I just crossed the border from Poland to the Czech Republic, but there was no immigration checkpoint. Do I need an entry stamp?

I have a Canadian passport, so apparently I don't need a visa for a short trip. But if I don't get an entry stamp, then will I have trouble flying out of the country? I do have an entry stamp from when I landed in Poland a couple weeks ago. Is this whole Schengen area basically just one big country, as far as border crossing rules go?

Just to be clear, I flew from the Qatar to Poland, then caught a train to Prague. I will be flying out of Prague to Qatar in two weeks.

  • 2
    It's not a problem for your intenary, but you should prbably be aware that your time within the entire Schengen area as a visa-exempt visitor is limited to 90 days out of the previous 180 days. – CMaster Nov 14 '15 at 14:22
  • It's not commonly known, but when you arrive in the Czech Republic as a foreigner you must register with the police within 3 days. If you stay at a hotel, they normally take care of this for you, but if you are couch surfing or using airbnb you are probably on your own. If you don't register, you probably won't run into any problems. But if you have to deal with the police and you are past the 3 day limit, you will probably pay a fine. – user38428 Dec 27 '15 at 10:17

For the question in the title:

Schengen has nothing to do with customs ... but Poland and the Czech Republic are also both in the EU, which is among other thing a customs union.

There are a few categories of goods that cannot be transported completely freely between the EU countries, due to internal consumption taxes in the various states -- but as long as you're not traveling with largish quantities of alcoholic beverages or tobacco products, you shouldn't need to care about customs when crossing the EU internal borders.

For the question in the body:

As regards movement of persons, the Schengen Area is (still, supposedly, officially) one common travel area with no internal border controls. The entry stamp a foreign traveler gets when entering the Schengen Area means that the Schengen Area has been entered, not just the state whose particular external border the area was entered through.

The exit immigration check in Prague will look for your latest Schengen entry stamp to determine if you have stayed for too long in the Schengen Area. They will not care about where you entered the Schengen Area as long as they can ascertain when and verify that you abided with the 90/180 rule.

  • Note that the permitted amount of cigarettes and alcohol is not all that large. If you're planning to save serious money by bringing them across borders, you're probably beyond the limit. – o.m. Nov 14 '15 at 13:34
  • 1
    @o.m. Are you sure about that? There is no limit on the amount of alcohol and tobacco that can be brought into the UK from other EU countries for personal consumption or to give away as gifts; I'd assumed the situation was the same between other EU countries. If you do bring large quantities, a customs official might be less prepared to believe that it's for personal consumptionand the UK has guidelines about how much might raise suspicion but even that's quite generous (e.g. 800 cigarettes, 110 litres of beer, 90 litres of wine) – David Richerby Nov 14 '15 at 14:36
  • @DavidRicherby, 800 cigarettes are a large amount if you're thinking of immediate personal use. But people are regularly surprised (or pretend to be surprised) that four cartons are the limit. – o.m. Nov 14 '15 at 14:56
  • 1
    @o.m. OK but bear in mind that there is no limit. 800 cigarettes is just the point at which they (at least, if you're entering the UK) will start getting suspicious that maybe it's not for personal use. – David Richerby Nov 14 '15 at 15:12
  • 1
    (+1) @o.m. As David explained, there is no permitted amount, just a guideline regarding what counts as personal use. Thus, you don't need to declare or pay anything merely because you have more than 800 cigarettes with you, legally “personal use” is the only criterion. When push comes to shove, you might have a hard time proving that to their satisfaction but you are under no obligation to approach the customs yourself. – Relaxed Nov 14 '15 at 15:44

If you have nothing to declare, you should be just fine. No need to see anyone.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.