends to serve notices of removal on even those who are leaving the UK voluntarily. The probable reason for this is so that the UKBA can record it as a removal for statistical purposes. Any voluntary returnee should therefore try to protect their position in advance by notifying the UKBA of their intention to return and to keep evidence of this.



You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .