What's the meaning of endorse here?

A visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry. The authorization may be a document, but more commonly it is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport.

The closest definition I find from AHD is: to place (one's signature), as on a contract, to indicate approval of its contents or terms.

Could it also be applied here?

  • You double posted so I deleted one – simchona Oct 4 '12 at 17:47
  • @simchona sry, that was an accident, thanks ~ – Theo Oct 4 '12 at 17:49
  • @simchona: But I was in the middle of answering the copy you deleted, damn your eyes! :) – FumbleFingers Oct 4 '12 at 18:07

It's just slightly sloppy usage. From OED - endorse - to confirm, sanction, countenance, or vouch for (statements, opinions, acts, etc.; occasionally, persons)

The stamp itself probably isn't actually endorsed - the primary sense is that the stamp is the "endorsement" authorising entry to the territory.

If you want to be pedantic, I suppose in some cases you could say the stamp was endorsed. If the stamp was actually a bit of gummed paper, it might be stamped/franked to indicate that it really was officially put there. But usually the stamp on a passport is just ink from a stamping device.

Strictly speaking, it should be "...an endorsing stamp in the passport", but that's a bit "wordy".

  • I would probably recast it as "... a stamp endorsing the applicant's passport". The stamp's presence on the passport is what makes the passport official; the stamp actually has an agency role in the endorsement. – user1359 Oct 4 '12 at 18:52
  • @user1359: No, the validity of the passport itself would never be in doubt (or if it was, it certainly wouldn't be "validated" by an entry visa stamp). It's just that in many contexts these days, you don't actually have a visa as a separate piece of paper entitling you to enter certain countries - the border control officials decide there and then that they'll let you in, and they stamp your passport accordingly. – FumbleFingers Oct 4 '12 at 20:22
  • You are right, it's not the validity of the passport that's in question, but whether the bearer has a visa. – user1359 Oct 4 '12 at 20:41
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    or simply, "more commonly it is a stamped endorsement in the applicant's passport." – Jim Oct 5 '12 at 1:07

It means sign, and is the second meaning of the word according to NOAD.

2 sign (a check or bill of exchange) on the back to make it payable to someone other than the stated payee or to accept responsibility for paying it. *(usu. be endorsed on) write (a comment) on the front or back of a document.


To endorse a document is, among other things, to make a mark on it in some way to confirm its authenticity. Originally, any such mark was made on the back of a document, which accords with the word’s etymology. In your example, what is being endorsed is the passport, not the stamp. The writer seems to have got confused, and would have done better to have omitted the word endorsed altogether.

  • Endorse is the correct word for putting a stamp on a document (or, of course, you can stamp an endorsement on it). Stamp itself would be fine were it not usually taken to mean 'postage or gummed stamp', as well as repetitious in this context. – TimLymington May 6 '13 at 16:00

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