Tourists could find themselves banned from flights and having to pay hundreds of dollars for an emergency passport if they make this mistake.
Souvenir passport stamps at tourist destinations – which are novelty stamps in your actual passport – could render your travel document invalid.
The famous Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, and the city of Ciudad Mitad del Mundo in Ecuador – where the equator runs through – are among the destinations that offer novelty stamps for tourists to commemorate their trip.
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Souvenir passport stamps from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.Source:Facebook
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Japan, the Antarctic Heritage, Easter Island and the Welsh village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which is famous for having the world’s longest place name, also offer souvenir stamps.
A British tourist found out the hard way last year, after she was banned from flying due to the souvenir stamp in her passport.
Tina Sibley, 60, who is originally from the UK but lives in Spain, had flights booked to Phuket from Madrid in February 2020.
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Tina Sibley had two souvenir stamps from Peru in her passport.Source:Facebook
However, when trying to board her flight, she was stopped – because she had a souvenir stamp from Peru after visiting Machu Picchu.
“Do not get these tourist stamps in your passport!” she wrote on Facebook.
“I’ve just been denied boarding my flight to Thailand because of them. I’m gutted! Apparently they can invalidate your passport and immigrations are getting strict.”
While the British Embassy said her passport was still valid, calling it “rubbish,” she had to get a new emergency document and book another flight, costing her about $1800 altogether.
It’s also something Australian travellers need to watch out for, as the Federal Government recognises only stamps by authorised representatives of foreign governments. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says “alteration or tampering” of passports can stop people from travelling.
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Souvenir stamps can render your passport invalid. Picture: iStockSource:istock
Other countries are just as strict. In Taiwan, a woman was denied entry after her daughter added a Hello Kitty stamp to her passport, while anyone travelling to the United States must only have “foreign countries place stamps or make notations or additions to this passport”.
It isn’t just novelty stamps that can create passport problems for travellers.
Many of the Arab League nations refuse entry to travellers whose passports have evidence they have travelled to Israel.
To counteract this, Israeli border officials instead stamp a separate passport insert that can be discarded by travellers on departure.
A version of this article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
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