Here are my ten most fancy passport stamps. I re-discovered them today in my old documents and decided to post some of the fancier passport pages here. Every stamp and visa has a story of its own to tell.
The Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) visa had a lot of red tape attached. One week after I finally obtained the permit, a civil war broke out which made a trip to that country impossible. Even worse, not being able to travel through Cote d’Ivoire meant to change the entire travel planning for the West Africa trip.
The Abkhaz visa, on the other hand, is relatively rare. Not a lot of people have gone to that region which – technically – is not a recognized as a sovereign state. Another such state is the Hutt River Province. Being the 2nd largest country in Australia, it obviously was on the top of my bucket list. But the stamps from the Hutt River Province are – strictly speaking – tourist stamps, which are considered personal annotations that aren’t allowed in a passport. But everyone does this tourist thing and gets some fancy souvenir stamps in their passport. Other unofficial stamps are the ones from Antarctica. However, there’s no official customs control or immigration process which could prove that you were there.
Countries that don’t exist anymore
Some countries from my older passport have disappeared in the meantime. Such is the case for the former Yemen Arab Republic, which has reunited with the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen to form a new country, called the Republic of Yemen.
Finally, there are the special visa that I once carried. Each time I traveled as a crew member to the US, the immigration officer stamped a sheet attached to the passport. Once this sheet was full of stamps, they removed the paper and attached a blank new one. That was both efficient and very fast allowing a swift customs clearance. Times have changed, and customs procedures have become more cumbersome. But the stamps are still there. Now also serving as a reward for patience, not only as a souvenir from the trip.