All About Passports

What Is a Passport?

A passport is a travel document issued by a country’s government to its citizens that verifies the identity and nationality of the holder for the purpose of international travel.

Passports are small booklets that typically contain the bearer’s name, place of birth, date of birth, the date of issue, date of expiry, passport number, photo and signature. There are several types of passports depending on the status of the bearer in their home country.

What Is an Official Passport?
An official passport, or service passport, is a type of passport that is issued to government employees. Its purpose is to let officials in the destination country know that the bearer is entering the country on official business, representing their country in an official capacity. Holders of official passports are not typically granted any special privileges.

What Is a Diplomatic Passport?
A diplomatic passport is granted to diplomats who are travelling for official business and representing their home country abroad.

Diplomats are appointed by the government to conduct official business abroad and maintain political, economic and social relations with other countries. Their passports typically grant them certain privileges and immunities, such as exemption from prosecution and taxes in the host country.

What Is an Emergency Passport?
An emergency passport, or temporary passport, is issued when you’ve lost your passport or had it stolen and you don’t have time to apply for a new one. For example, if you left your passport on the plane by accident and therefore cannot board your connecting flight, you may call your embassy and be issued an emergency one-way passport that will get you home.

What Is a Collective Passport?
A collective passport may be issued to a group, such as schoolchildren, travelling abroad together. However, children are typically encouraged to travel on their own passports.

What Is a Family Passport?
Family passports are issued to one member of the family but may be used for all family members for travelling purposes. However, the official passport bearer must be travelling as well. Family passports are quite rare these days.

What Is an ePassport?
An epassport, or electronic passport, is a regular passport booklet that contains an electronic chip in the cover. This chip contains the passport bearer’s information and provides an extra layer of security against passport fraud.

Why Do I Need a Passport?
Passports are necessary if you’d like to travel abroad as they verify your identity and nationality. They grant the bearer safe passage and protection in a foreign land.

You typically must present your passport several times at the airport if you are flying, and at the border if you are travelling by car. Additionally, you may also need a visa in order to enter your destination country.

Do I Need a Passport for Domestic Flights?
No. Typically you do not need a passport for domestic flights as other government-issued photo identification is acceptable. However, be sure to check your country’s travel regulations to find out what documents you need for domestic and international travel.

Can I Use My Passport as My ID?

Yes. You can use your passport as identification outside the airport. However, it is not recommended to carry around your passport on a daily basis or for a night out, as replacing a lost passport can be costly and time-consuming.

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