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Donde Esta ” YOUR STAMP?”
The passport stamping situation is different around the world. For instance, its very ad hoc where I’ve gotten stamped in and out of the Eurozone. Sometimes a country gives me a stamp, sometimes they don’t, but I encountered a unique situation on a recent trip to Uruguay. My buddy didn’t receive a passport stamp on entry to Uruguay, and then upon exit, was questioned as to what had happened, and he couldn’t leave without one. It wasn’t his fault and with language barriers causing more problems, it was a fairly stressful situation that hopefully our experience can ease your mind if you find yourself in our shoes.
We’d taken the Buquebus from Buenos Aires to Colonia 2 days prior. You can read our review on the process, but essentially you pass through both immigration stations back to back. You receive an exit stamp from Argentina, and then two feet later, an entrance stamp to Uruguay. Well, that’s what happened to me.
As soon as we were on the other side of immigration, while still at the Buenos Aires port we noticed my buddy didn’t have a stamp. At the time, the most annoying part of the situation was that he didn’t have that ever coveted passport stamp. We didn’t even think it would be an issue leaving the country. We. were. wrong.
Flash forward two days.
After a great stay at the Carmelo Resort and Spa and with bellies full from the dinner the night before at the Narbona Wine Lodge we arrived at the Colonia port. We tried to check in for our Colonia Express boat ride back to Buenos Aires when we were stopped.
My buddy didn’t have an entry stamp. Technically he was a fugitive of the law, and we suddenly realized that his picture was posted on every telephone poll, empty wall, and 2 liter bottle of soda with MOST WANTED over a picture his face. I joke. But that’s how we immediately felt and luckily between the two of us we could piece together some grade school Spanish.
Resolving the problem
We were told to go to the immigration office upstairs. It’s a one room office with a single attendant. After paying a “processing fee” the attendant simply pulled open a drawer, took a passport stamp, rolled back the dates, and gave my buddy his entry stamp. Pre-dated.
We were then escorted to the Colonia Express desk, then to passport control, expedited through, and pretty much walked straight on to the boat. No questions from immigration, nothing.
The cost? $50
I’m sure this was an honest mistake on behalf of immigration when we entered the country, but I would heavily advise carrying some extra money on you in case this happens, but more importantly check your passport to make sure you receive the proper stamping.
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