A passport is a travel document, usually issued by a country's government, that certifies the identity and nationality of its holder primarily for the purpose of international travel. Standard passports may contain information such as the holder's name, place and date of birth, photograph, signature, and other relevant identifying information. All countries' governments have either begun issuing or plan to issue biometric information in a microchip embedded in the passport, making them machine-readable and difficult to counterfeit. As of January 2019, there are over 150 jurisdictions issuing these e-passports. Previously issued non-biometric machine-readable passports usually remain valid until their respective expiration dates.
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 (e.g. American nationals or British nationals). A passport does not of itself create any rights in the country being visited or obligate the issuing country in any way, such as providing consular assistance. Some passports attest to the bearer having a status as a diplomat or other official, entitled to rights and privileges such as immunity from arrest or prosecution.
Many countries normally allow entry to holders of passports of other countries, sometimes requiring a visa also to be obtained, 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 apply. Where a country does not recognise another, or is in dispute with it, it may prohibit the use of their passport for travel to that other country, or may prohibit entry to holders of that other country's passports, 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 the document, and sometimes to return to the issuing country.
Passports are often requested in other circumstances to confirm identification such as checking in to a hotel or when changing money to a local currency.
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.
Passports were an important part of the Chinese bureaucracy as early as the Western Han, if not in the Qin Dynasty. They required such details as age, height, and bodily features. These passports (zhuan) determined a person's ability to move throughout imperial counties and through points of control. Even children needed passports, but those of one year or less who were in their mother's care might not have needed them.
In the medieval Islamic Caliphate, a form of passport was the bara'a, a receipt for taxes paid. Only people 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 "basic passport."
Etymological sources show that the term "passport" is from a medieval document that was required in order 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 foreign travellers by local authorities (as opposed to local citizens, as is the modern practice) 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 passport in the modern sense, 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. The 1548 Imperial Diet of Augsburg required the public to hold imperial documents for travel, at the risk of permanent exile.
A rapid expansion of railway infrastructure and wealth in Europe beginning in the mid-nineteenth century led to large increases in the volume of international travel and a consequent 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 people with useful skills. These controls remained in place after the war, becoming a 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 booklet 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 country'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 country'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 including A.J. Arkelian have argued that evolutions in both the constitutional law of democratic countries and the international law applicable to all countries now render those historical tenets both obsolete and unlawful.
Under some circumstances some countries allow people to hold more than one passport document. This may apply, for example, 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. The UK for example may issue a second passport if the applicant can show a need and supporting documentation, such as a letter from an employer.
Today, most countries issue individual passports to applying citizens, including children, with only a few still issuing family passports (see below under "Types") or including children on a parent's passport (most countries having switched to individual passports in the early to mid-20th century). When passport holders apply for a new passport (commonly, due to expiration of the previous passport, insufficient validity for entry to some countries 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. When applying for a passport or a national ID card, all Pakistanis are required to sign an oath declaring Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be an impostor prophet and all Ahmadis to be non-Muslims.
Some countries limit the issuance of passports, where incoming and outgoing international travels are highly regulated, such as North Korea, where ordinary passports are the privilege of a very small number of people trusted by the government. Other countries put requirements on some 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. Other countries with obligatory military service, such as South Korea and Syria, have similar requirements, e.g. South Korean passport and Syrian passport.
Passports contain a statement of the nationality of the holder. In most countries, only one class of nationality exists, and only one type of ordinary passport is issued. However, several types of exceptions exist:
The United Kingdom has a number of classes of United Kingdom nationality due to its colonial history. As a result, the UK issues various passports which are similar in appearance but representative of different nationality statuses which, in turn, has caused foreign governments to subject holders of different UK passports to different entry requirements.
The People's Republic of China (PRC) authorizes its Special Administrative Regions of 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. A Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport (HKSAR passport) permits visa-free access to many more countries than ordinary PRC passports.
The three constituent countries of the Danish Realm have a common nationality. Denmark proper is a member of the European Union, but Greenland and Faroe Islands are not. Danish citizens residing in Greenland or Faroe Islands can choose between holding a Danish EU passport and a Greenlandic or Faroese non-EU Danish passport.
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.
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.
Passports have a limited validity, usually between 5 and 10 years.
One method to measure the 'value' of a passport is to calculate its 'visa-free score' (VFS), which is the number of countries that allow the holder of that passport entry for general tourism without requiring a visa. As of 1 July 2019, the strongest and weakest passports are as follows:
|Strongest passports||Weakest passports|
|Rank||VFS||Country / countries||Rank||VFS||Country / countries|
|2||187||Finland, Germany, South Korea||101||39||Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea|
|3||186||Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg||102||38||Nepal|
|4||185||France, Spain, Sweden||103||37||Libya, Palestinian Territory, Sudan|
|5||184||Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland||104||33||Yemen|
|6||183||Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States||105||31||Somalia|
|9||180||Australia, Iceland, Lithuania, New Zealand||108||27||Iraq|
|10||179||Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia||109||25||Afghanistan|
A rough standardization exists in types of passports throughout the world, although passport types, number of pages, and definitions can vary by country.
Left to right: diplomatic, official, and regular passport from India.
Each passport type has a different cover colour.
Non-citizens in Latvia and Estonia are individuals, primarily of Russian or Ukrainian ethnicity, who are not citizens of Latvia or Estonia but whose families have resided in the area since the Soviet era, and thus have the right to a non-citizen passport issued by the Latvian government as well as other specific rights. Approximately two thirds of them are ethnic Russians, followed by ethnic Belarusians, ethnic Ukrainians, ethnic Poles and ethnic Lithuanians.
Although all U.S. citizens are also U.S. nationals, the reverse is not true. As specified in 8 U.S.C. § 1408, a person whose only connection to the U.S. is through birth in an outlying possession (which is defined in 8 U.S.C. § 1101 as American Samoa and Swains Island, the latter of which is administered as part of American Samoa), or through descent from a person so born, acquires U.S. nationality but not U.S. citizenship. This was formerly the case in a few other current or former U.S. overseas possessions, i.e. the Panama Canal Zone and Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
The U.S. passport issued to non-citizen nationals contains the endorsement code 9 which states: "THE BEARER IS A UNITED STATES NATIONAL AND NOT A UNITED STATES CITIZEN." on the annotations page.
Non-citizen U.S. nationals may reside and work in the United States without restrictions, and may apply for citizenship under the same rules as resident aliens. Like resident aliens, they are not presently allowed by any U.S. state to vote in federal or state elections, although, as with resident aliens, there is no constitutional prohibition against their doing so.
Due to the complexity of British nationality law, the United Kingdom has six variants of British nationality. Out of these variants, however, only the status known as British citizen grants the right of abode in a particular country or territory (the United Kingdom) while others do not. Hence, the UK issues British passports to those who are British nationals but not British citizens, which include British Overseas Territories citizens, British Overseas citizens, British subjects, British Nationals (Overseas) and British Protected Persons.
Children born in Andorra to foreign residents who have not yet resided in the country for a minimum of 10 years are provided a provisional passport. Once the child reaches 18 years old he or she must confirm their nationality to the Government.
For some countries, passports are required for some types of travel between their sovereign territories. Three 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. In some countries, the international passport or passport for travel abroad is a second passport, in addition to the internal passport, required for a citizen to travel abroad within the country of residence. Separate passports for travel abroad existed or exist in the following countries:
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issues passport standards which are treated as recommendations to national governments. The size of passport booklets normally complies with 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. Passport cards are issued to the ID-1 (credit card sized) standard.
Passport booklets from almost all countries around the world display the national coat of arms of the issuing country on the front cover. The United Nations keeps a record of national coats of arms, but displaying a coat of arms is not an internationally recognized requirement for a passport.
There are several groups of countries that have, by mutual agreement, adopted common designs for their passports:
Passports sometimes 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.
In 1920, an international conference on passports and through tickets held by the League of Nations recommended that passports be issued in the French language, 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, along with English and French.
Some unusual language combinations are:
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 if specified otherwise.
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. Ink colour 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. Monaco (at its tourist office) and Andorra (at its border) do this as well. These are official stamps issued by government offices. However, some private enterprises may for a price stamp passports at historic sites and these have no legal standing. It is possible that such memorial stamps can preclude the passport bearer from travelling to certain countries. For example, Finland consistently rejects what they call 'falsified passports', where passport bearers have been refused visas or entry due to memorial stamps and are required to renew their passports.
A passport is merely an identity document that is widely recognised for international travel purposes, and the possession of a passport does not in itself entitle a traveller to enter any country other than the country that issued it, and sometimes not even then. Many countries normally require visitors to obtain a visa. Each country has different requirements or conditions for the grant of visas, such as for the visitor 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.
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. A country that issues a passport may also restrict its validity or use in specified circumstances, such as use for travel to certain countries for political, security, or health reasons.
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.
passport, pass'pōrt, n. orig. permission to pass out of port or through the gates; a written warrant granting permission to travel.
ICAO's work on machine readable travel documents began in 1968 with the establishment, by the Air Transport Committee of the Council, of a Panel on Passport Cards. This Panel was charged with developing recommendations for a standardized passport book or card that would be machine readable, in the interest of accelerating the clearance of passengers through passport controls. ... In 1998, the New Technologies Working Group of the TAG/MRTD began work to establish the most effective biometric identification system and associated means of data storage for use in MRTD applications, particularly in relation to document issuance and immigration considerations. The bulk of the work had been completed by the time the events of 11 September 2001 caused States to attach greater importance to the security of a travel document and the identification of its holder. The work was quickly finalized and endorsed by the TAG/MRTD and the Air Transport Committee. ... The Seventh Edition of Doc 9303 represents a restructuring of the ICAO specifications for Machine Readable Travel Documents. Without incorporating substantial modifications to the specifications, in this new edition Doc 9303 has been reformatted into a set of specifications for Size 1 Machine Readable Official Travel Documents (TD1), Size 2 Machine Readable Official Travel Documents (TD2), and Size 3 Machine Readable Travel Documents (TD3) ...
The Seventh Edition of Doc 9303 represents a restructuring of the ICAO specifications for Machine Readable Travel Documents. Without incorporating substantial modifications to the specifications, in this new edition Doc 9303 has been reformatted into a set of specifications for Size 1 Machine Readable Official Travel Documents (TD1), Size 2 Machine Readable Official Travel Documents (TD2), and Size 3 Machine Readable Travel Documents (TD3), as well as visas. This set of specifications consists of various separate documents in which general (applicable to all MRTDs) as well as MRTD form factor specific specifications are grouped ... Where the substrate used for the biographical data page (or inserted label) of a passport book or MRTD card is formed entirely of plastic or a variation of plastic, it is not usually possible to incorporate many of the security components described in 5.1.1 through 5.1.3 ... A.5.2.5 Special security measures for use with cards and biographical data pages made of plastic Where a travel document is constructed entirely of plastic, optically variable security features shall be employed which give a changing appearance with angle of viewing. Such devices may take the form of latent images, lenticular features, colour-shifting ink, or diffractive optically variable image features.
Part 3 defines specifications that are common to TD1, TD2 and TD3 size machine readable travel documents (MRTDs) including those necessary for global interoperability using visual inspection and machine readable (optical character recognition) means. Detailed specifications applicable to each form factor appear in Doc 9303, Parts 4 through 7.
The nominal dimensions shall be those specified in ISO/IEC 7810 for the ID-1 type card: 53.98 mm x 85.6 mm (2.13 in x 3.37 in) ... The edges of the document after final preparation shall be within the area circumscribed by the concentric rectangles as illustrated in Figure 1. Inner rectangle: 53.25 mm x 84.85 mm (2.10 in x 3.34 in), Outer rectangle: 54.75 mm x 86.35 mm (2.16 in x 3.40 in). In no event shall the dimensions of the finished TD1 document exceed the dimensions of the outer rectangle, including any final preparation (e.g. laminate edges) ... Note k: The first character shall be A, C or I. Historically these three characters were chosen for their ease of recognition in the OCR-B character set. The second character shall be at the discretion of the issuing State or organization except that V shall not be used, and C shall not be used after A except in the Crew Member Certificate.
A passport card serves the same purpose as a passport book. It attests to your United States citizenship and your identity. The passport card is a fully valid passport. However, it is similar in size to a credit card ... Production of the passport card began on July 14, 2008. Millions of cards have already been issued since that date.
Australian passports are travel documents issued to Australian citizens under Australian Passports Act 2005 by the Australian Passport Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), both in Australia and overseas, which enable the passport bearer to travel internationally. Australian citizens are allowed to hold passports from other countries. Since 1988 over a million Australian passports have been issued annually, and it reached 1.4 million in 2007, and increasing towards a projected 3 million annually by 2021.Since 24 October 2005 Australia has issued only biometric passports, called ePassports, which have an embedded microchip that contains the same personal information that is on the colour photo page of the passport, including a digitised photograph. As all previous passports have now expired, all Australian passports are now biometric. SmartGates have been installed in Australian airports to allow Australian ePassport holders and ePassport holders of several other countries to clear immigration controls more rapidly, and facial recognition technology has been installed at immigration gates.Biometric passport
A biometric passport (also known as an e-passport, ePassport, or a digital passport) is a traditional passport that has an embedded electronic microprocessor chip which contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder. It uses contactless smart card technology, including a microprocessor chip (computer chip) and antenna (for both power to the chip and communication) embedded in the front or back cover, or centre page, of the passport. The passport's critical information is both printed on the data page of the passport and stored in the chip. Public key infrastructure (PKI) is used to authenticate the data stored electronically in the passport chip making it expensive and difficult to forge when all security mechanisms are fully and correctly implemented. Many countries are moving towards the issue of biometric passports. As of December 2008, 60 countries were issuing such passports, increasing to 120 as of June 2017. Malaysia was the first country in the world to issue biometric passports in 1998, after a local company, IRIS Corporation, developed the technology.
The currently standardised biometrics used for this type of identification system are facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, and iris recognition. These were adopted after assessment of several different kinds of biometrics including retinal scan. Document and chip characteristics are documented in the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Doc 9303. The ICAO defines the biometric file formats and communication protocols to be used in passports. Only the digital image (usually in JPEG or JPEG2000 format) of each biometric feature is actually stored in the chip. The comparison of biometric features is performed outside the passport chip by electronic border control systems (e-borders). To store biometric data on the contactless chip, it includes a minimum of 32 kilobytes of EEPROM storage memory, and runs on an interface in accordance with the ISO/IEC 14443 international standard, amongst others. These standards intend interoperability between different countries and different manufacturers of passport books.
Some national identity cards, such as those from the Netherlands, Albania and Brazil), are fully ICAO9303 compliant biometric travel documents. However others, such as the United States Passport Card, are not.British passport
British passports are passports issued by the United Kingdom to those holding any form of British nationality. There are different types of British nationality, and different types of British passports as a result. A British passport enables the bearer to travel worldwide and serves as proof of citizenship. Every British citizen is also a citizen of the European Union. The passport allows for freedom of movement in any of the states of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. It also facilitates access to consular assistance from British embassies around the world, or any embassy of another European Union member state until the United Kingdom departs the European Union in October 2019. Passports are issued using royal prerogative, which is exercised by Her Majesty's Government.
British citizen passports have been issued in the UK by Her Majesty's Passport Office since 2006, a division of the Home Office. British citizens can use their passport as evidence of right of abode in the United Kingdom and EU citizenship. All passports issued in the UK since 2006 have been biometric.
In 1988, the UK government changed the colour of the passport to burgundy red, in line with most EU passports. In response to Brexit, the UK government announced in December 2017 its plan to change the passport colour to dark blue from October 2019. New passports were issued from 30 March 2019 that removed all references to the European Union as part of the Brexit planning by the Home Office.Canadian passport
The Canadian passport (French: Passeport canadien) is the passport issued to citizens of Canada. It enables the bearer to exit and re-enter Canada freely; travel to and from other countries in accordance with visa requirements; facilitates the process of securing assistance from Canadian consular officials abroad, if necessary; and requests protection for the bearer while abroad.All Canadian passports are issued by the Passport Program of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Prior to 1 July 2013, Canadian passports were issued by Passport Canada, an independent operating agency of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. They are normally valid for five or ten years for persons 16 years of age and older, and five years for children under 16. In 2017, 60 per cent of Canadians had passports, with there being about 22 million passports in circulation. Although held by individuals, all Canadian passports remain property of the Government of Canada and must be returned to the Passport Program upon request.Canada is a member of the Five Nations Passport Group, an international forum for cooperation between the passport issuing authorities in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States to "share best practices and discuss innovations related to the development of passport policies, products and practices".Canada began issuing biometric passports, also known as electronic passports or e-passports, to Canadian citizens on 1 July 2013.Chinese passport
The People's Republic of China passport (Chinese: 中华人民共和国护照; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó hùzhào), commonly referred to as the Chinese passport, is the passport issued to nationals of the People's Republic of China (PRC) who have registered as a resident of Mainland China hence hold a hukou, for the purpose of the international travel and entitles the bearer to the protection of China's consular officials overseas.
In 2014, China issued 16 million passports, ranking first in the world, surpassing the United States (14 million) and India (10 million). As of 2012, over 38 million Chinese nationals hold ordinary passports, comprising only 2.86% of the total population at the time. The number of ordinary passports in circulation raised to 120 million as of October 2016, which was approximately 8.7% of the population.On 30 January 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China launched a trial issuance of e-passports for public affairs. The face, fingerprint and other biometric features of the passport holder will be digitalized and stored in pre-installed contactless smart chip in the passport. On 1 July 2011, the Ministry began issuing biometric passports to all individuals conducting public affairs work overseas on behalf of the Chinese government. Ordinary biometric passports have been introduced by the Ministry of Public Security starting from 15 May 2012. As of April 2017, China had issued over 100 million biometric ordinary passports.Henley Passport Index
The Henley Passport Index (HPI) is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom for their citizens. It started in 2005 as Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index (HVRI) and was modified and renamed in January 2018. The site provides a ranking of the 199 passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free. The number of countries that a specific passport can access becomes its visa-free 'score'. In collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and based on official data from their global database Henley & Partners has analysed the visa regulations of all the countries and territories in the world since 2006.Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passport (Chinese: 香港特別行政區護照) is a passport issued only to the permanent residents of Hong Kong who also hold Chinese citizenship. In accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, since the transfer of sovereignty on 1 July 1997, the passport has been issued by the Immigration Department of the Government of Hong Kong under the authorisation of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China. As the official languages of Hong Kong are Chinese and English, the passport is printed bilingually in both Chinese (traditional characters) and English.Indian nationality law
The conferment of a person, as a citizen of India, is governed by Articles 5 to 11 (Part II) of the Constitution of India. The legislation related to this matter is the Citizenship Act 1955, which has been amended by the Citizenship (Amendment) Acts of 1986, 1992, 2003, 2005, and 2015.
Article 9 of Indian Constitution says that a person who voluntarily acquires citizenship of any other country is no longer an Indian citizen. Also, according to The Passports Act, a person has to surrender his/her Indian passport and voter card and other Indian ID cards must not be used after another country's citizenship is obtained. It is a punishable offence if the person fails to surrender the passport.
Indian nationality law largely follows the jus sanguinis (citizenship by right of blood) as opposed to the jus soli (citizenship by right of birth within the territory). The President of India is termed the First Citizen of India.Indian passport
An Indian passport is issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to Indian citizens for the purpose of international travel. It enables the bearer to travel internationally and serves as proof of Indian citizenship as per the Passports Act (1967). The Passport Seva (Passport Service) unit of the Consular, Passport & Visa (CPV) Division of the Ministry of External Affairs functions as the central passport organisation, and is responsible for issuing Indian passports on demand to all eligible Indian citizens. Indian passports are issued at 93 passport offices located across India and at 162 Indian diplomatic missions abroad.In 2015, India issued about 12 million passports, a number exceeded only by China and United States. Approximately 65 million Indians held valid passports as of the end of 2015.Macao Special Administrative Region passport
The Macao Special Administrative Region passport (Portuguese: Passaporte da Região Administrativa Especial de Macau; Chinese: 澳門特別行政區護照) is a passport issued to Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of Macau.
In accordance with Macau Basic Law, since the transfer of sovereignty over Macau on 20 December 1999, this passport has been issued by the Identification Services Bureau (under the Secretariat for Administration and Justice) of the government of Macau under the prerogative of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China.
The official languages of Macau are Portuguese and Chinese; consequently, all the passport's text is in traditional Chinese characters, Portuguese, and English.Malaysian passport
The Malaysian passport (Malay: Pasport Malaysia) is the passport issued to citizens of Malaysia by the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
The main legislation governing the production of passports and travel documents, their possession by persons entering and leaving Malaysia, and related matters is the Passport Act 1966.
Processing of Malaysian passport applications and renewals is very rapid, with new passports usually issued one hour after payment for normal cases. The introduction of passport renewal kiosks (KiPPas) at Immigration Department branches across the country allow passport applicants to apply and pay for their passports without queuing at the passport application counters.Microsoft account
A Microsoft account or MSA (previously known as Microsoft Passport, .NET Passport, Microsoft Passport Network, and Windows Live ID) is a single sign-on Microsoft user account for Microsoft customers to log into Microsoft websites (like Outlook.com), devices running on one of Microsoft's current operating systems (e.g. Windows 10 computers and tablets, Windows Phones, and Xbox consoles), and Microsoft application software (including Visual Studio).Pakistani passport
Pakistani passports (Urdu: پاکستانی پاسپورٹ) are issued to Pakistani citizens for the purpose of international travel. They are issued by the Directorate General of Immigration & Passports (DGIP) of the Ministry of Interior from regional passport offices and Pakistani embassies. Since January 2014, Pakistani passports have been valid for 5 or 10 years. Under Pakistani law, Pakistani passports are not valid for travel to Israel. Pakistani passport holders are eligible to visit 39 countries without a visa, or with visa on arrival.
Pakistani passports are machine-readable and biometric. Until 2004, Pakistani passports had the bearers particulars written by hand, with the passport picture glued to the cover page. These passports looked very unsophisticated. Since 2004, passports have identity information printed on both front and back cover ends. Both of these pages are laminated to prevent modification. In 2004, Pakistan began issuing biometric passports which, however, were not compliant with ICAO standards because they did not carry the "chip inside" symbol (). In 2012, Pakistan adopted ICAO-compliant multi-biometric e-passport. According to the Interior Minister, biometric passports were to be introduced in 2017. Pakistani passports are printed in DGIP headquarters in Islamabad.Passports of the European Union
The European Union itself does not issue ordinary passports, but ordinary passport booklets issued by its 28 member states share a common format.
This common format features a coloured cover (for which burgundy is recommended but not compulsory: all countries except Croatia follow this recommendation) emblazoned—in the official language(s) of the issuing country (and sometimes its translation into English and French)—with the title "European Union", followed by the name(s) of the member state, its coat of arms, the word "PASSPORT", together with the biometric passport symbol at the bottom centre of the front cover.Some EU member states also issue non-EU passports to certain people who have a nationality which does not render them citizens of the European Union (e.g., British Overseas Territories Citizens except those with a connection to Gibraltar, British Protected Persons and British Subjects).In addition, the European Commission issues European Union Laissez-Passers to the members and certain civil servants of its institutions.Saudi Arabian passport
The Saudi Arabian passport (Arabic: جواز السفر السعودي) is a passport document issued to citizens of Saudi Arabia for international travel. It is valid for 5 or 10 lunar years.Taiwan passport
The Taiwan passport (Chinese: 中華民國護照; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó hùzhào) is the passport issued to nationals of the Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan. The passport is also commonly referred to as a Taiwanese passport.
The status and international recognition of the ROC passport is complicated due to the political status of Taiwan. The Nationality Law of the Republic of China considers not only residents of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu, but eligible overseas Chinese and Chinese residents of Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau to be nationals of the Republic of China. It is worth noting that the vast majority of Chinese-descent residents in Hong Kong, Macau or Mainland China are also nationals of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and do not hold any identification documents issued by the ROC. Individuals in the latter two categories may be eligible for a ROC passport under certain conditions, but do not have household registration in Taiwan (i.e. they are "nationals without household registration", or "NWOHR"), and thus do not enjoy the right of abode in Taiwan. Countries granting visa-free privileges to Taiwan passport holders often require a Taiwanese National ID number imprinted on the passport's biodata page, which signifies the holder's right of abode in Taiwan.
The Taiwanese passport is one of five passports with the most improved rating globally since 2006 in terms of the number of countries that its holders may visit without a visa.Travel document
A travel document is an identity document issued by a government or international treaty organization to facilitate the movement of individuals or small groups of people across international boundaries, following international agreements. Travel documents usually assure other governments that the bearer may return to the issuing country, and are often issued in booklet form to allow other governments to place visas as well as entry and exit stamps into them. The most common travel document is a passport, which usually gives the bearer more privileges like visa-free access to certain countries. However, the term is sometimes used only for those documents which do not bear proof of nationality, such as a refugee travel document.Travel visa
A visa (from the Latin charta visa, meaning "paper that has been seen") is a conditional authorisation granted by a territory to a foreigner, allowing them to enter, remain within, or to leave that territory. Visas typically may include limits on the duration of the foreigner's stay, areas within the country they may enter, the dates they may enter, the number of permitted visits or an individual's right to work in the country in question. Visas are associated with the request for permission to enter a territory and thus are, in most countries, distinct from actual formal permission for an alien to enter and remain in the country. In each instance, a visa is subject to entry permission by an immigration official at the time of actual entry, and can be revoked at any time. A visa most commonly takes the form of a sticker endorsed in the applicant's passport or other travel document.
Historically, immigration officials were empowered to permit or reject entry of visitors on arrival at the frontiers. If permitted entry, the official would issue a visa, when required, which would be a stamp in a passport. Today, travellers wishing to enter another country must often apply in advance for what is also called a visa, sometimes in person at a consular office, by post or over the internet. The modern visa may be a sticker or a stamp in the passport, or may take the form of a separate document or an electronic record of the authorisation, which the applicant can print before leaving home and produce on entry to the visited territory. Some countries do not require visitors to apply for a visa in advance for short visits.
Visa applications in advance of arrival give countries a chance to consider the applicant's circumstances, such as financial security, reason for travel, and details of previous visits to the country. Visitors may also be required to undergo and pass security or health checks upon arrival at the port of entry.
Some countries require that their citizens, as well as foreign travellers, obtain an "exit visa" to be allowed to leave the country.Uniquely, the Norwegian special territory of Svalbard is an entirely visa-free zone under the terms of the Svalbard Treaty.
Some countries—such as those in the Schengen Area—have agreements with other countries allowing each other's citizens to travel between them without visas. The World Tourism Organization announced that the number of tourists requiring a visa before travelling was at its lowest level ever in 2015.United States passport
United States passports are passports issued to citizens and nationals of the United States of America. They are issued exclusively by the U.S. Department of State. Besides passports (in booklet form), limited use passport cards are issued by the same government agency subject to the same requirements. It is unlawful for U.S. citizens and nationals to enter or exit the United States without a valid U.S. passport or Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative-compliant passport-replacement document, though there are many exceptions, waivers are generally granted for U.S. citizens returning without a passport, and the exit requirement is not enforced.
U.S. passport booklets conform with recommended standards (i.e., size, composition, layout, technology) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). There are five types of passport booklets; as well, the Department of State has issued only biometric passports as standard since August 2007, though non-biometric passports remained valid until their expiration dates. United States passports are property of the United States and must be returned to the U.S. government upon demand.By law, a valid unexpired U.S. passport (or passport card) is conclusive (and not just prima facie) proof of U.S. citizenship, and has the same force and effect as proof of United States citizenship as certificates of naturalization or of citizenship, if issued to a U.S. citizen for the full period allowed by law. U.S. law does not prohibit U.S. citizens from holding passports of other countries, though they are required to use their U.S. passport to enter and leave the U.S.
1 British Overseas Territories.
2 Open border with Schengen Area.
3 Russia is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. The vast majority of its population (80%) lives in European Russia, therefore Russia as a whole is included as a European country here.
9 Partially recognized.
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Visa policy by country
1 British Overseas Territories. 2 Open border with Schengen Area. 3 Russia is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. The majority of its population (80%) lives in European Russia, therefore Russia as a whole is included as a European country here. 4 Turkey is a transcontinental country in the Middle East and Southeast Europe. Has part of its territory (3%) in Southeast Europe called Turkish Thrace. 5 Azerbaijan (Artsakh) and Georgia (Abkhazia; South Ossetia) are transcontinental countries. Both have part of their territories in the European part of the Caucasus. 6 Kazakhstan is a transcontinental country. Has part of its territories located west of the Ural River in Eastern Europe. 7 Armenia and Cyprus (Northern Cyprus; Akrotiri and Dhekelia) are entirely in Southwest Asia but having socio-political connections with Europe. 8 Egypt is a transcontinental country in North Africa and the Middle East. Has part of its territory in the Middle East called Sinai Peninsula. 9 Part of the Realm of New Zealand. 10 Partially recognized. 11 Unincorporated territory of the United States. 12 Part of Norway, not part of the Schengen Area, special open-border status under Svalbard Treaty. 13 Part of the Kingdom of Denmark, not part of the Schengen Area.
1 British Overseas Territories. 2 Open border with Schengen Area. 3 Russia is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. The vast majority of its population (80%) lives in European Russia. 4 Turkey is a transcontinental country in the Middle East and Southeast Europe. Has a small part of its territory (3%) in Southeast Europe called Turkish Thrace. 5 Abkhazia9, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and South Ossetia9 are often regarded as transcontinental countries. Both have a small part of their territories in the European part of the Caucasus. 6 Kazakhstan is a transcontinental country. Has a small part of its territories located west of the Urals in Eastern Europe. 7 Armenia, Artsakh9, Cyprus, and Northern Cyprus9 are entirely in Southwest Asia but having socio-political connections with Europe. 8 Egypt is a transcontinental country in North Africa and the Middle East. Has a small part of its territory in the Middle East called Sinai Peninsula. 9 Partially recognized.