Immigration to use ‘invisible’ passport stamps next year

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The Bureau of Immigration (BI) plans to stop using traditional passport stamps by next year and replace them with “invisible stamps” used by other countries.

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The bureau will use the German-made Extens SmartStamp, which will automatically scan and print immigration stamps on passports. The stamp will not be visible to the naked eye.

“If plans push through, this modern stamp-free clearance system will save much time,” BI Port Operations Division chief Marc Red Marinas said.

Marinas said modernization of the bureau’s processing system would also help stop syndicates who fabricate immigration stamps to send illegal workers abroad, particularly the Middle East.

BI officials were earlier sent to Canada to examine the equipment. By early next year, officials and technicians from Extens SmartStamp will come to Manila to study the BI data system at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Many Filipino jobseekers abroad have fallen victims of those supplying fake immigration stamps. Marinas disclosed that around 400 Filipino travelers were stopped at the NAIA terminal 3 and other airports in the country in the past administration because of fake immigration stamps.

They were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for proper investigation.

Non-stamping of passports has been the system in Hong Kong since 2013 and in Europe.

In Hong Kong immigration, the system was changed to improve efficiency and prevent mistakes. Upon arrival, passengers are issued a slip, which contains the conditions of stay in the former British Colony.

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  1. I as a traveler enjoy and adore the existence of passport stamps. Luckily, I have visited the Philippines and acquired the cute sized entry and exit stamps. But, honestly, the quest of collecting passport stamps is probably a practise that is still thriving for modern wayfarers from all over the world. Passport stamps emulate the sense of collectivism and pride for us travelers. Even by looking at a particular stamp in our passports, we can reenact a visit to a particular country in a period of time. By making it obsolete in the future, there will be something missing to traveling abroad. Passport stamps make such good mementos. I went to Hong Kong and Macau 2 years ago and I had never been to prior to that. At that time, the two autonomous regions of PRC have completely renounced the issuance of passport stamps. I came back home feeling a bit hollow. Sure, I still had fun when I visited both regions, but well, whenever I look at my passport now, there is no recollection of Hong Kong and Macau left on the pages of my travel document. I still save my landing slip though, but the feeling is not the same. You can’t even ask for the stamps even if you want them so bad. So, if the Philippines is so adamant in putting this so called up and coming policy in the future, I think it would be nice to offer stamps for those who request for them.