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Last year, I traveled to the UK for a conference. Upon entry, my passport was stamped confirming my entry via immigration.

Upon my exit, surprisingly (and something I'm been wondering about ever since) I went through no immigration. The direction to board flight led me straight to flight check-in, then we boarded the flight.

Below is my entry stamp. Stamped within my Visa stamp, really? My passport, with only an entry stamp, stamped even at the "wrong" side?

I went to the Netherlands this year, got stamped, in and out. Entering ZA, I got stamped. Even leaving and returning to my home country (Ghana), I got both stamped. I find the stamping a standard procedure/protocol.

Yet, with the UK, I left the country without being stamped. I don't know if that was part of the plan or I missed something or what?:

  • Does the UK have a policy of not stamping when people leave the country?
  • Was that a mistake on my part?
  • Obviously, my stay period has expired, and on paper, I'm "not supposed" to be in the country, but without the UK exit stamp, might that affect my visit or travel visa application to UK one day in the future? Because if stamping is mandatory, and I don't have one, then I will be hot if asked, "How did you leave the country without the stamp?"
  • In this case, those who could have determined if I overstayed or not, was the Airline

More info

  • My visa was for a stay up to 29/30 days or so. But I stayed only for 7 days
  • Flight used throughout was Emirates and passed through Dubai on transit
  • Origin was South Africa.
  • Destination Airport was Heathrow

For comparison, below is my Netherlands stamps, both in an out. The Dutch stamped for entry and exit

My Readings/Researches

I came across this result, and one of the answers pointed out, its "No real reason now for UK exit stamp." Really? I see a strong reason to, otherwise, stamping me in is of no real reason then.

One commentator also added: "A loophole which no doubt has been exploited by some foreigners." No idea how someone will exploit that!

And considering this instance, it can lead to some questionings.

  • 4
    It is not a big deal, everybody had the same experience in the UK until last April. Those links refer to exiting Schengen. Please read travel.stackexchange.com/questions/43808/… – Gayot Fow Jul 6 '15 at 14:05
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    Oooh, thanks for that link. Okay, makes sense. @GayotFow – Rexford Jul 6 '15 at 14:06
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    The Schengen zone does both formal Entry and Exit checks. The UK does formal entry checks, and electronic exit checks. As such, this is entirely as expected – Gagravarr Jul 6 '15 at 14:16
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    @Rexford the UK entry certificate (or in layman's terms: stamp) could make a good image for our library. Any chance of improving it? It is validating an entry clearance, if you can get the whole thing, that's wonderful. – Gayot Fow Jul 6 '15 at 15:13
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    @GayotFow sorry I don't understand. You asking for a better resolution/dimension of the UK stamp I added above? – Rexford Jul 6 '15 at 15:28
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The UK, the USA, Canada, Ireland and Mexico do not impose systematic exit controls on departing passengers. You were not "stamped out" because it is currently deemed an unnecessary use of resources. No such exit stamp exists.

Your departure was recorded if you exited by sea, train or by air on a scheduled carrier.

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    So indirectly, you're saying countries that stamped in and out 'wasting resources'? – Rexford Jul 6 '15 at 14:07
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    @Rexford If they also have an open, unpatrolled porous land border with another state as the UK does, then stamping out some travellers probably is. – Calchas Jul 6 '15 at 14:08
  • in my case, I'm an international traveler. Non-stamping someone coming the way from Belgium would make total sense. But that's a different case with someone like me. – Rexford Jul 6 '15 at 14:10
  • @Rexford, sorry I don't understand? – Calchas Jul 6 '15 at 14:11
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    @Rexford You say "The UK doesn't have an exit stamp". He can check with his supervisor. – Calchas Jul 6 '15 at 14:22
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Some countries, including the UK, the US and Canada do not stamp your passport on exit. However, they still know you have left. If you leave by commercial means (such as air, train, etc.) the airline or train company will forward a record of your departure electronically to customs on your behalf. This cuts costs and speeds up the process.

  • In the case of the UK, they might know. Apparently they have 800,000 entries with no matching exits, but also nobody found present in the UK. – gnasher729 Oct 17 '18 at 14:50

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