Wanderlust and Short Term Travel

6 Rare Passport Stamps You’ve Never Seen Before

These days a passport stamp in many countries is a frivolity- they’ll have you line up in a queue with the OAPs if you insist on collecting one, while your fellow passengers stream past with their electronic visas and robotic ticket barriers. Here’s my guide to the truly rare passport stamps of the world that are indeed worth the wait.

But, my friends, a passport stamp is also a beautiful memorial and a badge of honour. Here are my picks for those you really must grab before you end your travelling days.


Forget the island beauty, this stamp is critical for travellers as the state of climate change leaves question marks over whether this location could even be visited in the future. As with Venice, get your skates on and visit now!

passport visa stamps vanuatu san marino livein10countries

San Marino

The stamp of this tiny land-locked nation is coveted by travellers as it’s extremely hard to get. There are no borders between San Marino and Italy, and no way to reach the San Marinese nation without passing through Italia. Getting the stamp will require some special diplomacy.

passport stamps visa to coolest rarest secret niue north korea livein10countries

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)

Requiring a considerable amount of courage to obtain, but equally a major coup if you could get it. This is one country you may not wish to support, or you might feel tourism is could be a force for good in this country, I leave the decision to all travellers. Note that if you are South Korean this will never, ever find its way into your passport.


This island North East of New Zealand was once known as Savage Island until its original name, Niuē, which translates as “behold the coconut” came into common use. Who wouldn’t want to see that?!

sint maarten abkhazia rare passport stamps livein10countries

Sint Maarten

This island constituting part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands gifts you images of tiny local creatures in its stamp. If that weren’t reason enough to stop by, the island is legendary for the close proximity of its landing strip to the thriving Maho beach, so this is one of the most talked about passport stamps in the world.


Whether Abkhazia is or is not a country depends very much upon who you ask- that would be why it’s an immensely rare passport stamp. If you can talk your way into this hard to access region, and find an official who recognises Abkhazian independence, this stamp could be your memento.

Which stamps in your passport are you most proud of? Do you have any of these rare passport stamps? Have you received the coveted Machu Picchu stamp in Peru?

6 Rare passport stamps you've never seen before

If you like it, then you shoulda put a pin on it!


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons- until such time as I get to visit all of these myself!

By Mr tmtcOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50050008


  1. Sarah

    July 17, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I wish I had more passport stamps. However, so many places don’t stamp passports any more. Sad really because I love to have a visible record of where I’ve been 🙁

    In my current passport I just have a mass of Kenya stamps and quite a few visas. Might have to plan my next trip based on getting a stamp!

  2. Anisa

    July 17, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I guess I would say St. Barth’s or Macau…..

  3. Allison

    July 18, 2016 at 4:00 am

    My “oddest” is Myanmar – which is not so odd anymore, I know. I’d love to add Vanuatu to my list, though!

  4. Karin

    July 18, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Really interesting! I never thought of the San Marino stamp as they have no borders…as for me, I am fine if they don´t give me a stamp when I pass the borders – at least my passport will last a bit longer 😀 Also in my country, you must give the old passport to the police when you get the new one – otherwise you pay a fee for loosing it or whatever…how does it work elsewhere?

    1. Danni Lawson

      December 12, 2016 at 12:46 am

      Yes you do need to keep old passports, and you’re right that it can look a bit suspicious if you have pages full of stamps haha! But hopefully Immigration will start to be openminded towards nomad travellers.

  5. Wanderlustingk

    July 18, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Loved this! I’m super sad about running out of pages in my own passport, but hoping to get some rarer stamps soon! I’ll be getting a Brunei one which is also pretty rare!

  6. The Golden Triangle and the Long-Neck Women – Day Trip from Chiang Mai Thailand - Two Traveling Texans

    December 9, 2016 at 5:55 am

    […] you to get your passport stamped when you enter Laos.  You may also enjoy reading the post about rare passport stamps on Live in 10 […]

  7. LC

    December 11, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I like my Cuban and Kyrgyzstan stamps best! Annoyingly they are in separate passports… but what can you do?

    1. Danni Lawson

      December 12, 2016 at 12:45 am

      I was reading about your adventures in Kyrgyzstan- very cool!

  8. Venkat Ganesh

    December 11, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    I’ve never even heard of 3 of the countries you talk about here. Got a long way to go as well as lots of places.

    1. Danni Lawson

      December 12, 2016 at 12:55 am

      Me too, don’t worry- it’s certainly challenging! 🙂

  9. Andrew Scott

    December 15, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Nice post, Danni! When I was in San Marino and the possibility of getting a passport stamp didn’t even cross my mind! Next time I guess. ?

    1. Danni Lawson

      December 15, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Thanks for your comment- I did the same back in 2014 as the border is so invisible. I also cooked up a plan to get onto a national newspaper front page as San Marino has a ‘technically’ national newspaper that sells front page ad space for 250 euros- not too high a readership though haha!
      Would you ever go back?

      1. Andrew Scott

        December 21, 2016 at 8:19 am

        Wait, so you were on the front page then??? That’s amazing! I’d love to see a copy of that. Yeah, I would definitely go back (I always enjoy seeing how place change), but before doing so there are many other places I’d like to explore further. And yourself?

  10. Thelittlelai: Beyond limits

    January 18, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Wow, I wish I can travel much just like you. Yes, I haven’t seen all that passport stamps and would love to have them in my passport if given a chance. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, these will surely be something I can look up to.

  11. Megan Indoe

    January 18, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Wow, this is such a cool idea! So few people actually travel to these places so what an interesting way to give them a little glimpse of what it’s like to go via their passport! I don’t think I have one rare passport now that I think of it! If I had to pick one of these places today to visit though I would totally go to Vanuatu!

  12. Candy

    January 18, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    What? A North Korea stamp? Now that would be a fun story to tell at any party or social gathering. This was such a unique post and I’m so glad I didn’t throw away my old passport. Going to keep it forever now 🙂

  13. Nicki

    January 18, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    If I am being honest, I haven’t even heard of half of these places. Now I need to go do some research because my geography needs to be updated. Side note, I have a friend who went to North Korea- he actually really liked it there. I was surprised given the state of the government.

  14. Paige Wunder

    January 19, 2017 at 1:21 am

    This is really interesting! I haven’t been to any of these places, and while I have a full passport, I’ve not ventured to any of these rarer spots. It’s interesting to hear about these places, though! Cheers!

  15. Stephanie

    January 19, 2017 at 6:10 am

    The only one I have is Sint Maarten. Unfortunately mt nearly 10 year old passport was stolen this past summer, so I lost some great memories. Hoping the next ten years will be just as great or maybe even better. Hopefully I can collect more unusual and rare passport stamps! Hoping to get most of the Caribbean covered.

  16. Lydia@LifeUntraveled

    January 19, 2017 at 6:10 am

    I still enjoy seeing all the stamps in my passport. I don’t think I have any unusual ones though – will need to work on that!

  17. Sarah Kim

    January 19, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Wow how did you even find these rare passport stamps to begin with? That San Marino one entices me. The North Korean one does not! Even though we have a curiosity for traveling to bizarre places, I don’t believe supporting the North Korean government in anyway! (Long story short– besides all the crap they do, they kidnapped my grandpa and aunt when they tried to wipe out Korean intelligence after the Korean war.) I think not going to N. Korea is part of being a respectable traveler!

  18. Claire

    January 19, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I had my passport stolen too last year, after visiting South America including Venezuela which is a pretty rare stamp these days! I had Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca too, I now have to fill my new passport with stamps – that’s my challenge for the next 10 years! I’d love to cross all these off my list 😉

  19. Aubrie

    January 19, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Loved this post! Definitely gave me some more ideas of where to travel off the beaten path!

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