A passport is an official document that is issued by a competent public authority of a country to its citizen. A passport holder can cross any international border or port of the country, without any difficulty or delay.

The government issues a passport to its citizens when it does not have any objection for the person to leave his/her country. It is also a document of the highest legal order.

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Further, it is issued in the name of the country, i.e. the president/chancellor/king, etc. It is a booklet that the Ministry of External Affairs with the help of the Ministry of Home affairs issues to its citizen or holder. The passport is the holder’s international identity which shows the holder’s national status in the world.

In order to go abroad, every passenger must possess a passport or other official documents of identity. These documents establish the bearer’s identity and nationality and authorize them to travel outside their own country. In short, we can say that it is permissible to pass the port.

A passport contains a photograph of the holder, and bear endorsements and visa/tourist permits required for the journey.

It is on the basis of this document with its endorsement that a national of a country is permitted to leave his/her country for a certain period of time, for an entry into a foreign land and various purposes.

It is also vital to know that a passport does not ask for religion, caste, or creed but only for the place of origin of the individual.

Usually, it indicates the countries for which they are valid, or that they are valid for all countries. If a passport is valid for most countries, expecting a few, the latter will be listed separately.

Who Issue a Passport?

The public authorities competent to issue passports and other documents of identification vary from one country to another. Outside the country of residence, the diplomatic or consular offices representing the country concerned can issue these documents.

Who can have a passport?

Any citizen of the country can apply for a passport and if the government has no objection to issuing him/her the same, then the external affairs ministry will issue him/her a passport. While applying, the holder must be the citizenship of the country whose passport has been applied for.

How to obtain a Passport and country citizenship?

It is important to know that a person can hold only one passport at a time. However, nowadays, there are some countries that are offering dual citizenship, for example, India.

A person can claim a passport and the citizenship of a country on the basis of the following six conditions:

By Birth

A person can obtain a passport by birth. It means if a person is born in a particular country, that person has the right to obtain citizenship and a passport. For example, if Mrs. X, who is an Indian citizen, gives birth to a child in the USA, then the child would automatically get American citizenship.

Through Parents

One can get the citizenship of parents by natural course.

By Normalization or by Application

If a person settles in a particular country for many years and then wishes to have citizenship of that country, he/she would receive citizenship only after the fulfillment of all government procedures.

For example, a person enters the USA on a student visa and continues his/her studies. After his/her stay in the USA for 10 years, he/she applies for a green card and then applies for citizenship.

Political Asylum

Political asylum is only for extraordinary situations, especially for those who have become victims of political/social problems.

For example, during the Fascist regime, many Jews fled from Germany and took shelter in the USA and were given political asylum.

The United Kingdom gave political asylum to a famous writer Salman Rushdie.

Even Bangladesh writer Taslima Nasreen is under political asylum in India. As these people live in danger in their respective countries, so other countries give political asylum to these people.

Through Marriage

If one of the spouses holds different citizenship then if the other spouse wishes, he/she can get the spouse’s citizenship.

For example, Mr. X from India goes to the USA and then marries Ms. Y, who is an American citizen, then if Mr. X wishes he could get American citizenship or vice versa.

Citizenship by Honour or Invitation:  This kind of citizenship is for a very extraordinary person. For example, when Neil Armstrong returned from the Moon, many countries honored him by giving their citizenship.

Types of Passport

There are three types of passports in India. They are as follows:

Ordinary or Normal Passport

The ordinary or normal passport is for the ordinary citizen of India. The color of the passport is dark blue.

Official Passport

The official passport is for government officials or other persons who travel on government missions. The color of the official passport is white or grey.

Further, a red-color passport is for the persons holding diplomatic or consular status as per international law and customs.

Although most people will travel with a passport, it should be noted that other travel documents can also be used in lieu of a passport. These documents are valid for limited countries and purposes.

Therefore, it is always necessary to check carefully whether such documents are recognized by the country of the passengers’ destination and transit, even if such documents bear an endorsement for such countries. The travel agent should contact the issuing authority to check that it can be used for any travel arrangements.

Documents Necessary while Applying for a Passport

Nowadays applying for a passport has become easier as the applicants can apply online. Apart from this, the applicant can also submit the form directly to the respective passport office/district passport centers.

Along with the application form, the applicant needs to submit the following documents:

Photograph:  It requires three recent passport size photographs in color showing the full frontal view. Black and white photographs, photographs with colored or dark glasses or uniform.

Kindly note that Polaroid prints are not accepted.

Address Proof: Photocopies of the first and last page of ration card, election card, telephone bill, electricity bill, bank account statement, a certificate from employer of a reputed company on the official letterhead, gas connection bill, or water bill that bear the applicant’s address details.

Date of Birth: This is necessary if the applicant is a citizen of India by registration or naturalization.

Identity Certificate: Government, public sector, and employees of statutory bodies should submit their identity certificate in original.

No Objection Certificate: This should be submitted in original if the person applying is a government employee.

Affidavit/Marriage certificate: This certificate is necessary to change the name on the passport after marriage.

Letter of Authority:  Required for travel agents.

Supporting Documents: These documents are necessary as proof for the Emigration Clearance Not Required (ECNR) status.

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