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Passport and Identity

Passport and Identity

By Monica on 11 January, 2016

What is a passport?

The passport is a personal identification document, which a person uses to travel to another country and to verify their identity and nationality. On the other hand, the passport also serves to control the entry and exit of holder incumbent to and from different countries.

Passport control

Due to increased security checks that enable authorities to see if the person traveling with a passport abroad is really who he or she claims to be, countries have been improving their passport issues. It should be noted that many countries have migrated to electronic passports as they are so far the safest option - but they are not impossible to forge.

The three most common types of passport are:

Conventional reading passport: in this passport the photo is pasted onto a sheet without any security measures. This is very easy to forge and is therefore no longer valid in many countries. 

Mechanical passport: the photograph is affixed to a special material and has a bar code, which gives information on the document holder and which may be verified by immigration control in the countries you visit.

Electronic passport: this form of identity is much like the mechanical passport, but with the difference that it does not have a bar code but a chip with information from the bearer. This is more secure and difficult to forge. The passport has a logo that indicates that the ID is an electronic passport.

Is a passport required for travel to all countries?

Passports are required for travel to any country in the world except those countries that have agreements with each other instrument, such as Mercosur, or the European Union countries that allow their citizens to travel with their national identity cards.  An example would be that Argentines can travel with their national ID to Brazil, or any country in the Mercosur. On the other hand, the Spanish cannot travel to the UK without a passport and with only their national ID. It’s important if you want to travel to find out what are required – national documents, passports, or visas.   

Conditions for using the passport as your identification abroad.

1. The passport must be valid.

Having a passport is not the only condition for travel - in addition, the foreign passport or identity must be valid for a period exceeding six months. This is necessary to ask for a visa or to travel to countries that do not require a visa. For example, if you have Peruvian nationality and need a visa for the United States, you will be denied entry if your passport has no more than 6 months left on it. Another example: if you do not require a visa because you are an Argentine national and are traveling to Spain, but your passport expires within 6 months, you will not be allowed entry into Spain or your time in Spain will be restricted. Therefore you should verify when your passport expires before travelling or requesting a visa.

2. Keep your passport with you at all times when you're abroad.

Take good care of your passport when traveling, as it is the only document that will identify the country you are from and ensure that the country you are visiting has a record that you are there legally. If you lose your passport or it is stolen, you must immediately report the loss to the police and register the complaint.  In countries like the United States it is necessary to show the report for your visa. This puts you above suspicion if, for example, someone was to use your identity.   You also need to record the loss to get a replacement passport from your own country or consulate. Once you make a complaint, you should ask your consulate in the nearest country to send you a passport or pass to enable you to return home.   If you do not have a replacement passport or pass, you will need to take the complaint report to the appropriate office in your arrival country and request your requirements there.

3. Passport must be in good condition.

Your passport has to be in good condition.  If your passport is in a poor condition you will not be allowed to enter the country you want to enter without a visa, or you will not be given a visa in the respective consulate.

4. You should never let anyone take your passport/identification.

If you do, people could use it and cause great problems, if, for example, your identity is usurped to commit a crime.  It will be very difficult to prove that it was not you who committed the crime.

It is important always to remember that a passport is your ID, so care must be taken - even more than with your country-specific identification. Making a point of learning a bit about what to do when there is a problem will make for an easy and pleasant journey.  Problems with ID can be complex in your own country – but they can be much more difficult when you’re on the outside, in a different place! You can also have major setbacks when trying to leave your destination.   It’s important to note that doing things in advance is essential when applying for visas or big problems can arise when you try to reach the place you’re travelling to. Ensuring everything is in order as above will make things easier when you make that important journey.

If you plan to take a trip to a foreign country soon, do not hesitate to consult Experts on JustAnswer – they are available 24 hours a day.They will be able to inform you of the best documents you may need to travel, by nationality and destination. They are here to make your life easy!