World’s Top 50 Country Passport Stamps
A journalist recently asked if she could go through my passport stamps. It also triggered me to have a closer look in my ten passports to find my favourite stamps. The intention was to come up with a top 25 list, but I just couldn’t do it. Call me awful at prioritizing, but here you have my favourite 50 stamps from the 198 countries of the world. With two bonus ones thrown in.
What constitutes a top passport stamp or visa sticker? The design itself matters, how unique or hard it is to get, as well as any good story related to getting it. Or a combination of the above. The most special one is from Laos. Not because it is groundbreaking or spectatular or contains fancy holograms, but because I had run out of empty pages in my passport. Something the police woman at the border at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane wasn’t slow to discover and pinpoint.
– Sir, you do not have any empty pages in your passport, she said.
– Oh, I am really sorry about that. Are there no half-empty pages you can use, officer? I suggested.
– Let us see what we can do, she answered.
That’s when she picked up a new Laos passport from behind her counter, ripped out four pages and stapled them into mine.
– Now you have four new pages, she smiled, before demanding a colour photograph from me.
A true problem solver on an international border? Very rare. And very welcome.
To be fair, I did have my second passport in my pocket, with a lot of unstamped pages, but I wanted to see if she could squeeze another stamp or two into my stamped-out document. She wasn’t into squeezing, she preferred expansion.
I will go through the remaining 46 countries semi-alphabetically, as there are sometimes more than one memorable stamp on each page.
But what about the journalist that inspired me to go through 324 pages of visas and stamps? Camilla Flaatten is a travel reporter for Aftenposten, the biggest newspaper in Norway. Read her story about my passports.