Are you one of those who love staring at their passports full of stamps? It’s pretty fulfilling when you see the different colours of the stamps decorating the pages, right? But if you have travelled to South Korea recently, you might have noticed that they don’t give arrival or departure stamps anymore.
It started on 1 November 2016. The Republic of Korea formally announced that Korean and foreign nationals would no longer receive exit stamps when leaving the country. They wanted to reduce the long lines at the immigration checkpoint. But those who wish to have stamps on their passports may still request the immigration officer to do so.
Recently, however, the Republic of Korea has moved to stamp-less processing. And this is not just for departing but also arriving nationals. Travellers now only receive an entry confirmation slip. Somehow, it’s good news for frequent travellers. After all, more stamps mean that they may have to renew their passports quickly. But for those who consider it as a souvenir, it’s quite disappointing if you forget to ask for a stamp.
Australia, New Zealand, Canada and a few other countries only issue entry stamps. Israel, Hong Kong, Macau and now including South Korea do not issue entry and exit stamps on passports anymore. When you line up at the immigration control counters, there’s a sign that reads “Korea Immigration issues an arrival confirmation, not a passport stamp”.