Immigration – be careful with their stamps in your passport

Passport with stamps

Your passport is your ultimate travel document. In the last years passports got more sophisticated with the embedded chips containing your biological data and much more. But making errors is human!

A friend recently travelled to South Africa and back. When he left Durban he got this stamp in his passport:

 Passport stamp

This stamp in his passport may cause him some problems especially when entering countries with severe immigration laws.

 Such mistakes happen anywhere in the world. This one just looks funny. We strongly recommend to check the stamp immediately and in front of the immigration officer.

An often seen problem in the Philippines , especially when the immigration officer had worked already 6 to 8 hours: He/she does not really check the validity of your visa. During the day he/she had already stamped hundreds of passports and the 30 days limit for the visa waiver is present in the head like an “Earworm”. Then you risk to get only 30 days of free stay even if you had paid for 90 days at the embassy abroad.

Passport with 90 days visa

This tourist visa (9A) is valid for 90 days, about 3 months.

Passport visa waiver

This visa waiver stamp is valid for 30 days.

Valid for almost all countries is the rule that immigration law supersedes consular law. Or in plain English language:  An embassy or consulate visa can be refused by immigration when you arrive. In such a case keep cool and listen. Sometimes there is just a misunderstanding and you enter after answering some questions.

Passport: Check the stamp immediately in front of the issuing immigration officer!

Check the entry date and the validity date. But also check the exit date. All these date stamps must be correct. If not, kindly ask the officer to stamp the correct information and cancel the incorrect stamp with an officially accepted cancellation stamp. It is also wise to note the name of the issuing immigration officer. One never knows what will happen at the next immigration office.

For more information about immigration and visa in the Philippines, read our “Visa page“.


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15 Responses

  1. Chris M says:

    Hello, I was wondering if you could answer a question I have about the immigration and the 30 day visa?

    Let’s say I arrive in Manila at 00:20 on the 25th October.
    Under normal circumstances, I would get a 30 day visa with a date of 24th November.

    However, let’s say that same flight actually lands early and arrives in Manila at 23:30 on the 24th October, would my passport then have a stamp of the 23rd november or would the scheduled flight time be honored with a stamp for the 24th?

    • waebi says:

      Hi Chris,
      You get your free 30 days visa-waiver on arrial in the Philippines.
      The date in the stamp will be the date of the moment when pass immigration.
      Cheers, waebi

  2. Maria Cristina C Morante says:

    Is the time of arrival stamped in passport during arrival whats the meaning of example then arrival date is feb 19 2018. Thanks

    • waebi says:

      Hello Maria Cristina,
      The date and time of the stamp indicates your time an date when you arrived on Philippines terretory.
      It seems that you arrived on Feb 19 2018. Time is not indicated.
      Cheers, waebi

  3. Art says:

    Hi I’m hoping you could suggest a next course of action. Me and my wife moved to the Philippines and landed at Cebu Mactan on November 14. We requested the baklabayan priviledge we just noticed that they did not put an exit date or wrote 1 year stay on the stamp , but they wrote 1 year stay on the previous stamp I had on my passport from a previous trip. Should I contact them ? Should I be in a computer with the correct exit date listed ?

    • waebi says:

      Did you get an arrival stamp aside or before the balikbayan stamp? If yes, there should be no problem.
      If you cannot prove the date of arrival (stamp missing), go asap to your nearest BI office to clarify the situation.
      Ask your wife to come with you as a witness and bring your passports, flight tickets or airline confirmation and proof of your marriage.

      It might just be a glitch at the airport counter. But it is important for you to have correct legal documents and stamps.
      In worst case, report to the BI Head-Office in Manila, with copies of all supporting documents.

      The BI Head-Office is here: Magallanes Dr, Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila, Philippines
      Their website is:

      Good luck, waebi

  4. Art says:

    On the arrival stamp from November on the line where it says stay until it is handwritten BB. To the right is the arrival stamp from May where it’s handwritten BB in the stay until section but underneath it it says 1 year stay. Both stamps have our arrival dates. Thanks very much for the help

  5. Meledy alzona says:

    Good day.

    When i arrived in philippines last nov 20, I notice the day after that the immigration officer forgot to put stamped my arrival dateon my passport. Is there will be any problem, if so, what shall I do.

    • waebi says:

      When you got a stamp by immigration then it should contain the date in the stamp. This is automatic.
      What might be missing is the date up to which you are allowed to stay.
      Next Monday go to the nearest office of the Bureau of Immigration.
      The list of offices is here at the end of the page:

      If you still have take your flight ticket and/or your boarding pass with you.
      They should immediately correct your stamp in the passport.

      Cheers, waebi

  6. clarisse says:

    Hi! would i be allowed to leave for singapore if i have a valid working visa in japan? my father will be the one to sponsor the trip with my mother and brother to singapore. adding to this, i am currently unemployed. I also asked our accountant in my previous work about my ITR if i can already file so i can get it but she told me that they are going to file it this february by the way my previous work is teacher, i also have valid prc license. my company id was asked to surrender when i resigned. hope you can help me with this. thank you.

    • waebi says:

      Hi Clarisse,
      Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately your questions are beyond the scope of our website and our knowledge.
      Please get in contact with the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs).
      Cheers, waebi

  7. Elenita Esguerra says:

    Me and my husband went back in the Phil. Sept. 8, 2019. We left the country on Oct 12 2019. But the a stamp appears to be Oct 12 2018. What we should do to correct this mistake?

    • waebi says:

      I don’t thin that this would be a major problem in the future.
      But for your peace of mind I recommend to contact the Philippine embassy in your country and ask them about your problem.
      Cheers, waebi

  8. Lyn says:

    Hi. My son is a dual citizen and updated both passports since arriving. So he has no arrival stamp. We are leaving soon. Will he be OK? Thank you po!

    • waebi says:

      Hi Lyn,
      No problem at all. Take the old and the new passport to the airport and show them both.
      This happened to me in 2013. My permanent visa had not yet been re-stamped in my new passport.
      Immigration officers know this situation.
      Have a save trip

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