How Important Is Your Passport?

A passport is important. What can happen to your passport.

When you travel out of the borders of the country of which you are a citizen, you are required to have a passport.  Your passport is very important.  In some areas of the world, you could not even register to get a hotel room if you are not in possession of a passport.  When you register, your passport is taken by the manager of the hotel and kept until you pay your bill and leave.  The information found on your passport includes all of your personal information like name, birthday, and place of birth. 

You are warned on page 24 of your passport, or the page given on the back of the front cover of your passport, to make copies of the back of the front page to keep at home in case something happens to your passport while traveling.  Once you register at a hotel, your passport is out of your hands until you sign out.  In some parts of the world, you are required to show your passport while disembarking from a cruise ship.  If you don't have a passport with you, you could be kept until your passport is found.

Obviously, when your passport is not in your possession copies can be made.  There are many cases of foreign travelers who have had their identity stolen by passport frauds.  There really is little a traveler to foreign countries which include Canada and Mexico as well as the Bahamas and other nearby foreign countries can do to protect their identity from being stolen by passport duplicators.  That is a fact of traveling that people who are planning on leaving the boundaries of the United States need to know. 

However, there are many benefits to those foreign countries in insisting on strict control of foreigners.  If a traveler does not have a passport in a foreign country, the penalties are very severe.  No one bothers to ask if they have come into the country to find a job because conditions in their country are poor.  That might sound trivial but laws in foreign countries written to protect citizens of those countries are strictly enforced.  Strangers are expected to behave better than citizens and to have proof of their identity. 

Passports have existed since Egyptian times and maybe were part of the earliest documents showing courtesy to travelers while outside of their country.  Only very important people were given passports if they were traveling on errands from one seat of government to another.  However, as the world shrank and the League of Nations was formed, passports became mandatory for all people traveling outside of their country. Your passport then is considered a prestigious document and is even more important depending on the country that has issued you a passport.  Treat your passport with respect as it protects you while you are traveling outside of your country of citizenship. 

You can apply for a passport by filling out an online form at a passport center or picking up an application from your courthouse or local post office.  You will need special passport pictures and a fee to have your passport made out and shipped back to you.  The Secretary of State of the United States of America is your passport guardian much as in ancient times a King or a Queen backed the document written to foreign dignitaries to honor their representative.  If you travel with an American passport, you are a representative of the Secretary of State of the United States. 


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