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Different types of passports issued in Latvia

A passport is a travel document, usually issued by the government of a nation, that certifies the identity and nationality of its holder for the purpose of international travel.[1] Standard passports contain the holder's name, place and date of birth, photograph, signature, and other identifying information. Passports are moving towards including biometric information embedded in a microchip embedded in the document, making them machine-readable and difficult to counterfeit.[1]

A passport specifies nationality, but not necessarily the place of residence of the passport holder. A passport holder is normally entitled to enter the country that issued the passport, though some people entitled to a passport may not be full citizens with right of abode. A passport is a document certifying identity and nationality; having the document does not of itself grant any rights, such as protection by the consulate of the issuing country, although it may indicate that the holder has such rights. Some passports attest to status as a diplomat or other official, entitled to rights and privileges such as immunity from arrest or prosecution,[1] arising from international treaties.

Many countries normally allow entry to holders of passports of other countries, sometimes requiring a visa also to be held, but this is not an automatic right. Many other additional conditions, such as not being likely to become a public charge for financial or other reasons, and the holder not having been convicted of a crime, may be applicable.[2] Where a country does not recognise another, or is in dispute with it, entry may be prohibited to holders of passports of the other party to the dispute, and sometimes to others who have, for example, visited the other country.

Some countries and international organisations issue travel documents which are not standard passports, but enable the holder to travel internationally to countries that recognise the documents. For example, stateless persons are not normally issued a national passport, but may be able to obtain a refugee travel document or the earlier "Nansen passport" which enables them to travel to countries which recognise them, and sometimes to return to the issuing country.[3] A country may issue a passport to any person, including non-nationals.

A passport is often accepted, in its country of issue and elsewhere, as reliable proof of identity, unrelated to travel.[4]


  • History 1
  • Issuance 2
    • National conditions on issuance 2.1
    • National status 2.2
      • Multiple classes of nationality in a single country 2.2.1
      • One class of nationality in multiple countries 2.2.2
      • Special nationality class through investment 2.2.3
      • Multiple types of passports, one nationality 2.2.4
      • Passports without sovereign territory 2.2.5
    • Validity 2.3
  • Types 3
    • Full passports 3.1
    • Other types of travel documents 3.2
    • Intra-sovereign territory travel that requires passports 3.3
  • Designs and format 4
    • International Civil Aviation Organization standards 4.1
    • Common designs 4.2
    • The request page 4.3
    • Languages 4.4
    • Immigration stamps 4.5
  • Limitations on use 5
    • Asia 5.1
    • Europe 5.2
    • Oceania 5.3
    • South America 5.4
  • International travel without passports 6
    • Africa 6.1
    • Asia 6.2
    • Europe 6.3
    • North America 6.4
    • Oceania 6.5
    • South America 6.6
  • See also 7
  • Notes and references 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


First Japanese passport, issued in 1866.
Chinese passport from the Qing Dynasty, 24th Year of the Guangxu Reign - 1898.
An Ottoman passport (passavant) issued to Russian subject dated July 24th, 1900.

One of the earliest known references to paperwork that served in a role similar to that of a passport is found in the Hebrew Bible. Nehemiah 2:7-9, dating from approximately 450 BC, states that Nehemiah, an official serving King Artaxerxes I of Persia, asked permission to travel to Judea; the king granted leave and gave him a letter "to the governors beyond the river" requesting safe passage for him as he traveled through their lands.

In the medieval Islamic Caliphate, a form of passport was the bara'a, a receipt for taxes paid. Only citizens who paid their zakah (for Muslims) or jizya (for Dhimmis) taxes were permitted to travel to different regions of the Caliphate, thus the bara'a receipt was a "traveler's basic passport."[5]

Etymological sources show that the term "passport" is from a medieval document that was required to pass through the gate (or "porte") of a city wall or to pass through a territory.[6][7] In medieval Europe, such documents were issued to travelers by local authorities, and generally contained a list of towns and cities the document holder was permitted to enter or pass through. On the whole, documents were not required for travel to sea ports, which were considered open trading points, but documents were required to travel inland from sea ports.

King Henry V of England is credited with having invented what some consider the first true passport, as a means of helping his subjects prove who they were in foreign lands. The earliest reference to these documents is found in a 1414 Act of Parliament.[8][9] In 1540, granting travel documents in England became a role of the Privy Council of England, and it was around this time that the term "passport" was used. In 1794, issuing British passports became the job of the Office of the Secretary of State.[8]

A rapid expansion of rail travel and wealth in Europe beginning in the mid-nineteenth century led to a unique dilution of the passport system for approximately thirty years prior to World War I. The speed of trains, as well as the number of passengers that crossed multiple borders, made enforcement of passport laws difficult. The general reaction was the relaxation of passport requirements.[10] In the later part of the nineteenth century and up to World War I, passports were not required, on the whole, for travel within Europe, and crossing a border was a relatively straightforward procedure. Consequently, comparatively few people held passports.

During World War I, European governments introduced border passport requirements for security reasons, and to control the emigration of citizens with useful skills. These controls remained in place after the war, becoming standard, though controversial, procedure. British tourists of the 1920s complained, especially about attached photographs and physical descriptions, which they considered led to a "nasty dehumanization".[11]

In 1920, the League of Nations held a conference on passports, the Paris Conference on Passports & Customs Formalities and Through Tickets.[12] Passport guidelines and a general booklet design resulted from the conference,[13] which was followed up by conferences in 1926 and 1927.[14]

While the United Nations held a travel conference in 1963, no passport guidelines resulted from it. Passport standardization came about in 1980, under the auspices of the machine-readable passports.[15] Such passports have an area 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 these passports more quickly, without having to input the information manually into a computer. ICAO publishes Doc 9303 Machine Readable Travel Documents, the technical standard for machine-readable passports.[16] A more recent standard is for biometric passports. These contain biometrics to authenticate the identity of travellers. The passport's critical information is stored on a tiny RFID computer chip, much like information stored on smartcards. Like some smartcards, the passport book design calls for an embedded contactless chip that is able to hold digital signature data to ensure the integrity of the passport and the biometric data.


Historically, legal authority to issue passports is founded on the exercise of each nation’s executive discretion (or Crown prerogative). Certain legal tenets follow, namely: first, passports are issued in the name of the state; second, no person has a legal right to be issued a passport; third, each nation’s government, in exercising its executive discretion, has complete and unfettered discretion to refuse to issue or to revoke a passport; and fourth, that the latter discretion is not subject to judicial review. However, legal scholars like A.J. Arkelian have argued that evolutions in both the constitutional law of democratic nations and the international law applicable to all nations now render those historical tenets both obsolete and unlawful.[17][18]

Under some circumstances some countries allow people to hold more than one passport document; the UK is one example. This applies usually to people who travel a lot on business, and may need to have, say, a passport to travel on while another is awaiting a visa for another country. Reasons and supporting documentation (such as a letter from an employer) must be provided to apply for a second UK document.[19][20]

National conditions on issuance

Many countries issue only one passport to each national (an exception is the Family Passport, see below under "Types"). When passport holders apply for a new passport (commonly, due to expiration of an old passport or lack of blank pages), they may be required to surrender the old passport for invalidation. In some circumstances an expired passport is not required to be surrendered or invalidated (for example, if it contains an unexpired visa).

Under the law of most countries, passports are government property, and may be limited or revoked at any time, usually on specified grounds, and possibly subject to judicial review. In many countries, surrender of the passport is a condition of granting bail in lieu of imprisonment for a pending criminal trial.[21]

Each country sets its own conditions for the issue of passports.[22] For example, Pakistan requires applicants to be interviewed before a Pakistani passport will be granted.[23]

Some countries limit the issuance of passports, where incoming and outgoing international travels are highly regulated, such as North Korea, where general use passports are the privilege of a very small number of people trusted by the government. Other countries put requirements on their citizens in order to be granted passports, such as Finland, where male citizens aged 18–30 years must prove that they have completed, or are exempt from, their obligatory military service to be granted an unrestricted passport; otherwise a passport is issued valid only until the end of their 28th year, to ensure that they return to carry out military service.[24] Other countries with obligatory military service, such as Syria, have similar requirements.[25]

National status

A Chinese Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents, issued by the PRC for Taiwanese people

Passports contain a statement of the nationality of the holder. In most countries, one class of nationality exists for every citizen, and only one type of ordinary passport exists for them. However, several types of exceptions exist:

Multiple classes of nationality in a single country

A country, such as the United Kingdom has a number of classes of United Kingdom nationality due to its colonial history. As a result, the United Kingdom issues various passports which are similar in appearance but are representative of different statuses, which in turn has caused foreign governments to subject holders of different UK passports to different entry requirements.

One class of nationality in multiple countries

A single class can also exist across more than one country. For example, a single class of nationality is available for the three constituent countries of Denmark, all four constituent countries of the The Netherlands and all the constituent states and territories of New Zealand.

Special nationality class through investment

In rare instances a nationality is available through investment. Some investors have been described in Tongan passports as 'a Tongan protected person', a status which does not necessarily carry with it the right of abode in Tonga.[26]

Multiple types of passports, one nationality

The People's Republic of China (PRC) authorizes its Special Administrative Regions (Hong Kong and Macau) to issue passports to their permanent residents with Chinese nationality under the "one country, two systems" arrangement. Visa policies imposed by foreign authorities on Hong Kong and Macau permanent residents holding such passports are different from those holding ordinary passports of the People's Republic of China.

Passports without sovereign territory

Several entities without a sovereign territory issue documents described as passports, most notably Iroquois League,[27][28] the Aboriginal Provisional Government in Australia and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.[29] Such documents are not necessarily accepted for entry into a country.


Passports have a limited validity, usually between 5 and 10 years.

Adult passport validity across the world

Many countries require a remaining passport validity of no less than six months on arrival, as well as having at least one or two blank pages.[30] These countries include: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei, Cambodia, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, Guyana, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq (except when arriving at Basra, Erbil or Sulaimaniyah, which only require 3 months validity on arrival), Israel, Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Taiwan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

Countries requiring remaining validity of at least four months on arrival include Micronesia and Zambia.

Countries requiring remaining validity of at least three months on arrival include Honduras, Iceland, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Nauru, New Zealand, Panama, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

Countries requiring remaining validity of at least 1 month on arrival include Eritrea, Hong Kong, Macau, and South Africa. Other countries require either a passport valid on arrival or passport valid throughout the period of intended stay.[31]


An Indian Diplomatic Passport and an Official Passport. These passports serve supplementary functions to an ordinary Indian passport. Each passport type has a different color.

A rough standardization exists in types of passports throughout the world, although passport types, number of pages and definitions can vary by country.

Full passports

  • Passport (also called tourist passport or regular passport) — The most common form of passport, issued to citizens and other nationals. Occasionally, children are registered within the parents' passport, making it equivalent to a family passport.
  • Official passport (also called service passport or special passport) — Issued to government employees for work-related travel, and their accompanying dependents.
  • Diplomatic passport — Issued to diplomats of a country and their accompanying dependants for official international travel and residence. Accredited diplomats of certain grades may be granted diplomatic immunity by a host country, but this is not automatically conferred by holding a diplomatic passport. Any diplomatic privileges apply in the country to which the diplomat is accredited; elsewhere diplomatic passport holders must adhere to the same regulations and travel procedures as are required of other nationals of their country.
  • Emergency passport (also called temporary passport) — Issued to persons whose passports were lost or stolen, without time to obtain a replacement. Laissez-passer are also used for this purpose.
  • Collective passport — Issued to defined groups for travel together to particular destinations, such as a group of school children on a school trip.
  • Family passport — Issued to an entire family. There is one passport holder, who may travel alone or with other family members included in the passport. A family member who is not the passport holder cannot use the passport for travel without the passport holder.

Other types of travel documents

Nansen passport for refugees (now defunct)

Intra-sovereign territory travel that requires passports

For some countries, passports are required for some types of travel between their sovereign territories. Two examples of this are:

  • Hong Kong and Macau, both Chinese special administrative regions (SARs), have their own immigration control systems different from each other and mainland China. Travelling between the three is technically not international, so residents of the three locations do not use passports to travel between the three places, instead using other documents, such as the Mainland Travel Permit (for the people of Hong Kong and Macau). Foreigners are required to present their passports with applicable visas at the immigration control points.
  • Malaysia, where an arrangement was agreed upon during the formation of the country, the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak were allowed to retain their respective immigration control systems. Therefore, a passport is required for foreigners when travelling from Peninsular Malaysia to East Malaysia, as well as traveling between Sabah and Sarawak. For social/business visits not more than 3 months, Peninsular Malaysians are required to produce a Malaysian identity card or, for children below 12 years a birth certificate, and obtain a special immigration printout form to be kept until departure.[33] However, one may present a Malaysian passport or a Restricted Travel Document and get an entry stamp on the travel document to avoid the hassle of keeping an extra sheet of paper. For other purposes, Peninsular Malaysians are required to have a passport and a long-term residence permit.

Internal passports are issued by some countries as an identity document. An example is the internal passport of Russia or certain other post-Soviet countries dating back to imperial times. Some countries use internal passports for controlling migration within a country.

Designs and format

Passport colors across the world

International Civil Aviation Organization standards

More than 5 million passports of the United Kingdom (also called the "red book") are printed each year—one every 2.5 seconds—at this secret location in the North of England[34]

The ISO/IEC 7810 ID-3 standard, which specifies a size of 125 × 88 mm (4.921 × 3.465 in). This size is the B7 format.

  • Standard passport format includes the cover, which contains the name of the issuing country, a national symbol, a description of the document (e.g., passport, diplomatic passport), and a biometric passport symbol, if applicable. Inside, there is a title page, also naming the country. A data page follows, containing information about the bearer and the issuing authority. There are blank pages for visas, and to stamp for entries and exit. Passports have numerical or alphanumerical designators ("serial number") assigned by the issuing authority.
  • Biometric passports (or e-Passports) have an embedded contactless smart cards, in order to conform to ICAO standards. The cards contain data about the passport holder, a photograph in digital format, and data about the passport itself. Many countries now issue biometric passports, in order to speed up clearance through immigrations and the prevention of identity fraud. These reasons are disputed by privacy advocates.[36][37]

Common designs

An Argentine passport with the name of Mercosur at the top

Passports from almost all countries around the world display the respective national coat of arms of the issuing country on the front cover. For the sake of this, the United Nations keep a record of national coats of arms.

There are several groups of countries, who through mutual agreement, have adopted common designs for the passports of their respective countries:

  • The European Union. The design and layout of passports of the member states of the European Union are a result of consensus and recommendation, rather than of directive.[38] Passports are issued by member states. The covers of ordinary passports are burgundy-red, with "European Union" written in the national language or languages. Below that are the name of the country, the national coat of arms, the word or words for "passport", and, at the bottom, the symbol for a biometric passport. The data page can be at the front or at the back of a passport, and there are small design differences to indicate which member state is the issuer.
  • In 2006, the members of the CA-4 Treaty (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua) adopted a common-design passport, called the Central American passport, following a design already in use by Nicaragua and El Salvador since the mid-1990s. It features a navy-blue cover with the words "América Central" and a map of Central America, and with the territory of the issuing country highlighted in gold (in place of the individual nations' coats of arms). At the bottom of the cover are the name of the issuing country and the passport type.
  • The members of the Andean Community of Nations (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru) began to issue commonly designed passports in 2005. Specifications for the common passport format were outlined in an Andean Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in 2002.[39] Previously-issued national passports will be valid until their expiry dates. Andean passports are bordeaux (burgundy-red), with words in gold. Centered above the national seal of the issuing country is the name of the regional body in Spanish (Comunidad Andina). Below the seal is the official name of the member country. At the bottom of the cover is the Spanish word "pasaporte" along with the English "passport". Venezuela had issued Andean passports, but has subsequently left the Andean Community, so they will no longer issue Andean passports.
  • The Union of South American Nations signaled an intention to establish a common passport design, but it appears that implementation will take many years.
  • The member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to issue a common designed passport, but the implementation of the CARICOM passport made that redundant, and it was abandoned.

The request page

Passport message found inside the United States passport

Passports often, though not always, contain a message, usually near the front, requesting that the passport's bearer be allowed to pass freely, and further requesting that, in the event of need, the bearer be granted assistance. The message is sometimes made in the name of the government or the head of state, and may be written in more than one language, depending on the language policies of the issuing authority. The following are some examples:

The Australian passport (current P-series, stated only in English) says: The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, being the representative in Australia of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, requests all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer, an Australian Citizen, to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford him or her every assistance and protection of which he or she may stand in need.
The British passport reads: Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State Requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.
The Canadian passport has: The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada requests, in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.
The Dutch passport message is: In the name of His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, etc. etc. etc. , the Minister of Foreign Affairs requests all authorities of friendly powers to allow the bearer of the present passport to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer every assistance and protection which may be necessary.
The Egyptian passport message is: The Minister of Foreign Affairs requests all whom it may concern to permit the bearer of this Passport to pass, assist and protect him whenever necessary.[40]
The Israeli passport has: The Minister of the interior of the State of Israel hereby requests all those whom it may concern to allow the carrier of this passport to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford him such assistance and protection as may be necessary.
The Philippine passport reads: The Government of the Republic of the Philippines requests all concerned authorities to permit the bearer, a citizen of the Philippines, to pass safely and freely and in case of need to give him/her all lawful aid and protection.
The Polish passport reads: The authorities of The Republic of Poland hereby kindly requests all whom it may concern to provide the bearer of this passport with all assistance that may be deemed necessary while abroad.
The South Korean passport states: The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea hereby requests all those whom it may concern to permit the bearer, a national of the Republic of Korea, to pass freely without delay or hindrance and, in case of need, to afford him(her) every possible assistance and protection.
The Sri Lankan passport states: The President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka requests and requires all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.
The United States passport states: The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection.[41]

Other passports bear similar messages. There are countries, such as Switzerland, Finland and Austria, where such messages are absent.


In 1920, an international conference on passports and through tickets held by the League of Nations recommended that passports be issued in French, historically the language of diplomacy, and one other language.[42] Currently, the ICAO recommends that passports be issued in English and French, or in the national language of the issuing country and in either English or French. Many European countries use their national language and the three most spoken languages in Europe, i.e. French, German, and English.

Some unusual language combinations are:

  • Passports of European Union states bear all of the official languages of the EU. Two or three languages are printed at the relevant points, followed by reference numbers which point to the passport page where translations into the remaining languages appear. In addition to the official EU languages, British passports bear Welsh and Scots Gaelic.
  • The Barbadian passport and the United States passport are tri-lingual: English, French and Spanish. United States passports were traditionally English and French, but began being printed with a Spanish message and labels during the late 1990s, in recognition of Puerto Rico's Spanish-speaking status. Only the message and labels are in multiple languages, the cover and instructions pages are printed solely in English.
  • In Belgium, all three official languages (Dutch, French, German) appear on the cover, in addition to English on the main page. The order of the official languages depends on the official residence of the holder.
  • Brazilian passports contain four languages: Portuguese, the official country language, Spanish, in accordance with neighboring nations, English and French.
  • Cypriot passports are in Greek, Turkish and English.
  • The first page of a Libyan passport is in Arabic only. The last page (first page from western viewpoint) has an English equivalent of the information on the Arabic first page (western last page). Similar arrangements are found in passports of some other Arab countries.
  • Iraqi passports are in Arabic, Kurdish and English.
  • Macau SAR passports are in three languages: Chinese, Portuguese and English.
  • New Zealand passports are in English and Maori.
  • Norwegian passports are in the two forms of the Norwegian language, Bokmål and Nynorsk, and in English.
  • Pakistani passports are in Urdu, English, Arabic and French.
  • Sri Lankan passports are in Sinhala, Tamil and English.
  • Swiss passports are in five languages: German, French, Italian, Romansh and English.

Immigration stamps

For immigration control, officials of many countries use entry and exit stamps. Depending on the country, a stamp can serve different purposes. For example, in the United Kingdom, an immigration stamp in a passport includes the formal leave to enter granted to a person subject to entry control. In other countries, a stamp activates or acknowledges the continuing leave conferred in the passport bearer's entry clearance.

Under the Schengen system, a foreign passport is stamped with a date stamp which does not indicate any duration of stay. This means that the person is deemed to have permission to remain either for three months or for the period shown on his visa (whichever is shorter).

Visas often take the form of an inked stamp, although some countries use adhesive stickers that incorporate security features to discourage forgery.

Member states of the European Union are not permitted to place a stamp in the passport of a person who is not subject to immigration control. Stamping is prohibited because it is an imposition of a control that the person is not subject to.

Countries usually have different styles of stamps for entries and exits, to make it easier to identify the movements of people. Other ways to easily determine information. Ink color might be used to designate mode of transportation (air, land or sea), such as in Hong Kong prior to 1997; while border styles did the same thing in Macau. Other variations include changing the size of the stamp to indicate length of stay, as in Singapore.

Immigration stamps are a useful reminder of travels. Some travellers "collect" immigration stamps in passports, and will choose to enter or exit countries via different means (for example, land, sea or air) in order to have different stamps in their passports. Some countries, such as Liechtenstein,[43] that do not stamp passports may provide a passport stamp on request for such "memory" purposes. However, such memorial stamps can preclude the passport bearer from travelling to certain countries. For example, Finland consistently rejects what they call 'falsified passports', where travelers have been refused visas or entry due to memorial stamps and are required to renew their passports.

Limitations on use

Many countries normally allow entry to holders of passports of other countries, sometimes requiring a visa also to be held, but this is not an automatic right. Many other additional conditions, such as not being likely to become a public charge for financial, health, family, or other reasons, and the holder not having been convicted of a crime or considered likely to commit one, may be applicable.[2] Several controversial cases, such as exclusion in 2007 from the USA of a university professor who had written a research paper about taking the drug LSD in the 1970s, were discussed in The Daily Telegraph newspaper in 2014.[44]

Where a country does not recognise another, or is in dispute with it, entry may be prohibited to holders of passports of the other party to the dispute, and sometimes to others who have, for example, visited the other country; examples are listed below.

The country issuing the passport may also restrict its validity, excluding certain countries for political, security or health reasons.


  • Bangladesh — a Bangladeshi passport is valid for travel to all nations, except Israel.
  • China and Taiwan — Citizens of Taiwan (ROC) use a special travel permit issued by China's (PRC) public-security authorities to enter China. Citizens of China entering Taiwan must also use a special travel permit issued by the ROC government and have their mainland documents surrendered. The identity documents are only valid for travel between Taiwan and China, and an endorsement must be obtained separately to enable travel.
  • Hong Kong and Macau — A 'Home Return Permit' is required for Chinese citizens domiciled in Hong Kong and Macau to enter and exit mainland China. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport and the Macau Special Administrative Region passport cannot be used for travel to mainland China. Also, British National (Overseas) passports cannot be used by Chinese citizens who reside in Hong Kong as the PRC does not recognize dual nationality. Mainland China residents visiting Hong Kong or Macau are required to hold an Exit-entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau (往来港澳通行证 or 双程证) issued by mainland authorities, along with an endorsement (签注), on the Exit-entry Permit which needs to be applied each time (similar to a visa) visiting the SARs.[45] Non-permanent residents of Macau who are not eligible for a passport may travel to Hong Kong on the Visit Permit to Hong Kong (澳門居民往來香港特別行政區旅行證), a restricted passport valid for 7 years which allows holders to travel only to Hong Kong SAR during its validity.
  • Israel —
      Countries that reject passports from Israel
      Countries that reject passports from Israel and any other passports which contain Israeli stamps or visas
    In Israel's first years, Israeli passports bore the stamp "not valid for Germany" (Hebrew: לא תקף בגרמניה), as in the aftermath of the Holocaust it was considered improper for Israelis to visit Germany on any but official state business. Some Muslim and African countries do not permit entry to anyone using an Israeli passport. In addition, Iran,[46] Kuwait,[47] Lebanon,[48] Libya,[49] Saudi Arabia,[50] Sudan,[51] Syria[52] and Yemen[53] do not allow entry to people with evidence of travel to Israel, or whose passports have either a used or an unused Israeli visa.
  • Malaysian — a Malaysian passport is valid for all countries except Israel.
  • Pakistan — Currently a statement on Pakistani passports reads, "This passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel" "یہ پاسپورٹ سواۓ اسرائل کے دنیا کے تمام ممالک کے لۓ کار آمد ہے" .
  • Philippines — Between 2004 and mid-2011, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs deemed that bearers of its passports could not travel to Iraq due to the security threats in that country. As such, Philippine passports issued in that time period were stamped "Not valid for travel to Iraq" in English and Arabic. Passports printed after July 1, 2011 no longer bear this stamp.[54]
  • South Korea — The South Korean government has banned Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen as travel destinations for safety.[55] South Korea does not consider travel within the Korean peninsula (between South Korean and North Korean administrations) to be international travel, as South Korea's constitution claims the entire Korean peninsula as its territory. South Koreans traveling to the Kaesong Industrial Region in North Korea pass through the Gyeongui Highway Transit Office at Dorasan, Munsan, where they present a plastic Visit Certificate (방문증명서) card issued by the South Korean Ministry of Unification, and an immigration-stamped Passage Certificate (개성공업지구 출입증) issued by the Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee (개성공업지구 관리위원회).[56] Until 2008, South Koreans traveling to tourist areas in the North such as Mount Kumgang needed to carry a South Korean ID card for security reasons.



  • Some countries decline to accept Tongan Protected Person passports, though they accept Tongan citizen passports.[57][58][59] Tongan Protected Person passports are sold by the Government of Tonga to anyone who is not a Tongan national.[60] A holder of a Tongan Protected Person passport is forbidden to enter or settle in Tonga. Generally, those holders are refugees or stateless persons for some other reason.

South America

  • For countries that do not maintain diplomatic relations with Brazil, such as Kosovo and Taiwan, diplomatic, official and work passports are not accepted, and visas are only granted to tourist or business visitors, under Brazilian “laissez-passer”.[61]

International travel without passports

International travel is possible without passports in some circumstances. Nonetheless, a document stating citizenship, such as a national identity card or an Enhanced Drivers License, is usually required.


  • Members of the East African Community (composed of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) may issue an East African passport. East African passports are recognised by only the five members, and are only used for travel between or among those countries. The requirements for eligibility are less rigorous than are the requirements for national passports used for other international travel.


  • Passports are not needed by citizens of India, Nepal, and Bhutan to travel to each other's country, but some identification is required for border crossings. Additionally, only Indians can travel in Bhutan without a passport, while Bhutanese must travel with their citizenship identity cards.
  • Syria and Lebanon citizens do not require passports when traveling in either country if they are carrying ID cards.
  • Travel between Russia and some former Soviet republics, designated by membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States, may be accomplished with a national identity document (e.g. an internal passport) or passport. However, according to a statement made by President Putin in December 2012, Russia has plans to restrict travel without a passport only to citizens of the member states of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia by 2015. After that date, citizens of other CIS states will need passports (although not visas) to visit Russia.[62]
  • Citizens of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf countries need only national ID cards (also referred to as civil ID cards) to cross the borders of council countries. This also applies to anyone that has a residence permit in any of the GCC countries.


  • A citizen of one of the 28 member states of the European Union or of Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Iceland and Switzerland may travel within these countries using a standard compliant National Identity Card rather than a passport. Not all EU/EEA member states issue standard compliant National Identity Cards, notably Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Sweden issues National Identity Cards, but its Passport Law does not allow a Swedish citizen to travel outside the Schengen Area without a passport, which is in violation of EU freedom of movement.[63][64]
  • The up-to-now 26 countries that apply the Schengen Agreement (a subset of the EEA) do not implement passport controls between each other, unless exceptional circumstances apply. It is however mandatory to carry a passport, compliant national identity card or alien's resident permit.
  • The Nordic Passport Union allows Nordic citizens—citizens from Denmark (including the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to visit any of these countries without being in possession of identity documents (Greenland and Svalbard are excluded). This is an extension of the principle that Nordic citizens need no identity document in their own country. A means to prove identity when requested is recommended (e.g. using a drivers license, which does not state citizenship), even in one's own country. Joining the Schengen Area in 1997 has not changed these rules.
  • Albania accepts national ID cards or passports for entry from citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Kosovo, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina accepts national ID cards or passports for entry from citizens of the EEA (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), Andorra, Montenegro, Monaco, San Marino, Serbia and the Vatican City.
  • The Republic of Macedonia accepts national ID cards or passports for entry from citizens of the EEA (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), Albania, Montenegro and Serbia.
  • Montenegro accepts national ID cards or passports for entry from citizens of the EEA (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Monaco, Republic of Macedonia, San Marino, Serbia and the Vatican City.
  • Serbia accepts national ID cards or passports for entry from citizens of the EEA (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia.
  • Citizens of Belgium, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland are allowed to enter Turkey with a valid national ID card. However, Turkish citizens are allowed to enter Georgia with a valid ID card.

North America

The United States Passport Card
  • CARICOM countries issue a CARICOM passport to their citizens, and as of June 2009, eligible nationals in participating countries will be permitted to use the CARICOM travel card which provides for intra-community travel without a passport.
  • There are several cards available to certain North American citizens/residents which allow passport free travel; generally only for land and sea border crossings:
  1. The U.S. Passport card is an alternative to an ordinary U.S. passport booklet for land and sea travel within North America (Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda). Like the passport book, the passport card is issued only to U.S. citizens and nationals.
  2. The NEXUS card allows border crossing between the U.S. and Canada. The air NEXUS card can also be used for air travel as the only means of identification for US and Canadian citizens/nationals.
  3. The SENTRI-card allows passport-free entry into the U.S. from Mexico (but not vice versa).
  4. U.S. nationals may further enter the U.S. using an enhanced driver license issued by the States of Vermont, Washington, Michigan and New York (which qualify as WHTI compliant); enhanced tribal cards; U.S. military ID cards plus military travel orders; U.S. merchant mariner ID cards, when traveling on maritime business; Native American tribal ID cards; Form I-872 American Indian card.[65][66]
  5. Canadian nationals may enter the U.S. via land or sea using an "Enhanced" WHTI-compliant driver's license. These are currently issued by British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario. If Canadians wish to enter the US via air, they must use a passport book. Canadian Status First Nation, may enter the U.S. with a valid Certificate of Indian Status Card, issued by the Canadian Federal Government.
  6. For travel to the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon directly from Canada, Canadians and foreign nationals holding Canadian identification documents are exempted from passport and visa requirements for stays of maximum duration of 3 months within a period of 6 months. Accepted documents include a driver's licence, citizenship card, permanent resident card and others. U.S. nationals traveling through Canada are not exempt and must carry a passport.


The Torres Strait separating Australia and Papua
  • Residents of nine coastal villages in Papua New Guinea are permitted to enter the 'Protected Zone' of the Torres Strait (part of Queensland, Australia) for traditional purposes. This exemption from passport control is part of a treaty between Australia and Papua New Guinea negotiated when PNG became independent from Australia in 1975.[67] Vessels from other parts of Papua New Guinea and other countries attempting to cross into Australia or Australian waters are stopped by Australian Customs or the Royal Australian Navy.

South America

  • Many Central American and South American nationals can travel within their respective regional economic zones, such as Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations, or on a bilateral basis (e.g., between Chile and Peru, between Brazil and Chile), without passports, presenting instead their national ID cards, or, for short stays, their voter-registration cards. In some cases this travel must be done overland rather than by air. There are plans to extend these rights to all of South America under a Union of South American Nations, and it already extends them (since 2006[68]) to every South American country except Guyana and Suriname.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c Cane, P and Conaghan, J (2008). The New Oxford Companion to Law. London: Oxford University Press.  
  2. ^ a b "ilink - USCIS". 
  3. ^ "FAQ #11: Does Refugee Travel Document guarantee me admission into the U.S.?". Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Example of a bank accepting a passport as proof of identity when opening an account
  5. ^ Frank, Daniel (1995). The Jews of Medieval Islam: Community, Society, and Identity.  
  6. ^ George William Lemon (1783). English etymology; or, A derivative dictionary of the English language. p. 397.  said that passport may signify either a permission to pass through a portus or gate, but noted that an earlier work had contained information that a traveling warrant, a permission or license to pass through the whole dominions of any prince, was originally called a pass par teut.
  7. ^ James Donald (1867). Chamber's etymological dictionary of the English language. W. and R. Chambers. pp. 366. passport, pass´pōrt, n. orig. permission to pass out of port or through the gates; a written warrant granting permission to travel. 
  8. ^ a b A brief history of the passport - The Guardian
  9. ^ Casciani, Dominic (2008-09-25). "Analysis: The first ID cards". BBC. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  10. ^ "History of Passports". Passport Canada. Retrieved April 18, 2008. 
  11. ^ Marrus, Michael, The Unwanted: European Refugees in the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press (1985), p. 92.
  12. ^ "League of Nations Photo Archive - Timeline - 1920". Indiana University. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ "League of Nations 'International' or 'Standard' passport design". IU. 
  14. ^ "International Conferences – League of Nations Archives". Center for the Study of Global Change. 2002. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  15. ^ "Welcome to the ICAO Machine Readable Travel Documents Programme". ICAO. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  16. ^ Machine Readable Travel Documents, Doc 9303 (Sixth ed.). ICAO. 2006. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  17. ^ Arkelian, A.J. "The Right to a Passport in Canadian Law." “The Canadian Yearbook of International Law," Volume XXI, 1983. Republished in November 2012 in Artsforum Magazine at
  18. ^ Arkelian, A.J. “Freedom of Movement of Persons Between States and Entitlement to Passports.” Saskatchewan Law Review, Volume 49, No.1, 1984-85.
  19. ^ "Second UK Passports For Frequent International Travellers - Second UK Passport - VisaCentral UK". 
  20. ^ UK passport advice - second passport applications (UK)
  21. ^ Devine, F. E (1991). Commercial bail bonding: a comparison of common law alternatives. ABC-CLIO. pp. 84, 91, 116, 178.  
  22. ^ Hannum, Hurst (1987). The Right to Leave and Return in International Law and Practice. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 73.  
  23. ^ "Government of Pakistan, DIRECTORATE GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION & PASSPORTS". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  24. ^ "Passports for persons liable for military service". Finnish Police. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  25. ^ "Passports for Syrian Citizens". 
  26. ^ Crocombe, R. G. (2007). Asia in the Pacific Islands: replacing the West. University of South Pacific Press. p. 165.  
  27. ^ "Question 1". Dear Uncle Ezra... Cornell University. 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  28. ^ Wallace, William N. (1990-06-12). "Putting Tradition to the Test". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  29. ^ "The New e-Passport". Osterreichs Bundesheer (in German and English). Eigentümer und Herausgeber: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung und Sport. February 2006. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  30. ^ "International Travel Information". Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "Know Before You Go". IATA. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  32. ^ "National Web Portal Of Bangladesh - Citizen Services". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  33. ^ Document In Lieu of Internal Travel Document IMM.114, Immigration Department of Malaysia; retrieved 26 March 2014
  34. ^ "How Your Passport is Made -- Exclusive Behind-The-Scenes Footage". National Archives. July 1, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTD)". ICAO. Retrieved June 15, 2006. 
  36. ^ "The ID Chip You Don't Want in Your Passport".  
  37. ^ "Scan This Guy's E-Passport and Watch Your System Crash". Kim Zetter. 1 August 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2007. 
  38. ^ 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.
  39. ^ Andean Community / Decision 525: Minimum specific technical characteristics of Andean Passport.
  40. ^ Last page Egyptian passport
  41. ^ See "Passport Message" in the United States passport article.
  42. ^ Baenninger, Martin (2009). In the eye of the wind: a travel memoir of prewar Japan. Footprints. Footprints. Cheltenham, England: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 12.  
  43. ^ "About Liechtenstein - Tourism Overview". 
  44. ^ "Nigella Lawson: odd cases of refused entry to the US". 
  45. ^ "Arrangement for entry to Hong Kong from Mainland China". Immigration Department, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  46. ^ "Travel Advice for Iran - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  47. ^ "Travel Report - Kuwait". 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  48. ^ Travel Advice for Lebanon - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Lebanese Ministry of Tourism
  49. ^ "Travel Advice for Libya - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  50. ^ Michael Freund, Canada defends Saudi policy of shunning tourists who visited Israel, 7 December 2008, Jerusalem Post
  51. ^ "Travel Advice for Sudan - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  52. ^ Travel Advice for Syria - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Syrian Ministry of Tourism
  53. ^ "Travel Advice for Yemen - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  54. ^ "Passport General Information". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  55. ^ S. Korea extends travel ban on four nations, Yonhap News, July 23, 2013
  56. ^ "한국일보 : 北초청장 없어도 개성공단 방문가능". 2007-03-25. Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  57. ^ "EU Regulation". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  58. ^ Unacceptable travel documents
  60. ^ Paul TherouxPublished: June 07, 1992 (1992-06-07). "In the Court of the King of Tonga". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  61. ^ Entrance visas in Brazil, Ministry of Foreign Relations of Brazil.
  62. ^ Путин: въезд в РФ должен быть разрешен только по загранпаспортам (Putin: passports will be required for entering Russia), 2012-12-12 (Russian)
  63. ^ "Fakta om nationellt id-kort". Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  64. ^ Tatsiana Turgot. "Directive 2004/38/EC ... transposition". Milieu Ltd.  See art. 4.1.
  65. ^ Willis, Hh; Latourrette, T (Apr 2008). "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative". Risk analysis : an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis (Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. State Department) 28 (2): 325–39.  
  66. ^ "For U.S. Citizens". Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  67. ^ "Torres Strait Treaty and You - What is free movement for traditional activities?". Australian Government = Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  68. ^ "Ya no se requerirá pasaporte para viajar por Sudamérica". 2008-06-28. Retrieved 2013-07-01. 

Further reading

  • Advisory and technical committee for communications and transit. Replies of the governments to the enquiry on the application of the resolutions relating to passports, customs formalities and through tickets. Geneva:  
  • Holder IV, Floyd William (Fall 2009). An Empirical Analysis of the State’s Monopolization of the Legitimate Means of Movement: Evaluating the Effects of Required Passport use on International Travel (M. P. A. thesis). San Marcos: Texas State University.  
  • Lloyd, Martin (2008) [2003]. The Passport: The History of Man's Most Travelled Document (2nd ed.). Canterbury: Queen Anne's Fan.  
  • Salter, Mark B. (2003). Rights of Passage: The Passport in International Relations. Boulder, Co: Lynne Rienner Publishers.  
  • Torpey, John C. (2000). The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship and the State. Cambridge studies in law and society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  
  • United States;  

External links

  • nlineOocuments Duthentic Travel- and ID Aegister of Rublic P - The Council of the European Union PRADO
  • Types of Passports issued by Govt. of India
  • How Passports Work US-focused information from Howstuffworks
  • ICAO MRTD Machine-readable travel documents
  • Passport Land - detailed images of 500 old passports
  • Investigation into passport fraud, Dateline NBC, December 28, 2007
  • Passport-free travel to begin for citizens of nine more European countries, Seattle Times, November 8, 2007
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