Reader Question: Immigration Officer Accidentally (?) Messed Up My Passport Entry – What Now?

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One of our readers contacted me and asked what to do about a case where an immigration officer stamped her an incorrect entry into the passport when clearing this week,

Remember that you can always email us, send a message via Facebook or use Twitter and include photos too. We’ll try to cover Reader Questions & Comments here several times a week.

The lady cleared Paris CDG immigration yesterday and today she left the Schengen area again when the immigration officer in Germany noticed the entry is actually two days in the future (from today).

Here is what we got via mail:

Hey guys!

Not sure what to do but I’m stuck at Immigration in Cologne because the [expletives deleted] French border officer stamped my passport incorrect with AUGUST 29!! (see picture)

What to do? I have no way of making my flight and it’s already more than half an hour of him checking something. I gave the police my boarding pass and Business Class reservation documents to contact Air France but haven’t heard from anyone in almost an hour. If it matters, I’m Brazilian.

Help!

I answered to remain calm and to call for an officer to inquire what the situation is. As can be seen from the picture the officer fouled up when setting his stamp that day and I had similar cases happening, even to myself as recent as last month where I got an incorrect stamp in Thailand.

In any case these mistakes are very obvious but still come with a lot of trouble. Eventually she made her flight but had no time to process the Duty Free refunds which will cost her plenty of money I’m sure. All this because someone didn’t set a simple stamp right.

How many people you think he stamped during that shift? Must have been thousands who will now likely run into trouble at least if they leave before or on the 29th as it’s obvious to any immigration officer who pays attention (as they should).

I had friends telling me all sorts of stories from HK Immigration back in the day where they apparently missed to stamp a passport completely leading to a 4 hour stay at a holding office (cell) at HKIA to cases where an exit stamp had to be reversed due to a cancelled flight (which wasn’t done properly and caused problems the next half dozen entries).

Conclusion:

If this happens to you and you realize it then plan extra time when departing from the country again. If you notice like in my case that the officer gave you a stamp that expires way before you are entitled to stay and your planned departure exceeds the date I suggest to contact the local Customs & Immigration Department (or ask the hotel concierge to try and do this for you).

Unfortunately in most cases this will involve you going to a government office or back to the international airport to see a customs/immigration office there. And governments don’t pay compensation (unfortunately) unless you sue them which won’t be very successful in 99.9% of all cases. Don’t think this will all blow over without any complications. It could but in most cases it won’t.

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