A passport is a travel document issued by the government of a state to its citizens. It is an identity document that allows its holder to travel abroad. Individuals seeking entry to a country other than their own as tourists, students or workers must follow certain procedures and ask for authorisation.
A passport is generally required to cross a border and may be combined with a visa.
A passport contains information that identifies a person, such as first and last names, sex, date and place of birth, an identifying photograph, the holder’s signature and often physical characteristics, such as height and eye colour. Some states, especially in the European Union, are phasing in the requirement to include biometric data in chips.
The ICAO standardises passports with its Document 9303, defining shared general characteristics for passports to facilitate border controls. Most passports issued throughout the world respect this standard; only a small fraction present small differences. A passport generally comes in booklet format.
It has a page with personal data containing the holder’s photo and a machine-readable zone (MRZ) of two lines of 44 characters.