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 questions.

  • 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, 2015 at 14:05
  • 1
    Oooh, thanks for that link. Okay, makes sense. @GayotFow
    – KhoPhi
    Jul 6, 2015 at 14:06
  • 5
    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, 2015 at 14:16
  • 1
    @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, 2015 at 15:13
  • 1
    @GayotFow sorry I don't understand. You asking for a better resolution/dimension of the UK stamp I added above?
    – KhoPhi
    Jul 6, 2015 at 15:28

2 Answers 2


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.

  • 1
    So indirectly, you're saying countries that stamped in and out 'wasting resources'?
    – KhoPhi
    Jul 6, 2015 at 14:07
  • 2
    @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, 2015 at 14:08
  • 7
    @Rexford You say "The UK doesn't have an exit stamp". He can check with his supervisor.
    – Calchas
    Jul 6, 2015 at 14:22
  • 1
    more details on who doesn't have exit stamps (and how large other stamps are) at travel.stackexchange.com/questions/27225/… Jul 6, 2015 at 15:56
  • 2
    @Rexford Stamping in isn't a waste of resources: visitors are typically only allowed to enter for a certain amount of time and the stamp is a record of when that time begins and ends. Stamping out doesn't seem to give any benefit to the country that does the stamping. May 8, 2019 at 15:16

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.

  • 2
    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, 2018 at 14:50
  • The UK has increased checks in recent years. 2015 BBC news story.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 7, 2022 at 12:15

You must log in to answer this question.

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