Travel Documents



9 Questions

What is the most common travel document used by individuals crossing international borders?

What is the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)?

What is the purpose of the United Nations Laissez-Passer?

What is the purpose of the Interpol Travel Document?

What are identity cards used for in some jurisdictions?

What is the purpose of Seafarers' identity documents?

What is the purpose of a Horse passport?

What is the Nordic Passport Union?

What is the purpose of the UNMIK Travel Document?


Travel Documents: Key Facts and Information

  • Travel documents are identity documents issued by governments or international entities to enable individuals to clear border control measures.

  • The most common travel document is a passport, which is issued in booklet form to allow other governments to place visas as well as entry and exit stamps into them.

  • Border control policies require travellers to present valid travel documents to ascertain their identity, nationality or permanent residence status, and eligibility to enter a given jurisdiction.

  • Different countries impose varying travel document regulations and requirements as part of their border control policies and these may vary based on the traveller's mode of transport.

  • Passports have an expiry date, after which it is no longer recognized, but it is recommended that a passport is valid for at least six months.

  • The International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) is an official vaccination report created by the WHO that serves as a kind of medical passport recognised internationally and may be required for entry to certain countries.

  • Indigenous nations in the Americas, as well as the Aboriginal Provisional Government in Australia, issue passports to their citizens as an assertion of sovereignty symbolically rejecting the legitimacy of settler authorities; these are typically not recognised as valid travel documents for border control purposes.

  • Laissez-passer is a travel document issued by a national government or certain international organisations; it is often for one-way travel to the issuing country for humanitarian reasons only.

  • The most common laissez-passer is the United Nations laissez-passer issued by the United Nations under the provisions of Article VII of the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.

  • Passports issued by governments are the most common variety of travel document, but many states and international organisations issue other varieties of travel documents that allow the holder to travel internationally to countries that recognise the documents.

  • Travel documents may be requested in other circumstances to confirm identification such as checking into a hotel or when changing money to a local currency.

  • Different types of passports are issued by governments around the world for different purposes, including ordinary passports issued to individual citizens and other nationals, collective passports, and family passports (which are essentially obsolete).Overview of Travel Documents

  • Travel documents are used to establish the identity and citizenship of individuals crossing international borders.

  • The United Nations Laissez-Passer is a travel document issued to UN officials and is valid for official missions only. It may be accepted for entry without a visa in some countries.

  • The European Union Laissez-Passer is issued to civil servants and members of EU institutions and is valid in all EU countries and over 100 other countries.

  • The Interpol Travel Document is issued to Interpol officers and waives normal visa requirements for travel to Interpol member countries.

  • Identity cards are permitted in some jurisdictions to clear border controls, such as for citizens of India, Nepal, and Bhutan traveling between those countries.

  • Permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macau do not require passports when traveling within those regions.

  • Within the Schengen Area, national identity cards may be used to clear border controls.

  • Seafarers' identity documents are issued to crew members of vessels engaged in international voyages.

  • Certificate of identity documents are issued by countries to non-citizens who are stateless or unable to obtain a passport from their state of nationality.

  • Non-convention travel documents are certificates of identity issued to non-citizens who do not have access to passport facilities from their own countries and are not recognised as either Convention refugees.

  • The UNMIK Travel Document was issued to residents of Kosovo who were not able to obtain a passport from Yugoslavia for the purpose of foreign travel.Types of Travel Documents

  • UNMIK Travel Document was issued by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to residents of Kosovo who were unable to obtain passports from the Serbian government.

  • The Chinese Travel Document is required for certain Chinese citizens entering mainland China.

  • A Travel Document in Lieu of National Passport may be issued to Israeli citizens in certain circumstances.

  • The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows animals to travel easily between member countries without undergoing quarantine, and a pet passport is required for this.

  • Horse passports allow horses to be accurately identified and more easily transported internationally.

  • Internal travel documents are required in countries which maintain internal border controls, such as in India and China.

  • International travel is possible without travel documents in some circumstances, such as the Kartarpur Corridor or between the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, and the Republic of Ireland.

  • De facto travel documents, such as driving licenses, are necessary in practice in areas where travel documents are not expressly required for nationals of certain countries.

  • Other means of identification, such as an expired national identity card or passport, may be used to prove citizenship for EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens to enjoy the right of free movement in the EU.

  • The Nordic Passport Union allows Nordic citizens to visit any of these countries without being in possession of identity documents.

  • Some countries, such as Russia, issue internal passports as an identity document.

  • Separate passports for travel abroad existed or exist in certain countries, such as East Germany and the Soviet Union.


Test your knowledge on travel documents with this informative quiz! From passports to laissez-passer, discover the different types of travel documents issued by governments and international organizations. Learn about the various regulations and requirements imposed by different countries on these documents and how they are used to establish identity and citizenship when crossing international borders. Test yourself on the different types of passports issued by governments around the world and other means of identification, such as internal travel documents and driving licenses. Take this quiz to see how much you know

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