A passport is a travel document, usually issued by the government of a nation, that certifies the identity and nationality (not citizenship) 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.
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 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 "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. 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 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 people 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".
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.
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 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 Syria, have similar requirements.
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
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.
An IndianDiplomatic 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.
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.
Laissez-Passer — Issued by national governments or international organizations (such as the U.N.) as emergency passports, travel on humanitarian grounds, or for official travel.
Certificate of identity (also called Alien's passport, or informally, a Travel Document) — Issued under certain circumstances, such as statelessness, to non-citizen residents. An example is the "Nansen passport" (pictured). Sometimes issued as internal passport to non-residents.
Refugee travel document — Issued to a refugee by the state in which she or he currently resides allowing them to travel outside that state and to return. Made necessary because refugees are unlikely to be able to obtain passports from their state of nationality.
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. 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 long-term residence permit along with a passport or a Restricted Travel Document.
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
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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[excessive detail?] 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.
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 Malaysia passport has: These are to request and require in the name of the Supreme Head of Malaysia 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 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.
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, along with English and French.
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.
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.
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.
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.
China and Taiwan — Citizens of Taiwan (ROC) use a special travel permit (Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents) issued by China's (PRC) public-security authorities to enter China. Citizens of China entering Taiwan must also use a special travel permit (Exit & Entry 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.
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, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen do not allow entry to people with evidence of travel to Israel, or whose passports have either a used or an unused Israeli visa.
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.
South Korea — The South Korean government has banned Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen as travel destinations for safety. 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). 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.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) issues passports, but only Turkey recognises its statehood. TRNC passports are not accepted for entry into the Republic of Cyprus via airports or sea ports, but are accepted at the designated green line crossing points. However, all Turkish Cypriots are entitled by law to the issue of a Republic of Cyprus EU passport, and since the opening of the border between the two sides, Cypriot and EU citizens can travel freely between them. The United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Australia, Pakistan and Syria currently officially accept TRNC passports with the relevant visas.
Passports are not needed by citizens of San Marino and Italy to travel to each other's country. EU citizens do not need a passport to enter in San Marino. However, San Marino citizens must possess a regular passport to enter EU states other than Italy.
Spain does not accept United Kingdom passports issued in Gibraltar, alleging that the Government of Gibraltar is not a competent authority for issuing UK passports. The word "Gibraltar" now appears beneath the words "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" on the covers of British passports issued in Gibraltar.
Some countries decline to accept Tongan Protected Person passports, though they accept Tongan citizen passports. Tongan Protected Person passports are sold by the Government of Tonga to anyone who is not a Tongan national. 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.
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”.
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.
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.
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 driver's 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 nationals 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 nationals of the EEA (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), Albania, Montenegro and Serbia.
Montenegro accepts national ID cards or passports for entry from nationals 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 nationals 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.
Turkish citizens are allowed to enter Georgia and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus with a valid ID 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 residents which allow passport free travel; generally only for land and sea border crossings:
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 non-citizen 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 and non-citizen nationals.
The SENTRI-card allows passport-free entry into the U.S. from Mexico (but not vice versa).
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, 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.
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. 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.
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) to every South American country except Guyana and Suriname.
^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.
^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 http://artsforum.ca/ideas/in-depth
^Arkelian, A.J. “Freedom of Movement of Persons Between States and Entitlement to Passports.”Saskatchewan Law Review, Volume 49, No.1, 1984-85.
^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.
Torpey, John C. (2000). The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship and the State. Cambridge studies in law and society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-63249-8. OCLC59408523.