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Newer British passports contain biometric information about the holder that has been encoded into an electronic chip. The EU standard format is for passports to be Burgundy
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The title page of European Union member state passports bears the name European Union, then the name of the issuing country, in the official languages of all EU countries. Here is an old style non-biometric British passport.

A passport is a travel document issued by a national government that identifies the bearer as a national of the issuing state and requests that the bearer be permitted to enter and pass through other countries.

Passports are connected with the right of some protection abroad by the government of the country of which one is a national, and with the right to enter the country of which one is a national. However, the right of protection does not arise from a passport, nor does the right to enter. Each right arises from nationality. A passport proves the nationality of the bearer, and, consequently, his right of protection and his right to enter.

Passports usually contain the holder's photograph, signature, date of birth, nationality, and sometimes other means of individual identification. Many countries are in the process of developing biometric properties for their passports in order to further confirm that the person presenting the passport is the legitimate holder.
See also: List of passports

Though, nowadays, passports are usually required for international travel, that is not always the case. Passports are, in fact, only an internationally-recognised means of identification of the traveller. This requirement may be waived (the terminology may vary in different countries) in individual cases or for classes of travellers. For example, until recently, United States citizens could enter Mexico using a drivers' licence as identification. Also, European Union nationals do not need a passport to travel within the Union.

On the other hand, passports are usually acceptable within a country as a proof of identity.

The ICAO has issued guidelines on the standardization of the layout and features of passports.

In recent years, there have been proposals to include biometric information in passports to improve identity security.


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Chinese passport from the Qing dynasty (24th Year of the Guangxu Reign, or 1898)
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Passport issued in Montenegro in 1887. Prior to the advent of photography, passports had a description of the bearer.

One of the earliest references to passports is found in the Bibical book of Nehemiah. Circa 450 B.C., Nehemiah, an official serving King Artaxerxes of ancient Persia, asked permission to travel to Judah. The King agreed and gave Nehemiah a letter "to the governors beyond the river" requesting safe passage for him as he travelled through their lands, Nehemiah 2:7-9.

The term 'passport' most probably originates not from sea ports, but from medieval documents required to pass through the gate ('porte') of city walls. In medieval Europe, such documents could be issued to any traveller by local authorities and generally contained a list of towns and cities through which the holder was permitted to pass. This system continued in France, for example, until the 1860s. During this time, passports were often not required for travel to seaports, which were considered open trading points, but were required to travel from them to inland cities. Early passports often, but not always, contained a physical description of the holder, with photographs being added only in the early decades of the 20th century, as photography became cheaper and more widespread.

Before World War I, passports were not widely used for international travel, and in most areas, few people had one. According to the website for Passport Canada, "The rising popularity of rail travel in the mid-19th century led to an explosion of tourism throughout Europe and caused a complete breakdown in the European passport and visa system. In answer to this crisis, France abolished passports and visas in 1861. Other European countries followed suit, and by 1914, passport requirements had been eliminated practically everywhere in Europe."[1] Crossing a border was usually very easy, and no supporting documentation or declarations were required. However, internal passports were commonly required for travel within a handful of countries, including the Ottoman Empire and tsarist Russia, where they were commonly held documents.

During World War I, European governments had a greater interest in preventing people with useful skills or potential manpower from leaving, and keeping out spies or other security threats, so passports were increasingly demanded at border crossings. After the war, the new controls were not removed and became standard procedure, although not without controversy. British tourists of the 1920s complained about the new annoyances, and especially about the attached photographs and physical descriptions, which led to a "nasty dehumanisation" in the words of one traveller.[2]

Following the world wars, the League of Nations (Paris Conference on Passports, Customs Formalities and Through Tickets, 1920), and later the United Nations and the ICAO, issued standardization guidelines on the layout and features of passports. These guidelines have largely shaped the modern passport.

In recent years, there has been a movement to introduce biometric information to passports to improve identity security. It is at present questionable whether such technology is sufficiently developed and robust for this task. The U.S., for example, twice delayed the introduction of this technology due to poor reliability.


Ordinary passports are the normal passports issued to most citizens and have no special connotations.

Diplomatic passports are issued to diplomats and diplomatic representatives and other state employees according to the rules of a particular country. Having a diplomatic passport does not necessarily accord the bearer diplomatic immunity. Some countries' visa requirements may have different requirements for diplomatic and non-diplomatic passports.

Official or Service passports are issued to employees (or "Technical and Administrative Staff Members") of a government travelling for work related reasons who either do not qualify as diplomats or are not entitled to diplomatic status under the Vienna Convention.

Special passports are issued to high-ranking state officers and their dependents as a means of officially guaranteeing their exemption from visa requirements.

Alien's passports are documents issued by some countries to non-citizen residents.

A Collective passport may be issued, for example, for a school trip. All children on the trip would be covered by the group passport for the duration of the trip. A List of Travellers (LOT) is an EU varient of the collective passport that can be used for groups of school children. Visa national children may travel visa free within the EU if they are travelling on a) a list of travellers, b) in a party from a school and c) are resident in the state where the LOT was issued. In many cases these children may also travel without any further travel document.

Internal passports have been issued by some countries, as a means of controlling the movement of the population. Examples include the iqama in Saudi Arabia, the Soviet internal passport system, and the hukou residency registration system used in the People's Republic of China.

Emergency or Temporary passports are issued to persons whose original passport has been lost or stolen and who need to urgently travel.

Business passports are passports with extra pages issued to frequent travellers.

Laissez-passer are documents issued by organisations such as the United Nations for their officials.

Family passports are passports that are issued to family units - parent(s) and child(ren).


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The front cover of a passport bears the name of the issuing country, and often its coat of arms or other complex symbol. The cover also generally explains what kind of document or passport it is. In this example - the biometric Lithuanian passport - the cover is not burgundy as not all EU Accession State countries are issuing EU format passports. At the bottom of the document is the biometric symbol.
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The cover of the Venezuelan biometric passport.

Technical characteristics

Historically, there were no internationally agreed standards for passports because they were not generally required for travel until World War I . After the war, the League of Nations Paris Conference on Passports & Customs Formalities and Through Tickets (1920) agreed the first set of standards that were expected of all passports issued by members of the League. With the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in 1947 with 188 contracting states, the responsibility for setting passport standards passed to that authority.

Passports now have a broadly standardised format. They begin with a cover identifying the issuing country, then a title page also naming the country. This is usually followed by pages giving information about the bearer and the issuing authority, (although some European Union member state passports provide this information on the inside back cover of the document). Then, a number of blank pages are given for foreign countries to affix visas, or stamp the passport on entrance or exit. Passports are provided with a serial number by the issuing authority.

It is usual for a passport to have a note (usually near the front of the booklet) requesting and requiring help for its holder. For example, the note in an Israeli passport states in Hebrew (read from right to left) and English:

שר הפנים של מדינת ישראל מבקש בזה את כל הנוגעים בדבר להרשות לנושא דרכון זה לעבור ללא עכוב והפרעה ולהושיט לו במקרה הצורך את ההגנה והעזרה הדרושה

The Minister of the Interior of the State of Israel hereby requests all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer of this passport to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford him such assistance and protection as may be necessary.

Some passports include the note bilingually, for example, New Zealand passports has the note in English:

The Governor General in the Realm of New Zealand requests in the Name of Her Majesty The Queen all whom it may concern to allow the holder to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful assistance and protection.

and in Maori:

He tono tenei na te Kawana-Tianara O te Whenua o Aotearoa i raro i te Ingoa o Kuini Erihapeti ki te hunga e tika ana kia kaua e akutotia, e whakakopekatia te tangata mau i te uruwhenua nei i ana haere, a, i te wa e hiahiatia ai me awhina, me manaaki.

(Note examples from some other countries' passports can be found in their articles; for example, see the United States passport note. For the British passport note, see [3].)

Passports used to carry information (family name, given names, date of birth, place of birth, etc.) only in textual form. In recent years, however, passports issued by many countries have become more complex.

Machine-readable passports are standardized world-wide by the ICAO.[4] They bear a zone where some of the information otherwise written in textual form is written as strings of alphanumeric characters, printed in a manner suitable for optical character recognition. This enables border controllers and other law enforcement agents to process such passports quickly, without having to input the information manually into a computer.

Biometric passports with RFID chips carry supplemental information about the bearer, in a digitalized form. These passports were first introduced in 1998 in Malaysia, and more recently in Australia, Greece, New Zealand, Japan, Portugal, France, Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Norway, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Slovenia, Singapore, Thailand and the Republic of Macedonia. The purported reason for introducing RFID chips in passport is to prevent identity fraud; however, this claim has been repeatedly disputed and proven false by leading researchers worldwide [5] [6]. When technology improves, the embedded chips may also allow rapid clearance through immigration controls with quicker confirmation of identity. Facial Maps are popular for use in Biometric passports as the data (the distances between key facial features) can be gathered from the holder's passport photo without any other information. However, although many countries now have biometric passports very few have introduced the equipment to read them at ports of entry, and in the absence of an international standard it is not currently possible for one country to read the biometric information of another. The Malaysian biometric passport can be used for rapid, automatic clearance only in Malaysia and Brunei, for example.

The use of RFID chips in identity documents also carries important privacy consequences, especially in conjunction with laws requiring to always carry such, that governments so far have been reluctant to even acknowledge exist.


In 1920 the International Conference on Passports, Customs Formalities and Through Tickets mandated that passports be issued in French and at least one other language. Now, many countries issue passports in English and the language(s) of the issuing country.
  • Citizens of Barbados bear a tri-lingual passport in English, French and Spanish.
  • Belgium allows its citizens to choose which of its three official languages (Dutch, French, or German) should appear first in the individual's passport.
  • The face page of the Hungarian passports ("Útlevél" in Hungarian, lit. "Roadletter") is in Hungarian only, though on the inside there is a second, Hungarian-English bilingual page mentioning "Passport" as well. The personal information page offers Hungarian, English and French explanation for the details. An additional page including the explanations in English, French, Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Arabic has been added in recent years.
  • Passports issued by European Union member states bear all of the official languages of the European Union. These are not printed in each location, however. A number of languages (2 or 3) will be printed in the relevant point, followed by a number, which is used as a reference for a page on the passport dedicated to translations into all the remaining languages.
  • United States passports were once issued only in English and French, but are now also issued in Spanish because they are used in Spanish-speaking territory of Puerto Rico. This changed in the second Clinton administration.
  • Soviet internal passports were printed only in Russian and the language of the Republic of the USSR; foreign passports were printed bilingually in Russian and English, though they used French transliteration for names. The same situation exists in present day Russia, except in the newest version, names are no longer transliterated according to the French method.
  • The first page of the Libyan passport is in Arabic only. The last page has an English equivalent of the information in the first page.

Common designs

The member states of the European Union are perhaps the best-known countries to have a common format for their passports. European Union (EU) member state passports have standardised layouts and designs, although the photo page can be at the front or in the back of the booklet and small differences in design indicate which member state is the issuer. Ordinary EU member state passports are burgundy-red, with the words "European Union" written in the national language or languages (e.g. Dutch, French, Finnish, Maltese) on the front, below which is the official name of the country, the national seal, and the word for "passport", in the respective language(s), can be found at the bottom. The European Union passport is a result of consensus, of recommendation rather than directive.[7] It is the underlying nationality, not the passport itself, that yields Community rights.

In Central America, the members of the CA-4 Treaty (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua) have adopted a common design passport also called the Central American Passport. Although the design had been in use by Nicaragua and El Salvador since the mid-1990s, it became the norm for the CA-4 area effective January 2006. The main features are its navy blue cover with the words "América Central" and a map of Central America with the territory of the issuing country highlighted in gold. This effectively replaces the national seals of the different countries with one single element, the map. At the bottom of the cover, the name of the issuing country and the passport type. As of 2006, the Nicaraguan passport (which will be used as the model for the other three countries) is issued in Spanish, French and English. It also has 89 security features, including bidimensional barcodes, holograms and watermarks, ranking it as one of the most secure passport models in the world.

The member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) recently began issuing passports to a common design, featuring CARICOM's symbol along with the national seal and official name of the member state in its official languages (i.e. English, French, or Dutch). The first member state to issue CARICOM passports was Suriname, and currently seven other member states use the common design: St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada. These eight countries are to be followed by the other countries in CARICOM.

The member states of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) had originally planned for a common OECS Passport by January 1, 2003, but it was delayed. Plans to introduce a CARICOM common passport would have made the OECS passport redundant since all full members of the OECS were also full members of CARICOM. Thus by November 2004, the OECS Heads of Government agreed to give CARICOM a deadline of May 2005 to introduce a CARICOM Passport, failure of which would have resulted in the moving ahead of plans to introduce the OECS Passport. As the CARICOM Passport was first introduced in January 2005 by Suriname, then the idea of the OECS Passport was abandoned. Had the passport been introduced however it would not have been issued to Economic Citizens within the OECS states.
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The cover of an Argentine passport with the word "Mercosur" on its top. All Mercosur-members passports must be dark blue and have the organization's name printed on them.

The declaration adopted in Cusco, Peru, establishing the Union of South American Nations signalled an intent to establish a common passport design, but this appears to be a long way away. Already, some member states of regional sub-groupings such as Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations issue passports that bear their official name and seal along with the name of their regional grouping. Examples include Paraguay and Ecuador.

The members of the Andean Community of Nations began the process of adopting a common passport format in 2001. The specifications for the common passport format were outlined in an Andean Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in 2002.[8] The member states also agreed to phase in new Andean passports bearing the official name of the regional body in Spanish (Comunidad Andina) by January 2005, although previously issued national passports will be valid until their expiry date. The passport is currently in use in Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela; Bolivia and Colombia were to start issuing Andean passports in early 2006. Andean passports have a “bordeaux" or burgundy-red colour with the legends in gold. Above the national seal of the issuing country is the name of the organization in Spanish which is centred and printed in larger fonts. Below the seal is the official name of the member country. At the bottom of the cover is the word "Passport", written in Spanish and English. Venezuela recently left the Andean Community and it is likely that the country will no longer issue Andean passports.

National status

Passports invariably contain a comment on the national status of the holder. On occasion this can cause problems because countries with complex nationality laws may issue various passports which are similar in appearance but with differing national statuses, for example the United Kingdom which has developed different classes of citizenship as a result of its colonial heritage and domestic constitution. These different statuses are subject to different visa requirements around the world. Another example is Tonga where a version of Tongan citizenship was available by investment. Many countries therefore accept Tongan passports where the national status is Tongan Citizen but do not accept passports where the holder is described as a Tongan Protected Person, not least because the latter has no rights of residence in Tonga.

Multiple passports dependent on citizenship and residency are also issued in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), where the One country, two systems model has resulted in Hong Kong and Macau having their own passports and immigration regulations, separate from the rest of the PRC. A large number of countries and territories offer visa-free entries to holders of passports from Hong Kong or Macau but not to holders of PRC passports although the national status given in all the passports is Chinese.

Government restrictions and special cases

Although most countries recognise the passports of most other countries, there are a number of exceptions. Generally these exceptions are due to circumstances where one country does not recognise another territory's administration as a sovereign state. Some countries also decline to accept passports that do not afford the bearer the right to live in the issuing country.

Most countries make it a policy not to accept passports issued by authorities they do not recognise as states. The usual one-off exceptions are persons involved in negotiation between authorities (analogous to diplomatic talks) and those offering humanitarian relief. Standing exceptions include passports issued by the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of China (see below). In Brazil, citizens of such countries must apply for a Brazilian laissez-passer, a type of travel document usually allowing only a single entry into the issuing country.

In most countries, passports are state property which may be withdrawn at any time. In some countries the executive authorities may declare a passport void, although such cases may be subject to judicial review; judicial decision may be needed for other countries. For instance, typically, a person on bail must temporarily surrender their passport while awaiting trial if they pose a flight risk.

Many countries issue only one passport per person. Once the passport is expired, the applicant is required to surrender the expired passport or have the issuing authority punch holes through the passport to invalidate it. A growing number of countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, are allowing their citizens to hold more than one passport per person. It may be useful for a person who travels frequently to many countries while one passport is used to obtain a visa, the person may travel abroad with another passport.

Some countries issue passports and exit visas only to those who meet particular political and ideological requirements.


The People's Republic of China (PRC) does not recognise the Republic of China (ROC) as a sovereign state and regards Taiwan as a part of its territory. The ROC, conversely, has not renounced claims to mainland China, although it has been based in Taiwan since 1949. Despite presence of mutual immigration control, neither side of the Taiwan Strait considers travelling between mainland and Taiwan as international travel. The PRC and the ROC never stamp passports issued from the other side.

A Taiwan resident entering mainland China uses a special permit issued by mainland public security authorities and usually collects this permit in Hong Kong or Macau, which must usually be used as a point of transfer. The ROC government once required all Taiwan residents who planned to go to mainland China to obtain official approval beforehand and would administratively fine (NT$ 20,000 to 100,000) those who did not. However, often unable to ascertain if someone has broken this rule as the PRC would never stamp ROC passports, the authorities practically could not enforce the requirement except on those who had lost their travel documents in the mainland. It has been outright abolished except for officials of the administration who still require case-by case approvals.

At a port of entry in Taiwan, there is a conspicuous facility where mainland residents must surrender their passports and other travel documents issued by mainland authorities. On the other hand, Taiwan residents keep their identity documents issued by Taiwan while in the mainland.

Within the People's Republic of China, the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are empowered by the central government, under their Basic Laws, to issue passports. Hong Kong and Macau passports are both special kinds of PRC passport and state that the bearer is a Chinese national with a right of abode in the issuing SAR.

Hong Kong and Macau maintain border controls at all points, requiring passports for foreign visitors and even of PRC nationals from beyond the special region.

In theory, Hong Kong is considered as a part of the People's Republic of China, travelling to and from Hong Kong and the mainland via land route is not considered international travel (although it does for flight) . The Public Security Bureau of the Guangdong province has issued a special permit (dubbed Home Return Permit) for Hong Kong residents who are Chinese nationals to enter and exit the mainland since before the handover. Although it has been proposed that the HKSAR passport should supplant this permit, the proposal was dismissed.

Although many Chinese in Hong Kong hold British National (Overseas) passports (and British citizen passports issued under the auspices of a programme instituted by the UK in 1990s), the PRC Government considers them its nationals, and does not recognise these passports they hold while the PRC does not recognize dual nationality. These people have been using the Home Return Permit to enter mainland China since before the handover.
Further information: British nationality law and Hong Kong

However, permanent residents of either SAR, regardless of nationality, may travel to the other using just their ID card. HK residents are also required to complete an arrival/departure card to enter Macau. Holders of the new electronic ID cards of HK or Macau may now enter HK through an automatic gate with a fingerprint reader.

Although a Hong Kong resident may not use British National (Overseas) nor HKSAR passports in its own right for entering Taiwan, these passports must be used in conjunction with a special travel permit issued by Taiwan's administration. First-time travellers must apply beforehand but most other travellers can collect this permit upon arrival, subject to certain restrictions.[9]

Further information: Entry Permit of HK and Macao Residents (Republic of China on Taiwan)

British Citizen passports obtained in Hong Kong can be used in its own right to enter the Republic of China on Taiwan.

On the other hand, Taiwan residents travelling to Hong Kong apply for entry permits and collect them at specified airlines. Repeated travellers satisfying certain conditions may apply online.


The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus issues passports, but only Turkey recognises its statehood. Such passports are not accepted for entry into the Republic of Cyprus. Until 2003, the Republic of Turkey did not accept passports of the Republic of Cyprus, because it did not recognize that government. Turkey now accepts Republic of Cyprus passports, but does not stamp them; rather, Turkish immigration officials stamp a separate visa issued by the Turkish state.

The Republic of Cyprus also refuses entry to holders of Yugoslavian passports "bearing a renewal stamp with the name 'Macedonia'".[10]


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The data page of an Israeli passport.

Some countries will not allow entries to people with evidence of visits to Israel or used or unused Israeli visas in their passports. To help foreigners circumvent these restrictions, Israel used to not require visitors to have their passports stamped upon entry or advanced visas, making it difficult to tell if a traveller has been to Israel. However since September 2006 they will rarely agree not to stamp passports.[11] In addition many of these nations are aware of the exit stamps placed in passports by Egypt and Jordan at their land borders with Israel and may block entry based on the presence of these stamps. For example, a traveler may be denied entry to certain countries because of the presence of an Egyptian exit stamp indicating the person left Egypt through the Taba Border Crossing, at the Israeli border.

Some nations will void old passports and reissue new passports to their nationals based on the presence of evidence of a visit to Israel, recognizing the passport's function is compromised. The United Kingdom may allow a passport holder to have two valid passports to circumvent the restrictions concerning Israel if the applicant can satisfactorily explain why a second passport is needed when applying. The United States Department of State no longer issues passports restricted for use solely for travel to Israel. Existing Israel-only passports were canceled on April 25, 1992. Current regulations allow that a second U.S. passport may be requested when necessitated by visa processing delays or the possibility of a country denying a visa or entry because of evidence of travel to "certain other countries,"[12], allowing travel to Israel and possibly to "certain other countries".

Countries not accepting Israeli passports are:


Exiting from the region under Republic of Korea's administration (commonly known as South Korea) directly to the North is not international travel from the South's point of view. The Republic of Korea's constitution considers the North as part of its territory, although under different administration. In other words, the South does not view going to and from the North as breaking the continuity of a person's stay, as long as the traveller does not land on a third territory.

The privilege of a passport in North Korea is limited to a select few. Membership of the Korean Workers' Party is essentially a requisite.


Pakistan imposes a requirement on its Muslim citizens when they apply for a passport, requiring them to agree to the following:
  1. I am a Muslim and believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad the last of the Prophets.
  2. I do not recognize any one who claims to be a prophet in any sense of the word or any description whatsoever, after Hazrat Muhammad or recognize such a claimant as a prophet or a religious reformer as Muslim.
  3. I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani to be an impostor nabi and also consider his followers whether belonging to the Lahori, Qadiani or Mirzai groups, to be non-Muslims.
These declarations were instituted by the Islamist military regime of Zia-ul-Haq. The reason for these declarations is to prevent Qadianis for proceeding to Mecca or Medina in Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umra. With the issuance of the new biometric passport in 2005 (in which the religion column was to be deleted), the above declaration would have been made unnecessary. However, this decision was recently reversed by the Pakistan Government on religious parties' resistance. After much debate, the column has come back. New passports will carry religion columns on Page 3; passports already printed will bear a rubber stamp mark declaring the holder's religion. There is no mention of religion on the Pakistani National ID Card.[13]

Saudi Arabia

The Government of Saudi Arabia, like some other governments, does not officially recognise dual nationality for its citizens. Citizens who have dual nationality generally keep this confidential when in Saudi Arabia. If a second passport is discovered, it will be confiscated[1],[2],[3],[4], and the bearer may be arrested.

Spain and Gibraltar

The Government of Spain has had a policy of not accepting British passports issued in Gibraltar, on the grounds that the territory's government is not a competent authority for issuing such documents. Consequently some Gibraltarians have been refused entry to Spain when travelling on these documents. However, the word "Gibraltar" now appears beneath the words "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", as appears in passports of other British colonies and dependencies.


Some countries decline to accept Tongan Protected Person passports, though they do accept standard passports issued to Tongan citizens. These passports are sold by the government of Tonga to anyone who is not a Tongan national or a citizen of Tonga. Bearers of a Tongan Protected Person Passport are forbidden to enter or settle in Tonga, and they are often held by refugees, stateless persons, and groups or individuals who are unable to qualify for a normal passport or who no longer have political access to a passport granting authority.

Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

Citizenship of the Republic of Ireland is no longer given to all those born in the Republic of Ireland. Anyone born in Northern Ireland (which is a part of the United Kingdom) who were entitled to claim Irish Citizenship and apply for an Irish Passport are now subject to the same new rules. Anyone born on the island of Ireland (Northern Ireland or in the Republic of Ireland) before 2004 is entitled to Irish Citizenship. People of Northern Ireland already do have another nationality British citizenship as Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. As of 2005, new restrictions have been in place, excluding entitlement to Irish citizenship from anyone born on the island of Ireland who does not have at least one parent who is an Irish citizen or a British citizen, or one parent who was legally resident on the island of Ireland for at least 3 years prior to the child's birth. Ireland and the UK have agreed that a person born in Northern Ireland will not be considered an Irish citizen until he performs an action that can normally only be done by an Irish citizen, such as applying for an Irish passport. Claiming an Irish passport does not eliminate that person's British citizenship or his ability to also hold a British passport if he wishes.

Irish citizenship can also be claimed by grandchildren of Irish born people, meaning approximately 5 million people in Britain can obtain Irish passports. In the Republic of Ireland a significant number are entitled to British passports through connections by descent or residence with the United Kingdom. Furthermore those born before 1949 can also obtain UK passports as British subjects.

International travel without passports

Further information: Travel with valid passports without a visa

In some circumstances, travel between countries may be done without showing a passport. These include:
  • The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland: Citizens of the UK and Ireland do not require a passport to travel between the two countries. Other EEA nationals must show a national ID card or Passport. All other nationals require a passport. Many nationals also require visas for both countries. :Further information: Common Travel Area
  • The CA-4 countries: Citizens of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua do not require a passport to travel between any of the four countries. A National ID card (Cédula) is sufficient for entry. In addition, the CA-4 agreement implemented the Central American Single Visa (Visa Única Centroamericana) :Further information: Common Visas
  • Travel without passports between the NAFTA countries is becoming greatly restricted: the NAFTA countries are the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and after an announcement on September 2, 2005[14] (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative), all persons entering the United States by airplane, including its own citizens, were required to have a passport, even from Canada and Mexico, starting January 23, 2007. On January 1, 2008, the passport requirement will also be extended to all sea and land border crossings.[15] The Canadian Government has responded to this by stating that soon United States citizens will be required to have a passport to enter Canada.[16] However, for United States citizens, even by air travel, or after January 1, 2008, a passport is not generally required to enter Mexico, but US citizens currently have to show a passport upon coming back by air and will, as of January 1, 2008, have to show one when coming via land or sea as well. Citizens of Mexico, however, were never allowed to enter the United States without passports and visas because of illegal immigration, although since the start of NAFTA, Mexicans have had access to a special visa category that is solely for NAFTA countries (see TN visa).
  • The Nordic countries (since 1952); Denmark (including the Faroe Islands and Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The Nordic Passport Union joined the larger Schengen treaty region in 1997. The difference is that any valid ID is accepted for Nordic citizens, but for Schengen travel a National ID card is needed which few Nordic citizens have, or a passport.
  • Lebanese citizens entering Syria do not require a passport if carrying their Lebanese IDs. Similarly, Syrian nationals do not require a passport to enter Lebanon either, if carrying their Syrian IDs.
  • Indian, Nepalese and Bhutanese citizens do not require a passport to travel between the three countries. However, some identification is needed to cross the international borders of each demarcated territories.
  • Croatia does not require a passport for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who have a Bosnian ID card. Likewise Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Slovenia and Hungary do not require Croatian citizens to have a passport, only a Croatian ID.
  • Serbia does not require a passport for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who have a Bosnian ID card. Likewise Bosnia and Herzegovina does not require Serbian citizens to have a passport, only a Serbian ID.
  • Since the breakup of Serbia and Montenegro, citizens of Serbia and Montenegro can travel between the two countries with only a national ID.
  • Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania comprise the East African Community, and each country can issue to an eligible citizen, an East African Passport. These passports are recognised by only the three countries and are used for travel between those countries. The advantage is that the requirements for eligibility are less rigorous than those for national passports used for "international" travel. Visas are not required by holders of national passports issued by Kenya, Uganda, or Tanzania for travel within the East African Community. However work permits are required.
  • The 16 member states of ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States do not require passports for their citizens traveling within the community, national IDs being sufficient. These include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
  • Russia and some former Soviet Union Republics: the participating countries may require only the equivalent of the national ID card (which is called Internal passport (внутренний паспорт)), as opposed to an "international" passport (заграничный паспорт) that a former Soviet citizen would be required to produce to enter other foreign countries.
  • Many Latin American nationals can travel within their respective regional economic zones, such as Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) and the Andean Community of Nations (Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela) or on a bilateral basis (e.g. between Chile and Peru or Brazil and Chile) without passports, presenting instead their national identification cards or voter registration cards for a limited period. Often, this travel must be done overland rather than by air. There are plans to extend these rights to all of South America under the new Union of South American Nations.
  • Turkey does not require a passport for citizens of Greece that hold a new ID card (the one including the bearer's details in both the Greek and the Latin alphabets.) Greece does require visa (even with a special Turkish green passport) to enter Greece.
  • Citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia) need only a national identity card (also referred to as a Civil ID Card) to cross within the borders of the council.

EU, EEA, and the Schengen treaty

Enlarge picture
The 2003 Swiss passport is labeled in the country's four national languages and in English.
Citizens of the European Economic Area (the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway ) enjoy the freedom to travel and work in any European Union country without a visa, although transitory dispositions may restrict the rights of citizens of new member states to work in other countries. The same rights are also accorded to citizens of Switzerland although they remain separate from the EEA.

European citizens traveling within the European Union do not need a passport, a standard compliant national ID card is however required. Not all EU countries have produced a standard compliant ID card, and in other countries few people have obtained one, meaning that many persons need a passport anyway. The Swedish national identity card is valid only within the countries that have fully implemented the Schengen Agreement, plus Switzerland. [5]
Schengen area
Furthermore, countries that have signed and applied the Schengen treaty (a subset of the EEA) do not implement passport controls between each other, unless exceptional circumstances apply. Customs controls are unaffected by the Schengen treaty. Most of the balance of EU countries, plus Switzerland, have signed the Schengen treaty, but not applied it yet. The main reason is, that, according to EU laws, the member states which had joined the EU in 2004 would have to meet strict criteria with respect to their efforts protect EU external borders before intra-EU border controls between the old member states and such new member states may be lifted. Switzerland requires some time to adopt national databases to those of the EU.

As a consequence of the above, for instance, a French citizen may travel to the United Kingdom, another EEA nation, and then freely work in that country. However, since the UK has not signed the Schengen treaty, they will have to carry at least a national ID card, which will normally be checked at the border. On the other hand, if and when Switzerland applies the Schengen treaty, the French citizen will be able to travel to Switzerland without being stopped at the border, but they will not be able to work freely in that country without authorisation, as it is not a member of the EEA (this notwithstanding the fact that, in most cases, such authorization to work would nevertheless have to be granted by Swiss authorities according to a specific treaty on free movement which had been concluded between the EU and Switzerland). Further, some European countries require all persons to carry or, at least, possess an identity card or passport. So while Switzerland will not check French travellers' passports at the border, they may have to show their ID card at some stage within the country, although in practice this is rare. Except at the border, ID cards are not required by UK law; however, there is a de facto requirement to prove your identity to conduct business. A French traveller would have to show ID to obtain a UK bank account or to prove their eligibility to work.

Refugees and stateless persons

Persons who do not have access to National Passports, for example Refugees and Stateless persons, may be issued a travel document by the Country in which they reside. Holders of these documents generally require visas for international travel and will not be entitled to Consular Protection in the event that they run into trouble while travelling. Exceptions to this include persons holding 1951 Convention Documents who may benefit from some visa free travel as a result of the convention and those persons who reside within the areas of a passport union such as the Schengen system or the Nordic Passport Union. Holders of UK and Irish Travel Documents do not benefit from visa free travel within the Common Travel Area.

The Vatican

The Vatican has no formal immigration controls. As the only entrance to the tiny country is overland from Italy, the de facto immigration requirements of the Vatican are the same as those of Italy. However, having crossed the border into the Vatican, visitors are subject to Vatican law, not Italian; the Vatican retains its authority as a separate state. The Vatican issues its own passports to certain Vatican officials born in foreign countries who need to be permanently based at the Vatican or in other Vatican offices. The pope is always given the privilege of 'Passport No.1', which is reissued with the same number for every successive pontiff.

Immigration stamps in passports

Main article: Passport Stamp
Immigration authorities usually place immigration stamps in passports at a border crossing as part of their immigration control or customs procedures. This endorsement can serve many different purposes. In the United Kingdom the immigration stamp in the passport includes the formal "leave to enter" granted to a person subject to control when they enter the country. Alternatively the stamps activates and/or acknowledges the continuing leave conferred in the individuals's entry clearance. Other authorities, such as the Schengen system, simply stamp a passport with a date stamp that does not indicate any duration and this stamp is taken to mean either that the person is deemed to have permission to remain for 3 months or an alternative period as shown on their visa. In both systems it is not allowed to stamp the passports of persons not subject to Immigration Control, for example citizens of that country (or other EU nationals within the European Union). This is because the stamping of the passport imposes a control that the person is not subject to. This does not apply in other countries where the stamp in a passport simply acknowledges the entry and exit of a person - for example in Australia, Russia or China.

Most countries have different stamps for arrivals and departures to make it easier for officers to quickly identify the movements of the person concerned. The colour of the ink or the style of stamp may also provide such information. In Hong Kong just prior to and after the 1997 transfer of sovereignty from the UK to the People's Republic of China, arrival and departure stamps were identical at all ports of entry--but only those applied at the airport are in black ink. The stamps applied at Hong Kong's sea and land border crossings were applied in purple and red ink respectively. Immigration stamps applied by Macau's immigration service under Portuguese administration had slightly different borders depending on whether the person arrived by land, sea, or air but were all applied in the same colour of ink.

Camouflage passports

Main article: Camouflage passport
A camouflage passport is issued in the name of a non-existent country. It is manufactured by private businesses and sold openly, usually by mail order or over the internet. These are marketed to security-conscious international travelers and tacitly as novelties.

The intended use is mainly to allow a person to conceal their nationality in event of a hijacking, riot or some similar situation where their identity may single him out as a crime victim. To this end, the passports are also often sold with a package of matching documents, including an international driver’s license and similar supporting identity papers. As of 2006, prices tend to range between $400 and $1000.

Camouflage passports are not regarded to be counterfeit documents because they are not purporting to be internationally recognised passports. Nevertheless, some national authorities have expressed concern over the use of camouflage passports in criminal activities, e.g. taking advantage of undertrained personnel to open a fraudulent bank account.

See also

General category Identity documents Passport & Identity document technologies Special passports Incidents involving fake passports


1. ^ History of Passports. Passport Canada. Retrieved on May 8, 2007.
2. ^ Marrus, Michael. The Unwanted: European Refugees in the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. p. 92.
3. ^ Queen and Passport -
4. ^ Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTD). ICAO. Retrieved on June 15, 2006.
5. ^ The ID Chip You Don't Want in Your Passport. Bruce Schneier. Retrieved on September 1, 2007.
6. ^ Scan This Guy's E-Passport and Watch Your System Crash. Kim Zetter. Retrieved on September 1, 2007.
7. ^ Resolutions of 23 June 1981, 30 June 1982, 14 July 1986 and 10 July 1995 concerning the introduction of a passport of uniform pattern, OJEC, 19 September 1981, C 241, p. 1; 16 July 1982, C 179, p. 1; 14 July 1986, C 185, p. 1; 4 August 1995, C 200, p. 1
8. ^ Andean Community / Decision 525: Minimum specific technical characteristics of Andean Passport
9. ^ Taiwan's visa offer a step forward. Taipei Times. Retrieved on November 28, 2006.
10. ^ Passports, Visas & Permits. Cyprus Facts. Retrieved on June 15, 2006.
11. ^ [6]
12. ^ U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual: 7 FAM 1314
13. ^ Application Form. New Passport. Retrieved on June 15, 2006.
14. ^ Do You Have Your Passport
15. ^ Upcoming U.S. passport requirements from Canada & Mexico
16. ^ U.S. will demand passports from Canadians
  • Krueger, Stephen (2nd ed. 1999 and supplements). Krueger on United States Passport Law. Hong Kong: Crossbow Corporation.
  • Lloyd, Martin (2003). The Passport: The History of Man's Most Travelled Document. Stroud, UK: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-2964-2.
  • Salter, Mark B. (2003). Rights of Passage: The Passport in International Relations. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.
  • Torpey, John (2000). The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship, and the State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

External links

Jazz is an original American musical art form that originated around the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in and around New Orleans.


Jazz has been called "America's only original art form.
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travel document is an identity document issued by a government or international treaty organization to facilitate the movement of individuals or small groups of persons across international boundaries.
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government is a body that has the power to make and the authority to enforce rules and laws within a civil, corporate, religious, academic, or other organization or group.[1]
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Nationality is a relationship between a person and their state of origin, culture, association, affiliation and/or loyalty. Nationality affords the state jurisdiction over the person, and affords the person the protection of the state.
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A state is a political association with effective dominion over a geographic area. It usually includes the set of institutions that claim the authority to make the rules that govern the people of the society in that territory, though its status as a state often depends in part on
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Nationality is a relationship between a person and their state of origin, culture, association, affiliation and/or loyalty. Nationality affords the state jurisdiction over the person, and affords the person the protection of the state.
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piece of identification (ID) is a document designed to verify aspects of a person's identity. It is also called an identity document or, if in the form of a small standard-sized card, an identity card (IC).
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Biometrics (ancient Greek: bios ="life", metron ="measure") is the study of methods for uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits.
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The following is a list of passports:

By country and territory

  • Australian passport
  • Austrian passport
  • Argentine passport
  • Armenian passport
  • Belarusian passport
  • Belgian passport
  • Belizean Passport
  • Brazilian passport
  • British passport

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"In God We Trust"   (since 1956)
"E Pluribus Unum"   ("From Many, One"; Latin, traditional)
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Himno Nacional Mexicano

(and largest city) Mexico City

Official languages Spanish (
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piece of identification (ID) is a document designed to verify aspects of a person's identity. It is also called an identity document or, if in the form of a small standard-sized card, an identity card (IC).
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International Civil Aviation Organization

The ICAO flag

Formation April 1947
Headquarters Montreal, Canada
Membership 190 member states
Official languages Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish
Secretary General Taïeb Chérif
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biometric passport is a combined paper and electronic identity document that uses biometrics to authenticate the citizenship of travellers. The passport's critical information is stored on a tiny RFID computer chip, much like information stored on smartcards.
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The Bible is
  • Part of
(see The Hebrew Bible below)
  • Part of a series on Christianity
(see The New Testament below)

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Nehemiah or Nechemya (נְחֶמְיָה
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Artaxerxes (Latin; Greek Ἀρταξέρξης) is a corruption of Old Persian Artaxšacā, "whose reign is through arta (truth)" and may refer to:
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port is a facility for receiving ships and transferring cargo. They are usually situated at the edge of an ocean, sea, river, or lake. Ports often have cargo-handling equipment such as cranes (operated by longshoremen) and forklifts for use in loading/unloading of ships, which may
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Middle Ages form the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three "ages": the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Modern Times.
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Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"
"La Marseillaise"

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Clockwise from top: Trenches on the Western Front; a British Mark IV tank crossing a trench; Royal Navy battleship HMS Irresistible sinking after striking a mine at the Battle of the Dardanelles; a Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks, and German Albatros D.
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Passport Canada is an independent operating agency of the Government of Canada and Foreign Affairs Canada. It operates under the auspices of the Canadian Passport Order, which defines the agency. Prior to March 2005, it was known as the Passport Office.
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Ottoman Empire or Ottoman Caliphate (1299 to 1922) (Old Ottoman Turkish: دولت عالیه عثمانیه Devlet-i Âliye-yi Osmâniyye, Late Ottoman and Modern Turkish:
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Russian Empire (Pre-reform Russian: Pоссiйская Имперiя, Modern Russian: Российская империя,
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Clockwise from top: Trenches on the Western Front; a British Mark IV tank crossing a trench; Royal Navy battleship HMS Irresistible sinking after striking a mine at the Battle of the Dardanelles; a Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks, and German Albatros D.
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A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's major nations. World wars usually span multiple continents, and are devastating.

The term has usually been applied to two conflicts of unprecedented scale and slaughter that occurred during the 20th century.
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League of Nations

1939–1941 semi-official emblem

Anachronous world map in 1920–1945, showing the League of Nations and the world

Formation 28 June 1919
Extinction 18 April 1946
Headquarters Palais des Nations, Geneva
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(and largest city)
Official languages Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish
Membership 192 member states
 -  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
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