Passport stamps, vignettes and codes—examples and common problems
Produced in partnership with Kathryn Bradbury and Rhona Azir of Payne Hicks Beach
Passport stamps, vignettes and codes—examples and common problems

The following Immigration guidance note Produced in partnership with Kathryn Bradbury and Rhona Azir of Payne Hicks Beach provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Passport stamps, vignettes and codes—examples and common problems
  • Reading passport stamps and vignettes issued pre-March 2015—key information
  • The format of immigration stamps/vignettes
  • Examples of immigration stamps/vignettes
  • Warnings, cancellations and approvals
  • Illegible passport stamps, erroneous stamps and failure to stamp

This Practice Note explains and gives examples of the different immigration stamps and vignettes (stickers) endorsed in non-EEA nationals’ passports and common problems with these.

Since the completion of the rollout of Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) and Short Stay Permits (SSPs) in all categories of entry clearance and leave to remain (see Practice Note: Biometric Immigration Documents), the only passport endorsements issued to non-EEA nationals by UK immigration authorities which confer leave to enter or remain in the UK (rather than rectangular landing stamps endorsed on arrival during the currency of a person’s existing leave) are stamps granting leave to enter which can be issued by an Immigration Officer at a port of entry. One common example is the grant of leave to enter as a visitor to a non-visa national.

However, it is important to be aware of what stamps and vignettes were issued prior to the BRP/SSP rollout, as well as those that continue to be issued. This can be relevant when reviewing a person’s current and previous passport(s) so as to ascertain the person’s immigration history (eg in the context of an application for further or indefinite leave to remain, or for naturalisation as a British citizen). It can also be relevant in cases where a person’s existing or previous leave is disputed, eg in the context of preventing illegal