Left UK without passing through Immigration, why?

  • 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.

    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 http://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/43808/is-the-uk-planning-to-introduce-exit-checks-in-2015

    Oooh, thanks for that link. Okay, makes sense. @GayotFow

    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

    @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.

    @GayotFow sorry I don't understand. You asking for a better resolution/dimension of the UK stamp I added above?

    @Rexford, yes but the stamp is validating your entry clearance. Can you get the whole thing? Use MS Paint to redact your personal data.

    @GayotFow where do I send to, or I should just update the question with the new one?

    @Rexford, you can replace the current one in your question, thanks

    @GayotFow done. that's okay? The faded part, isn't my doing. Stamp wasn't inked properly, i guess.

  • Calchas

    Calchas Correct answer

    6 years ago

    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.

    So indirectly, you're saying countries that stamped in and out 'wasting resources'?

    @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.

    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, sorry I don't understand?

    My point is, the UK with other nearby nations have unpatrolled porous border. If a Belgian is returning from the UK, and his passport is not stamped, that makes sense to me and I don't expect his passport to be stamped. However, In my case, having the stamp can mean a lot. Say, upon re-entry to my country, I'm asked at Immigration, "Where's my stamp? How did I leave the country?" what will I say? That 'waste of resource' by stamping can save someone like me hours of interrogation and verification from local authorities who have no idea of the unstamping policy of UK.

    @Rexford You say "The UK doesn't have an exit stamp". He can check with his supervisor.

    Okay, great. Thanks. Glad to learn I'm not at fault then. Please, can you add the link on Gayot's answer, and I'll accept this as answer then.

    @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.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM