Interesting Facts About Passports that Are Good to Keep in Mind

With the improving pandemic situation, many of us would for sure like to travel, whether to see our relatives that we haven’t been allowed to visit for so long or for the feeling of discovering new cultures. No matter the reason, you’ll always need one important thing: a passport. Is your passport still valid? Do you know all the requirements for getting a new one? In this article, we are bringing you a few interesting passport facts that you might find helpful.

You may not be able to board if your passport doesn’t have enough blank pages.
You may not be able to board if your passport doesn’t have enough blank pages.

Different size requirements for photos

While most countries require portrait mode passport photos (35 mm by 45 mm), there are some exceptions. For instance, Indian and U.S. citizen passports require a square-shaped photo. More precisely, the correct size of a photo should be 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) and the head should preferably be between 1 -1 3/8 inches (25 – 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. 

Other requirements for U.S. and Indian photos include:

  • Colour photo, no older than six months, printed on glossy or matte paper
  • White or off-white background
  • A clear image of a face, no  filters (commonly used on social media) and other digital changes
  • Always have someone else take your photo. Selfies are not allowed!
  • Take off your eyeglasses for your photo
  • A damaged photo with holes, creases or smudges cannot be submitted

TIP: Do you already have your photo? You can check if your photo meets all the requirements here.

Speaking of photos, did you know that you are not in charge of your photos in every country? For example, Czech and Slovak passports (and possibly some other countries) have the photos already imprinted in them. That means that the photos are usually taken wherever  you apply for your  passport e.g. at the police station or your municipality

 

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Are visa and passport photos the same?

Yes, it is possible to use the same photo for your country’s passport as well as in a visa application for another country if you apply for both of them at the same time. However, keep in mind that you are supposed to provide a recent (no older than 6 months) picture of yourself for passports and visas

Therefore, if you submit the same photo with your application as the passport, which was issued a few years ago, the visa-granting country may reject it.

 

No uniforms allowed

You cannot be photographed for your passport in any kind of uniform, including military or law enforcement uniforms. One exception is commercial employees who wear their uniforms during travel, like pilots or flight attendants.

TIP: If you aren’t sure what exact size your country requires it is a good idea to use the website IDPhoto4You. Here you can find templates for all countries and various output print sizes. All you have to do is take a picture facing and looking into the camera in front of a white background.

 

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Changing passport before its due date

If you undergo radical facial surgery or extensively alter your appearance (face tattoo, facial piercings…), you will need to change your passport pictures as well.

 

Documents needed for a passport application

When applying for a passport, you will need to provide documents proving your identity and citizenship.

Each country has its own passport requirements. Therefore, it is a good idea to check your government’s website for the relevant list of accepted supporting documents.

For example, Canadians need to provide proof of their citizenship by showing two different documents – for example an original of their birth certificate and a driver’s licence. They also need to provide two identical passport photos and a valid Canadian travel document.

 

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Having two passports

Some EU countries allow you to have two passports at the same time. While the first “normal” passport is issued for ten years, the second one will be issued only for five but will be valid at the same time. 

It is a good idea to have two passports, especially when travelling to more risky countries or countries that may be dangerous (e.g. Israel and Palestine). Some countries simply don’t like to see stamps from their “enemies” in your passports. In this case, entry may be more complicated or may be prohibited completely. Having two passports can also be very helpful when one of them gets lost.

 

Having two passports in Russia, Ukraine and North Korea

However, having two “passports” in Russia, Ukraine and North Korea is a completely different story in that it is very common there. Russia, Ukraine and North Korea issue both domestic and international travel passports for their citizens. 

As for the Russian national passport, its function is close to an ID card that most Westerners have. Similar to IDs, Russians should carry their passports on them at all times. However, the passport law says the document should be “kept safe,” and this is why many Russians make photocopies of their passports to carry around.

 

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Global Passport Index

The Passport Index is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom of the passport holder. The stronger your country’s passport is, the more “travel freedom you have”. The strongest passport is the German one. Czechia is in 5th place along with Luxembourg, Norway and Poland. 

Are you curious to see the strength of your country’s passport? Visit passportindex website for more information.

 

Blank pages and passport validity

You may get banned from boarding if your passport doesn’t have enough blank pages.

As a general rule, passports should have at least six months of validity left when travelling internationally. Most countries will not permit a traveller to enter their country unless the passport is set to expire at least six months after the final day of travel.

 

Does your country’s passport require anything unique? Let us know! For more interesting facts follow our social media and blog.

Are you interested in applying for a residence permit so you can travel from the Czech Republic without any minor problems? Get in touch with us!

Sources: travel.state.gov, quora.com, passpotintex.org, cestujemespolu.com, rbth.com, foreigners.bg, passportindex.org

Image source: Nicole Geri, unsplashed.com

Viktoria Solarova

Viktoria Solarova

Hello! I am Viki and practically I am expat, too. I am from Slovakia but I study here, in Prague. I hope you enjoy reading my articles, at least as much as I enjoy creating them :)

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