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Sunday, 1 January 2017



The Old Testament book Nehemiah tells us that around 450BC, King Artaxerxes of Persia gave his official Nehemiah a letter granting him safe passage to Judah. This is one of the first references to a passport.

King Cnut (Canute) was one of the first rulers to issue passports when he issued documents to pilgrims on their pilgrimage to Rome. The purpose of this was to secure their safe passage through the many countries they had to traverse before reaching their destination.

Until the Middle Ages, passports were given only to the privileged well-to-do.

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 the Safe Conducts Act of 1414.

Passports were written in Latin or English until 1772, then French, and English again from 1885.

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 travel documents.

An Ottoman passport issued to Russian subject dated July 24th, 1900.

During World War I, European governments introduced border passport requirements for security reasons, and to control the emigration of people with useful skills. On February 1, 1915, British passports were for the first time required to carry photographs of their holders instead of written descriptions. These controls remained in place after the war throughout Europe, becoming a standard, though controversial, procedure.

In 1916, the German Empire allowed citizens to take passport photos with their dogs.

In 1920, the International Conference on Passports, Customs Formalities and Through Tickets made a law that said passports must be issued in French and at least one other language. Now, many countries issue passports in English and the language(s) of the issuing country.

When Nazi spies tried infiltrating Russia in World War Two, their fake passports were recognized as fraud as the staples holding them together were made of American non-corrosive, stainless steel.
Genuine Russian passports had staples made of metal that began to rust as soon as the passports were issued.

When the mummified Ramses II was flown to Paris in 1974, he was issued an Egyptian passport that listed his occupation as “King (deceased).”

Frederick Forsyth's 1972 novel The Day of the Jackal showcased an easy method of obtaining a fraudulent British passport, which was later used by the IRA and the KGB. This loophole wasn't closed until 2007, and may have resulted in up to 1,500 fake passports being issued each year.


The Queen of England doesn't need a passport, since all passports in Britain are issued in her name. She just has to say that she is the queen.

More than 5 million passports of the United Kingdom are printed each year—one every 2.5 seconds—at a secret location in the North of England.

By ukhomeoffice - How a passport is made, Wikipedia Commons

Holders of British passports can travel to 173 countries without applying for a visa. With Sweden and Finland, Britons have the greatest range of visa-free travel in the world.

Perhaps the rarest passports of all are the British Queen's Messenger Passports carried by royal couriers. Only 15 of these are in use.

The Vatican issues passports and the Pope always has "Passport No 1".

Most Muslim-majority countries have green-colored passport covers- including Morocco, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

All Pakistani passports bear the inscription: "This passport is valid for all countries of the World except Israel."

Germany's passport is the world's most powerful—it grants visa-free access to 177 countries out of 218.

In the bottom right-hand corner of each page of the Finnish passport, is a drawing of a moose. If you flip through the pages the moose is seen going for a stroll.

The horses in Olympic equestrian events have their own passports and fly business class.

In the 1999 movie The Matrix, Neo's passport expires on September 11, 2001.

UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was offered passport no. 007, but turned it down.

Source Daily Express

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