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ETStar
Topic Author
Posts: 1850
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:25 am

International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:05 pm

While the checking of passports at the checkin counter by the airline is the norm in all countries, a number of countries also require each passenger to pass through an emigration counter where the passport is looked and a shiny stamp placed on it, and exit forms are filled out and given to the officer. I can name Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia as countries that have this policy, and I was wondering if you know of others that do the same? Usually, it includes the checking of the passenger info in some database... I guess it it also done now in the states, albeit electronically through the airline (in fact, when you fly in and out, as airlines are required to provide passport information well in advance).
 
trickijedi
Posts: 3201
Joined: Sun May 13, 2001 4:35 pm

RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:13 pm

Well most (if not all) of the countries I've been to has required me to pass through immigrations and turn in exit forms along with a stamp on my passport. After check-in, immigration follows right after.

The US however, does not have immigration counters upon exit. If there are any forms to be turned in (ie. non-US citizens who need to turn in exit forms for filing), it is given to the airline employees which then forward it to US immigrations.
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
 
roseflyer
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:20 pm

I must admit I am not well educated on the topic, but I thought that the US has no control over who leaves its borders, so therefore the airlines do not give complete passport information and manifests to immigration. From what I understand airlines collect passport information and verify visa information as a form of self preservation because if they fly passenger X from the US to China and China denies entry to person X then the airline is required to fly that person back to the US on the next available flight. So airlines do not want to be stuck with people that are denied entry into a country because it is the airlines fault. The US is pretty unique in that it allows freedom for people to leave the country without being tracked unless they have had this freedom taken away by law. Almost every Asian country does not give this freedom and checks immigration upon arrival and departure. (I apologize if I am wrong)
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
trickijedi
Posts: 3201
Joined: Sun May 13, 2001 4:35 pm

RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:38 pm

RoseFlyer,

I'm not sure whether your reply was directed toward my reply or ETStar's original post but yes you are correct... the US does not control anyone from leaving the country and the only reason one has to provide passport info is for entrance to the destination country, such as approrpiate and valid visas, etc.

Again, I wasn't sure but you may have been also referring to this comment I wrote:
The US however, does not have immigration counters upon exit. If there are any forms to be turned in (ie. non-US citizens who need to turn in exit forms for filing), it is given to the airline employees which then forward it to US immigrations.

If so... this process usualy only applies to non-US citizens. For example, if a non-US citizen enters the country on a tourist visa, he/she is given a form which needs to be turned in to US immigrations when leaving the US. Now, since the US does not have immigration counters upon exit, the airline which flies the passenger to his/her country of destination will now be responsible for forwarding these forms to US immig so they can document the person as having left the country.

In other countries, this is done by the imig officer, not by the airlines.
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
 
csavel
Posts: 1407
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:53 pm

How timely,

Just flew to New York from MEX today, and the IMN form, which you get when you come to Mexico is to be handed in when you leave. In MEX at least, the airlines handle that. Also I think countries that have a departure tax, unless collected by the airlines, will make you pass through emigration. I remember doing this in Lima Peru and Manila,although both were several years ago.
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
 
trickijedi
Posts: 3201
Joined: Sun May 13, 2001 4:35 pm

RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:58 pm

Csavel,

The departure tax in Manila (and assumingly in Peru) is not handled by immigration officers... it's a seperate line just for departure taxes, usually after check-in and before imig and is handled by non-imig airport employees.
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
 
BA
Posts: 10516
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:12 pm

All Arab countries do this.

In Lebanon at Beirut International Airport (BEY), before you can enter the check-in area, you to have all your luggage, belongings, etc. X-rayed and an officer checks to see if you have a ticket and passport. Immediately after that, there is an immigration officer sitting at a desk doing spot checking and he can randomly pull anyone over if they look suspicious and look at the passport, ID, etc. After that, you're in the check-in area and you check-in with your airline as normal. At check-in, they do make sure you have a passport with the right visas just like anywhere else. After you have finished checking in, you can go through the departure customs. Before you can pass through the departure immigration counters, non-Lebanese citizens have to fill out a departure card which is actually somewhat time consuming to do. After that, you stand in line at a pre-check counter where they look to make sure you have filled out the departure card correctly and they look at your passport. Once you complete that, you then stand at one of the immigration counters in which they look through the passport, scan your passport if you have a machine readable passport or type in the passport number to pull up your info. They look through that info, then put in the computer that you have left the country and stamp your passport in the visa section with a stamp that states you have departed Lebanon through Beirut International Airport and the date that you departed. Once you're done with that, you're in the duty free area which also has the 1st class lounges. To get to the gate area, you have to go through security in which your belongings go through an x-ray machine and you go through a metal detector. Once you pass all that, you are in the depature area. When the airline begins boarding, and immigration officer comes to the gate after the gate attendant takes your boarding pass and runs it through the machine or tears off part of it and lets you go into the gate, the immigration officer looks at your passport, browses all the pages, and then you are cleared to enter the jetway.

What can I say....bureaucracy at its finest.  Smile

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
jasepl
Posts: 3499
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:32 pm

ET Star, many other countries stamp your passport both upon arrival and on departure. Of those I've been to, I can it includes France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mauritius etc etc. You don't always have to fill out exit forms for all of these countries though, they only stamp your passport when you're leaving.

Also, not all of them seem to be consistent in stamping passports. I go to France often and they don't stamp my passport at times. I also went to Ireland and Italy this year. The Irish didn't stamp my passport at all, while the Italians stamped it only on departure, which is a bit strange.


The US is pretty unique in that it allows freedom for people to leave the country without being tracked unless they have had this freedom taken away by law.

Not really, Roseflyer. This might be the case for Americans going in and out of America, but not for others. Britain, for example, does not stamp anyone's passport upon departure and neither does anyone need to fill out a departure card.

If you're European and entering a European country, you don't even need a passport. You just need to flash your id and walk past the immigration officer.


If so... this process usualy only applies to non-US citizens. For example, if a non-US citizen enters the country on a tourist visa, he/she is given a form which needs to be turned in to US immigrations when leaving the US. Now, since the US does not have immigration counters upon exit, the airline which flies the passenger to his/her country of destination will now be responsible for forwarding these forms to US immig so they can document the person as having left the country.

That's correct, Trickjedi, from a non-American perspective. We fill in a two-part form upon arrival. The keep the first part at the time of entry and staple the second to the passport. When we leave America, the airline takes the second part and pass it on to imigration. In effect, arrival and departure are tracked. This is also set to change soon, when all foreigners are supposed to be fingerprinted on arrival and departure.
 
bill142
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:35 pm

when I went to Japan last year, all exit information had to be filled out prior to arrival, as it was attached to the arrival card. Once at passport control the cards were separated and the exit card was stapled to the page on my passport. Once leaving the country the passport was scanned, the card removed, stamped and I was on my way.

in Singapore there was someone to scan the passport and put a stamp on it saying that I had departed, but from memory no paperwork needed to be filled out for leaving the country on when entering the country did an immigration card need to be filled out.

In Australia you have to fill out an immigration card when leaving the country, not sure if this if only for us nationals (since I don't remember what is on the card) of if its for everyone.
 
ETStar
Topic Author
Posts: 1850
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:25 am

RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:56 pm

BA, the process at BEY is somewhat similar to that at Addis Abab (ADD). When you enter the building, your suitcases are scanned by an x-ray machine, then you go through the metal detector (they ask you to dump your khat if you have any  Big grin ). Then, checkin with the airline, which visually checks your passport and visa to your destination as well as any transit point. Once you're done with that, you line up to pay the airport fee ($20USD for foreigners, I think 100 Ethiopian Birr for Ethiopians - what a disadvantage for me, as $20 is worth about 170ETB). Then, go fill out the exit form which also takes time, go through emigration and then go up two levels to the departure level (notice that you do not go through a general security check, yet). On the third level is the departure area where you have resto's, ET's lounge, Duty Free etc. Now get this, each gate area has its own security check: so you get out of your gate's boarding area, you gotta pass through security again. Not bad I guess, keeps me secure and employs many brothers and sisters. It's quite a departure to what we are used to in the western world, but you get used to it (at least now at the new terminal in ADD, you do not have to weigh your luggage on this makeshift scale that they had brought in from wherever, which is not part of the checkin desk - those old desks were installed in the 70s and never refurbished, and the scales looked like those used in grain mills, which I am sure you can visualize). On another hilarious note, once arriving at ADD, I caught the immigration officer playing solitaire on the computer as she was bored (I was the first passenger off the aircraft). She was embarrassed and I did not care.

I have to say that both entry and exit in Saudi Arabia were intimidating, and lineups were long. Also, not being able to read the arabic text they write on my passport freaked me out, but the fact that I passed through the desk every time compensated for that!
 
trickijedi
Posts: 3201
Joined: Sun May 13, 2001 4:35 pm

RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:01 pm

Jasepl,
Also, not all of them seem to be consistent in stamping passports. I go to France often and they don't stamp my passport at times.

Yes this has happened to me more than once as well. Apparently France (or at least CDG) is notorious for not stamping passports. Not sure if it's at will or what...

Bill142,
All of the times I have been to SIN I've always had to fill out a form where its other half is stapled to my passport on entry and then collected upon departure. Every time. Even when crossing by land coming from Malaysia. I believe this holds true for Australian passport holders as well.
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
 
USAFHummer
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:04 pm

"In Australia you have to fill out an immigration card when leaving the country, not sure if this if only for us nationals (since I don't remember what is on the card) of if its for everyone."

When I was there in 2001, can't remember if we had to fill out a form on the way out or not, but we definitely went through immigration on the way out and got an exit stamp on my passport...

Greg
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adriaticus
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:17 pm

Out of my own more or less recent experience: Switzerland, Australia, Japan, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, all have emigration procedures where an official looks and/or scans your passport, and stamps a seal. Guatemala used to have the same, but on my last trip, the long lineup at the entrance of the departure gates area had been reduced; now, the officials there were just making sure you had paid the "departure tax".

From earlier years, I've been through emigration controls in Egypt, Morocco, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland an Ukraine.

And talking about this, I had an interesting experience departing from SCL to MEX about three weeks ago: the emigration official shoot this broad smile at me. Before I could handle my passport and departure card, he asked "Señor Correa, how was your stay at Viña del Mar?". I was baffled. How do you know? I asked (still my passport in my hand). "You told me you were going there. Don't you remember me? I'm the official who admitted you into the country five days ago, you were arriving from Sao Paulo". I asked him how in the world did he remember that, and he said "I'm trained for that. I'm a policeman".

So I finally gave him my passport. I was very impressed. And somewhat uncomfortable.

Thought this was interesting to share.

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bill142
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:54 pm

Trickijedi:

You could be right about having a card for SIN. but now that I think back long and hard I vaugley, and I mean vaugley remember having some form of card in there now. I'm not 100% about it tho.
 
Venezuela747
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2004 9:36 am

RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 11:21 pm

Add Venezuela to the list, when you leave CCS (or anyother International Airport) they check you passport and put a stamp on it saying that you have left the country.
ROLL TIDE!!!
 
cloud4000
Posts: 484
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 3:38 am

RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 11:34 pm

Bangladesh also requires this step. Many developing countries do this in order to ensure that Bangladeshis have the required visas to travel abroad. For Bangladesh, this mean every country on this planet.
Boston, USA
 
Iberia340600
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Wed Oct 20, 2004 11:49 pm

the US does not control anyone from leaving the country and the only reason one has to provide passport info is for entrance to the destination country, such as approrpiate and valid visas, etc.

Not exactly true. Airlines are required to process API information(Advanced Passenger Information) on any flight arriving or departing the USA. So the government does know when you are leaving and/or coming into the United Stated. This was implemented on January 1st 2003.
Visca Barça!!
 
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scbriml
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 12:08 am

In my experience, more countries check your passport than don't. This has always been true for me if a visa is required in a particular country.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
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jasepl
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:39 am

Yes this has happened to me more than once as well. Apparently France (or at least CDG) is notorious for not stamping passports. Not sure if it's at will or what...

I've noticed that the immigration people in many countries won't bother stamping the passport of someone who doesn't need a visa. If you ask them to though, they will.

How my passport isn't stamped so often, is strange though. I need a visa to go practically everywhere (except Nepal and Jamaica and a couple of others)!
 
Cory6188
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 am

The only international flights I've been on were from EWR-STT (which is quasi-international), and EWR-PVR. At STT, the departure from EWR and arrival into STT were like any other domestic flight. However, on departure from STT, we had to preclear customs and immigration (kind of like in Canada or Ireland) with normal arrival in EWR.

When we arrived in PVR, we went through customs and immigration in PVR, but upon our return, the checkin process was similar to that at EWR: go to the counter, get your boarding passes, go through security, and go to the gate. Does Mexico have no restrictions on who leaves the country?

Also, on a totally separate note, when you talk about security at each gate, is each gate area sealed off from the ones around it? For US flights, all the departure areas have common seating with a door and desk every so often down the hallway. The only one I can think of with special procedures are CO's EWR-TLV flights with extra security screening at the gate. At other airports, is every flight treated like EWR-TLV?
 
FLY2LIM
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 6:42 am

I believe they are called "immigration" and not "emigration" officials, but I could be wrong. I know that each word describes a different part of the process.
Here is the deal at LIM, the airport I know best. I always do this on AA, although everyone must do the same. First, AA checks your passport and verifies that you have the proper paperwork for the country you are traveling to. Often, they have passengers traveling to a country other than the US but changing planes in either DFW or MIA. These people often have to travel with a pouch around their neck that reads TWOV (traveling without visa) and they are immediately met at the door and escorted to a transit lounge. AA also used to make copies of every passport they checked. As they are doing this, your luggage is put through AA's X-ray machine. Once you are checked into the flight at the counter, you proceed through the immigration maze. You first pay your departure tax (around $28.35 now, up from $25, per person - I always have my family with me and that's 4 people total) at a local bank that has a branch right by the entrance to immigration. There they place the sticker on your boarding pass, which you really don't want to lose! Then this is immediately scanned as you enter the departure area of immigration. Here, you turn in the copy of the form that they had you keep upon arrival to surrender to the authorities. They also ALWAYS stamp your passport. An arrival stamp is one shape and a departure stamp is another shape. If ever they don't stamp your passport you can be in serious trouble because it could mean (in their minds) that you never left the country. After they stamp the passport, you then go through the airport's X-ray machine. Then you enter the duty free area and proceed to the gates. When you arrive to AA's gate, you ONCE AGAIN go through their X-ray machine. Yep, that's 3 times in one evening, the last two are inside the secure area, although you are never too "secure" at LIM. When you finally settle into your seat to await the plane's departure, it's about 30 minutes after you started the process. That is, if you are lucky enough to cut through the first class line because you have some sort of elite status. Otherwise, it could be an extra hour because of the long lines at the departure counter.
FLY2LIM
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jasepl
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RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:00 am

Wow! Some of these sound rather complicated and annoying. Surprisingly, it's relatively straightforward here at BOM:

  • X-ray check-in bags

  • During check-in, airline makes sure you have a visa, if needed, for your destination

  • Go through immigration, where your passport is stamped and the departure card is collected

  • Go down, past duty free, to your gate

  • Boarding pass is checked at the gate and carry-ons are x-rayed

  • Sit and await boarding call
  •  
    Cory6188
    Posts: 2716
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    RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

    Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:04 am

    I think that we've got it the easiest here in the US for international departures (at least for most destinations, TLV aside):

    1. Check in bags and get boarding passes at counter, drop off to TSA if needed.

    2. Go through security along with all the other pax, domestic and international

    3. Sit at the gate waiting area, browse through shops, whatever, until your flight is boarding


    That's it! None of this emigration stuff whatsoever.
     
    ETStar
    Topic Author
    Posts: 1850
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    RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

    Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:16 am

    Cory6188, yep same thing up here in Canada. I also don't remember going through somethind different at LHR and CDG in recent times.
     
    bogota
    Posts: 673
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    RE: International Flight: Check Passport Counters?

    Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:26 am

    I do not know how it works for Americans, but my mother forgot to turn in her departure card as nobody asked for it, and about a month ago when she renewed her US visa, she was questioned about it, as she appeared in the embassy records as she had never left the US. So it seems somebody is watching who leaves and who does not. In Europe my experience is they will stamp your passport in or out of the Schengen area but arriving from within the Schengen area like France into Spain or viceversa there is not even a passport control in or out, while the UK only checks passports on the way in, no emigration what so ever. In Colombia you are checked in and out, and the information is validated on the airport computers both times. As of next year fingerprinting and photos will be taken at airports for all passengers, and in the case of Colombians, the electronic fingerprinting will replace passports at these controls.

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