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How can a country check if I've been to another country?

How can a country check if I've been to another country?

Old Jan 7, 22, 12:38 am
  #1  
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How can a country check if I've been to another country?

Hello!

I looked around but wasn't able to find answers on the forum, nor online.

Let's say I need, for work-related events, to go from my home country in Europe (A) to country B (in East Africa) in week 1, and country C (in the Middle East) in week 2. Country C doesn't allow travellers that have been in Country B in the past 2 weeks.

Scheduling an itinerary that would do A-B-C-A would be the easiest, but that's not possible due to the above reason. If I fly one booking A-B-A and on a second booking A-C-A, is there anyway for Country C to know I've been to country B the week before?

I hold two passports if that helps.

Thanks a lot!
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Old Jan 7, 22, 12:57 am
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Short answer is they probably wont, especially if you have two passports. This is/was quite common for Middle Eastern travel where people would have Israeli stamps in one passport and Saudi visas in another. The obvious danger in the era of social media is leaving a trail that a curious border official might find. I had an embarrassing moment where a Saudi client found some photos Id taken in Israel online once - thankfully it wasnt taken any further after I took down the photos.

Obviously attesting on an entry form that you havent traveled to country/region X is illegal and the consequences of getting caught could be quite severe. Its up to you if you feel that risk is worth it. Your company might also have an issue with you breaking the law like this.

If you fly with the same airline to both destinations they would know, I dont know if theyd care though.
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Old Jan 7, 22, 2:41 am
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Yes there are ways a country can find out where you have been. But country A will not tell country B and so on. That has all sorts of privacy and security issues. The most obvious way is to look through a passport for stamps and that is about the only thing available to an immigration officer at the desk. In the case of Israel they used to allow you to get the entry/exit stamp on a bit of paper instead of in your passport to avoid problems with other countries. If you do try to hide your travel history to avoid things like quarantine then as alex_b rightly says the consequences of getting caught could be severe (prison, fine, barred future entry etc).
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Old Jan 7, 22, 4:45 am
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They certainly can though whether anyone will bother to or not is rightly questioned in the answers above. I agree with 99% of DaveSs answer above with the exception of the part about countries immigration services not helping one another. There are many agreements in place on exchanging information and the difference with the old scenarios like some Arab countries refusing entry to those who had been to Israel or Armenia to Azerbaijan is that Covid restrictions currently occur between friends.

if immigration services have suspicions (or a tip off) and do decide to investigate, however, note that it is more likely that they will directly or indirectly learn things from you. In many countries, they could potentially ask to search your belongings, your phone/email and more. They could also simply ask you question, and despite popular belief, i suspect it would not be easy to continuously lie to officials when being asked questions for several hours in a secondary inspection, not to mention it would be a very bad idea.

As noted by others, the penalties would be very significant if you are misleading them deliberately. So in short big chances youll get away with it unless your travel history is obvious (eg stamp or itinerary) but if they are on to you they will find out and the cost is then very significant.
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Old Jan 7, 22, 4:59 am
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Thank you all for your answers! It seems more reasonable to just cancel my attendance at the first event then

Thanks again!
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Old Jan 7, 22, 5:53 am
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In this digital age, you can generally and safely assume that a border agent in most Western countries will know a lot more about you and your movements than you think. They also usually have specific training and considerable experience in detecting mis-information and know what to look for, it's not exactly an unusual event. Moreover if an agent detects one inexactitude, maybe on something trivial, the usualy mindset would be to find out what else you have to hide.
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Old Jan 7, 22, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
In this digital age, you can generally and safely assume that a border agent in most Western countries will know a lot more about you and your movements than you think. They also usually have specific training and considerable experience in detecting mis-information and know what to look for, it's not exactly an unusual event. Moreover if an agent detects one inexactitude, maybe on something trivial, the usualy mindset would be to find out what else you have to hide.
I don't think this is even limited to western countries; I was questioned about my travel history in Karachi a few years ago. I think it's safe to assume that even "developing" countries are at least collaborating with either western or Chinese (or both) intelligence and share traveler information. I would not break covid rules in any country right now, especially in the Middle East.
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Old Jan 7, 22, 1:00 pm
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Are you flying a different airline as well as using a different passport?? I agree it would be quite difficult to detect and your odds of getting caught are probably low, but I still would not take any chances on stuff like this especially in the middle east

I can share a personal experience from July when I travelled on emirates from DXB-IAH as a non-US citizen and non-green card holder when the US travel bans on europe, china, south africa etc... were still in effect. At the boarding gate, the agent looked through every single page of my passport for entry stamps from any banned country and made me show my reservation proving how I arrived in DXB from my home.
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Old Jan 7, 22, 9:35 pm
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In the early 2010s a USA CBP official asked me about a BKK-BOM flight that I took maybe 6-7 years earlier. He asked what airline I flew, and what my purposes were in both Thailand and India. He was checking my answers against some records in his system, and he clearly had very specific information about previous travels of mine. That flight was on Cathay Pacific (HKG based), between Thailand and India in 2006, and I was asked about it by a CBP official in the United States of America. My point is that countries can definitely see some of your movements beyond their borders, even on foreign airlines. I have no idea how they do it. Fortunately I also have nothing to hide.
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Old Jan 7, 22, 10:14 pm
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Countries **most definitely** share information regarding your movements!!!!!

These are negotiated agreements between and among governments.

Your PNRs are likely readily available to any immigration agent. Having traveled on some difficult routes and faced secondary questioning (usually nothing in Europe, sometimes more challenging in the UK/US)

And the same within Schengen... it pulls information from within and also beyond.

As an anecdote... an Argentinian friend of mine who also has an EU passport traveled to Argentina earlier this year under the US ban from the Schengen zone He spent a few weeks there and then traveled to the US. He was supposed to fly back 3 weeks later from Buenos Aires to Europe.
He was detained at MIA and sent to secondary inspection.

US immigration said "we can see you are scheduled to fly from Buenos Aires to Europe in 3 weeks"
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Old Jan 8, 22, 4:00 am
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How much info does CBP share with other countries?
If I fly from A-B-USA and I’m in Global Entry, my US Passport has NO US entry stamp, would country A know I entered the USA?
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Old Jan 8, 22, 4:26 am
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
How much info does CBP share with other countries?
If I fly from A-B-USA and Im in Global Entry, my US Passport has NO US entry stamp, would country A know I entered the USA?
Same as I mentioned above. Depends on the agreements they have with the US. If its Schengen, CA/UK/AU/NZ or any country in the US visa waiver program you can be pretty certain they share information. They dont need to look at stamps
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Old Jan 8, 22, 9:24 am
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Airline-filed PNRs, previous passport swipes linked to some databases, and passport stamps are the primary means by which border control personnel at airports manage to figure out a chunk of the travel history. They can attempt to do other things to try to figure out more travel history, but it may be far from a complete picture if you’re not carrying too much with you and/or you’re otherwise not in a position to willfully provide access to additional info so as to be an open door.

Even when the UK and Sweden were both in the EU, both countries’ officials were rather clueless about my complete cross-border travel history for travel to/from and within the EU. Even my own government with the most extensive set of resources and cross-border border control-related systems agreements would have a fractional window into my international travel history without that which I provide; and that is when the government has had levels of interest in and access to travel info well above what is accessible to border control agency employees working at any major airport to which I have been.

Originally Posted by nrr View Post
How much info does CBP share with other countries?
If I fly from A-B-USA and I’m in Global Entry, my US Passport has NO US entry stamp, would country A know I entered the USA?
Less than which other countries provide the US. But airline-filed APIS/PNR info can make its way to foreign governments even without CBP sharing. And with what’s in a PNR, it doesn’t take all that much to try to find out more.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jan 8, 22 at 9:29 am
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