Your Passport - Things You Did and Didn't Know

By Halal Trip | 10, Jul, 2014
Your Passport - Things You Did and Didn't Know

Your passport certifies your identity and nationality and is an essential document for all your travels. Besides standard procedures such as passport renewal and applying for one at the passport office, how much do you actually know about your passport? Read on to find out!

Passport (Pass a Port) is derived from the from the French language passerporte. Many people mistake the port here as the sea port but it is not so. Port is actually derived from the French word Porte meaning Gateway or door. In ancient times kingdoms were guarded by the grand porte or gateways. Thus the term passport came to be a document used for passing safely through these gateways. Its first reference of being used as a passport can be traced back to the 450 BC when Nehemia, an official serving King Artaxerxes I of Persia wanted to travel to Judea. Hence the King gave him the document for his safe passage. Passports in medieval time were not required for travelling to sea ports since it was an open trading point. In the Medieval Islamic Caliphate a form of passport was used and was known as bara’a a receipt for taxes paid.

Only those who paid their taxes were allowed to travel within the empire. King Henry V in the 1400’s was the first issuer of what is considered today a true passport. It was issued to help his subjects prove their identity in foreign lands and due to a rise in spies in that period. The consensus on passports were made in 1920 at the League of Nations where passport guidelines and booklet design was agreed upon. The Color Schemes of Passports: There are various colours of Black, Blue, Brown, Green, Red and etc. These are used to distinguish the type of person carrying the passports. The color differs from country to country but the only thing which stands out is the Black passport. These passports are issued to the diplomats and have special provileges at airport customs, etc. ( I would love to get those passports someday and enjoy the crème brulee of the black passport!) Here are some fun facts you didn’t know about the passport.

  • Queen Elizabeth does not need a passport to travel as technically she is the issuer of all passports in the UK!
  • The Pope’s passport which is issued to him by the Vatican is issued as “Passport no:1”.
  • President of the United States needs a passport to travel.  The passport is black in color just like for the diplomats. And better yet he has it with him for the rest of his life !!
  • The Conch Repuplic Passport is a fantasy passport issued as a souvenir and a joke. The Conch Republic even have their Independence day on april 23rd every year and as the secretary states The organization – a "Sovereign State of Mind," seeking only to bring more "Humor, Warmth and Respect" to a world in sore need of all three.

So here we go, enlightenment on one of the world’s most oldest and used document – The Passport.