August 10, 2002
5:41 AM   Subscribe

The Passport: the next step in its evolution may include invisible information encoded into your mug shot, but if you are wondering where it all began, the Canadian passport office identifies one Nehemiah of Persia, ca. 450 BC, as candidate for very first passport holder. Some think that it was all downhill from there. Regardless, there might be very good reasons for getting more than one passport, which you can do legally, or less so. Lenin had a fake passport. So did Hitler, though he didn't know it. (More inside.)
posted by taz (5 comments total)
The Republic of Lomar describes itself as a "quasi-state" that offers citizenship and passports to refugees and others, in a humanitarian effort meant to be similar to the "Nansen Passport" project that provided passage documents for war prisoners and refugees after WWI. If you are interested in seeing what the passports of other countries look like, this guy has images of most them, including the spurious and the curious. Even bovines, fictional characters and the French can get passports, so start your collection today!
posted by taz at 5:42 AM on August 10, 2002

I've always enjoyed getting a new passport, though I feel cheated if I haven't filled the old one with visas, stamps, etc.; however, here in Canada, we get quite a raw deal when it comes to passports. Our fees are comparable to Australia, the U.S. [though all these are higher than the U.K.'s (warning: PDF)]; but, all those countries (and most others, I believe) issue passports for 10 years...the Canadian one is only valid for 5.

It's not just the fact that this makes our passport twice as expensive as others, it's the hassle of having to reapply (new photos, new signatures certifying you are who you say you are, etc.) twice as often. And then most people abroad just assume I'm from the U.S. anyway...
posted by filmgoerjuan at 8:09 AM on August 10, 2002

Comprehensive and authoritative post--excellent maiden voyage, taz!
posted by rushmc at 8:48 AM on August 10, 2002

How passports work, including why some are blue and some are green. (They're wrong about one thing. They were green for decades, then changed to blue for the Bicentennial.) Also, the Straight Dope on passport colors, covering the coveted red and black passports.
posted by dhartung at 10:38 AM on August 10, 2002

Re: the Straight Dope on black diplomatic passports:

A friend of mine has a diplomatic passport, but it was merely blue, but with the words DIPLOMAT on the cover. Her parents work for the State Department.
posted by reverendX at 3:33 PM on August 10, 2002

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