It is summer vacation time in India in the months of May & June so we planned a trip to the USA – me, Kinnary & Pratham. We had flights via Abu Dhabi since we were flying with Etihad Airways.
It was quite a smooth process at the Abu Dhabi International airport for our departure and we there well in time so we cleared the Passport control with immigration and then security check very quickly. At the immigration counter the officer asked for all 3 passports together and also for the original visa copies and then he stamped all of them loudly, generally that’s how most of them do everywhere. We heard about 6 bangs and we were given out passports to go ahead.
Since we had lot of time before boarding and luckily there was a play zone close to our departure gate we sat there and Pratham started playing. I generally have a habit of checking the stamps what these immigration officers put. I find it funny the way and place they put the stamps – any direction and place on any page they feel like. So i started checking our passports and found the stamps on mine and Pratham’s passport but couldn’t find it on Kinnary’s . I was surprised and checked it atleast 5 times before giving it to her to check but the result same. We also checked the old booklet which is attached to our new passport because of a valid USA visa but still couldn’t find. So we decided that better I go and check on this with the concerned people.
On my way back came security check and I explained them the matter, so the officer there said very casually not to worry since in their record everything is clear and done. But I said what if I need to show it in India when I land after few hours so he said to go and check with the immigration officer. When I explained the matter to the immigration officer ( person had changed in the meantime ) , he called a colleague from inside and asked him to check. The officer came out and checked everything twice before accepting that the stamp was actually missing and so he put the stamp.
When we landed in India I asked the immigration officer at the Mumbai International Airport the outcome of the missing stamp, so he said there are 2 options – one you go back from here to the country you came from and get the stamp or two go to jail !!! I was zapped to hear that and asked him few details so he said if an officer checks and finds the stamp missing it is a serious offence and cannot be pardoned.
Generally I have never seen any of these officers checking the stamps but what if one fine day someone checks it. But when we departed from USA there was no stamp put on our passports because I guess they don’t put it only which confuses me a little on this. So I am honestly not very aware of the outcomes of such situations and would definitely love to hear from people who know about this or may be concerned authority or frequent flyers.