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Passport

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Persian_Royal_Passport_1933.jpg
(Wikipedia) - Passport For other uses, see Passport (disambiguation).
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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. 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.

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, 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. 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. 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.

ContentsHistoryFirst 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."

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. 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. 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.

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. 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".

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

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 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO standards include those for machine-readable passports. 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. 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.

Issuance

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.

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.

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.

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

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, 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. Other countries with obligatory military service, such as Syria, have similar requirements.

National statusA 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.

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, the Aboriginal Provisional Government in Australia and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Such documents are not necessarily accepted for entry into a country.

Validity

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. 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 European Union countries (except Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom and except between each other), Georgia, 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.

Types
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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 Other types of travel documentsNansen 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:

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 formatPassport colors across the worldInternational Civil Aviation Organization standardsMore 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

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issues passport standards which are treated as recommendations to national governments. The size of passports normally comply with 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.

Common designs
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Main articles: Andean passport, CARICOM passport, Central America-4 passport, ECOWAS passport, Passports of the European Economic Area and Passports of the European Union
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Common-design passport groups.
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 request pagePassport 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 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.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 Kingdom 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 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.

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

Languages
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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. 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:

Immigration stamps
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Main article: Passport stamp

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, 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
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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. 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.

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.

Asia Main articles: Bangladeshi passport, People''s Republic of China passport, Republic of China passport, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport, Macau Special Administrative Region passport, Israeli passport, Philippine passport and Republic of Korea passport Europe Main articles: Visa policy of Azerbaijan, Visa policy of Armenia, Cypriot passport, Spanish passport and Gibraltar passport Oceania Main article: Tongan passport South America Main article: Brazilian passport International travel without passports
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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.

Africa Asia Europe North AmericaThe United States Passport CardA NEXUS Card
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The SENTRI-card allows passport-free entry into the U.S. from Mexico (but not vice versa).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • OceaniaThe Torres Strait separating Australia and Papua South America

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