Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Passport, a certificate of identity and nationality, etc., issued from the Foreign Office of his country to a person about to travel, and countersigned by the representatives of his country in the states he purposes to visit. The document has to be shown on demand to the local authorities, and claims aid and protection for the bearer. Originally the word meant a written permission to pass through a port into the town or country to which the port belonged. Hence passports for goods, which relieve them from the usual duties, are still issued, and ships may have passports for their freight. The term is also applied to the certificates of identity and domicile without which the natives of some countries, such as Russia, may not travel in their own country, and which the police can at all times ask to see.