Every country has different regulations on how many blank passport pages you need to travel. Either one, two, three, or more, here is a guide for each country in the world.
After traveling over 105 countries with a Colombian passport, I mastered the art of managing passport pages and visas. I come from a country where, most of the time, I need to apply for a visa beforehand. Furthermore, if I want to travel to multiple countries on one trip, I have to keep a lot in mind. I must calculate how many empty pages I will have left by the end of the journey, how many visas I need to apply for beforehand, and how many blank pages are mandatory before arrival.
Today, I’m trying to keep my 5th passport for as long as possible, and I want to fill all of its 32 pages before applying for a new one. In this article, I will tell you the number of blank passport pages required by each country and a couple of tricks and tips I learned through the years.
Blank passport pages required by each country before arrival
|Central African Republic||1||Namibia||6|
|ROC||1||Sao Tome & Principe||1|
|The Gambia||1||Swaziland (Eswatini)||2|
Namibia is the country where you need the most amount of the pages to travel to. The Namibian stamp occupies almost an entire page, and if you need an extension permit in Namibia, they will stamp an additional page. I visited Namibia and extended once my visa. I ended up giving 3 total pages on this trip.
NOTE: The United States does not stamp your passport when exiting the country. However, each time you transit in U.S. territory, you need to have all the necessary paperwork as if you were to enter the country – this means visas and ESTA are mandatory for transfers in the USA.
Central America & Caribbean
|Antigua and Barbuda||1||Guatemala||1|
|Cuba||2||Saint Kitts & Nevis||1|
|Dominican Republic||1||St Vincent & the Grenadines||1|
|El Salvador||1||Trinidad and Tobago||1|
Travelers holding a passport from the “Comunidad Andina” do not need to stamp their passports unless they want it. Additionally, these travelers can also just cross between South American countries by land or air with just an official I.D.
|China||2||Papua New Guinea||1|
|East Timor (Timor Leste)||1||Philippines||0|
|South Korea||1||United Arab Emirates||1|
If you enter the territory of Palestine from Israel, your passport will not be stamped – and the blank passport pages rule won’t count. Also, for travelers entering Israel, and the territories of Hong Kong or Macau, the stamp will be printed in a paper, which you will have to keep until the end of your stay.
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1||Russia||2|
This regulation of blank pages only applies to the first country you enter in the European Union. If you travel between several countries of the European Union, your passport will not be stamped (and in most cases won’t be controlled) – except for Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia.
Additionally, you won’t have to pass any border control if you travel overland in other territories like Liechtenstein, Vatican City, Monaco, Switzerland, San Marino, or Andorra.
This is called the Schengen Area, and once you enter the European Union, you can have free movement over these Schengen States. – See the full list here.
The passport stamp of the country of Palau is a full-page pledge, in which you sign that you will protect the nature of the country and not cause any harm.
How to save blank passport pages during long trips
As a basic rule, most embassies and travel experts recommend adding the requirements for each country together if you are planning to visit multiple countries during the same trip. However, I find this rule a bit over-cautious; then, each page can be stamped six times in most cases.
And yes, there are border agents who love to stamp a new page every time they see one. However, if you can keep better control, where border agents can stamp your passport, you can visit many countries only using a few pages.
If I’m traveling with a new passport and want to keep as many pages as possible, I always ask the border officers to please stamp the first page. They might not do it, as many officers consider the first page some kind of taboo. Still, they will keep that in mind and try to stamp you on the first pages of your passport.
Also, if you are running out of pages, and you need to have as many blank pages as possible, simply put a sticky note on your blank passport pages, asking to not stamp there. I’ve done it dozens of times traveling around, and this trick has saved me multiple times. In most cases, border patrol officers find it funny, and they will greet me with a smile and good wishes.
Finally, make the most of the countries that do not stamp passports. Smaller territories like San Marino, Liechtenstein, or Andorra offer “official” tourist stamps when traveling. And while these stamps will not cause you any problem, when traveling to a new country, they might be a bit annoying if you lack out of pages and need to get a new passport because of that San Marino stamp you didn’t need.
Additionally, souvenir stamps are mostly a No-Go. Some countries consider souvenirs stamps an alteration of the passport, and they might deny you entry into the country.
I met once a traveler who got the souvenir passport stamps of West and East Berlin, and later he couldn’t enter Russia because of them. I’ve also heard similar stories with the stamps of Machu Pichu and the Galapagos Islands.
What about visas?
Regarding visas, regulations might also change from country to country. As a basic rule, if you need a visa to a particular country, just add one blank passport page to the amount you need before arrival. However, to make sure the information is 100% true, call that country’s embassy and confirm it.
For the application of e-visas, an additional page won’t be necessary. Also, if you are applying for a visa using a third-party service, they are very happy to help you with the application and inform you about the visa, and blank page regulations you might face.
Companies like iVisa can take care of your visa applications for a fee. This might increase the cost of your trip in general, but if you live in a remote area, your country does not have this embassy, or you simply do not have the time to deal with visas, these companies are a lifesaver.