Nansen passport

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Nansen passport
The front cover of a Nansen passport.
Issued by  League of Nations
Type of document Passport
Purpose Identification
Eligibility requirements stateless refugees

Nansen passports were internationally recognized refugee travel documents, first issued by the League of Nations to stateless refugees.


Designed in 1922 by Fridtjof Nansen, they were by 1942 honored by governments in 52 countries. Approximately 450,000 Nansen passports were provided[1] to stateless people and refugees who needed travel documents but could not obtain one from a national authority.

The Nansen passport was originally provided to refugees from the Russian civil war. It's estimated that about 800,000 Russian refugees had become stateless when Lenin revoked citizenship for all Russian expatriates in 1921.[2]

In 1933, the arrangement was broadened to also include Armenian, Assyrian, Chaldean and Turkish refugees.

Nobel Peace Prize[edit]

The Nansen International Office for Refugees was awarded the 1938 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to establish the Nansen passports.[3]


While Nansen passports are no longer issued, existing national and supranational authorities, including the United Nations, issue travel documents for stateless people and refugees, including certificates of identity (or "alien's passports") and refugee travel documents.

Notable holders[edit]


  1. ^ Nansen-pass Store Norske Leksikon, retrieved December 11, 2012
  2. ^ (in Norwegian), retrieved December 11, 2012
  3. ^ Fridtjof Nansen,, 1922. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  4. ^ Cartier, Pierre (2009) [2000]. Un pays dont on ne connaîtrait que le nom (Grothendieck et les « motifs ») [A country of which nothing is known but the name: Grothendieck and “motives”] (in French). p. 10, footnote 12. Retrieved 2014-04-02, translation. 
  5. ^ Nansenkontoret (in Norwegian), retrieved December 11, 2012

External links[edit]