There are many times when I'd like to jot a short note in my passport. For example, the business purpose of an entry into a country -- or for countries with automatic passport control and when I don't get a stamp, I'd like to notate my entry and departure.

Can one write in one's own passport? I wouldn't of course write over any stamps, but I might write near them. Or could I use a back page as entry and departure dates?

Yes, I could use a separate piece of paper or a computer file, but having them all in my passport would be handy -- especially when a border officer asks where I've been and why.

And if the laws vary by country, can you note this in your answer? Would it matter if my notations were in ink or pencil? These aren't doodles but business-like annotations and lists.

  • 3
    You'll have to read your country's regulations about that.
    – Neusser
    Feb 17, 2017 at 9:37
  • 9
    the very simple answer is "No".
    – Fattie
    Feb 17, 2017 at 12:39
  • 15
    Notecard + paperclip. You can remove it later.
    – pjc50
    Feb 17, 2017 at 13:33
  • 6
    Possible duplicate of Will doodling on my passport make it invalid? Feb 17, 2017 at 16:07
  • 2
    Not a duplicate as I'm talking about short business-like notes, not drawings. Also, the answer to the 'doodle' question seems to directly contradict the upvoted answer below.
    – RoboKaren
    Feb 17, 2017 at 16:56

2 Answers 2


As a general rule of thumb, anything you write in a passport other than your signature and emergency contacts is considered defacing a passport. This might seem contradictory to real life since Immigration officers write in the passport, but they are authorized to do so by both their government and yours.

I don't know of any countries that would prosecute you for doing so, but they could require you to replace the "defaced / damaged" passport.

But there is also the airlines to consider, as they could deny boarding if they feel your passport has been damaged or defaced.

And there is also the Immigration officials, who could likewise deny entry if they feel your passport has been defaced or damaged. I recently spent a long time in front of the immigration counter because the officer though my passport was defaced as it had extra pages added. He eventually accepted the fact that they were added before the US stopped allowing extra pages.

  • 20
    While your answer is perfectly correct in theory, in practice officials seem to be very tolerant of pretty extreme defacing: qz.com/340974/tattoo-your-passport. Problem is, it only takes one official without a sense of humour to ruin your day. Feb 17, 2017 at 12:15
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Feb 19, 2017 at 22:39
  • Pretty sure UK passports are actually government property - issues to the holder in the name of the Queen. Hence defacing it in any way is defacing government property
    – Gamora
    Jan 28, 2020 at 18:00

The simple answer is NO. My own PRC biometric passport contains a notice which says that "...(this passport) shall not be altered, transferred and/or deliberately defaced". Many other passports contain similar notices.

Writing and/or stamping on passport not for immigration check purposes & outside of the designated emergency contact information page is essentially defacing the passport. There are cases where passports are rendered invalid because of non-immigration stamps and even stickers. While many immigration officers would not care, they could announce your passport invalid if you write on it, if they wanted to do so. So, just get a notebook and please, please don't write on your passport.

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