Talk:Travel document

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The title of this article is unacceptably vague. Many countries consider passports to be travel documents. Notice that the Passport article already falls into the category of International Travel Documents. Perhaps you could explain to me how a passport can be an international travel document without being a travel document. Jonathan David Makepeace 23:08, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Credit me with some sense - it's my job to train airlines on passport and visa regulations and I have been in the game 20 years. A passport isn't a travel document because it confers nationality. A travel document is a Tdoc because it doesn't confer nationality. Thems the accepted international definitions. If its not clear I can add a definition section. --Spartaz 23:13, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Show me the international convention that says that passports aren't travel documents but alien's passports and certificates of identity are. We both know that passports aren't _Convention_ travel documents. Here, for just one example, the New Zealand government clearly defines passports as travel documents: Jonathan David Makepeace 23:45, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Here the U.S. government clearly refers to passports as travel documents: Do you really think that Canada issues over 3 million travel documents by your definition every year? (They explicitly state that 98% of the travel documents they issue are passports.) Jonathan David Makepeace 23:57, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I think you are right. We were always trained to consider passports and tdocs as separate entities but logically a passport is also a travel document because it confers identity. This gives us the opportunity to expand this article to cover ID cards, direct to main passport article and keep the stuff on non-national documents. I have already corrected the definition and will add a types section tomorrow when I have some sleep (I'm on GMT+2 here). I'll also fix the definition in the passport article before I go to bed. --Spartaz 00:34, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't have time to work on it right now, but it might be best to consolidate the article on alien's passports and certificates of identity into this article. The term "alien's passport" passport is pretty much unambiguous, but a certificate of identity means different things when issued by different countries. Another term that needs treatment is "laissez-passer," and, again, different countries use the term differently--not too mention the U.N., which also issues them. Brazil issues laissez-passers to nationals of countries it doesn't recognize, for travel to Brazil. Many countries issue them to their own citizens abroad, usually for an emergency one-way trip home. Then there is the Israeli "Travel Document in lieu of a National Passport," which is issued to immigrants under the law of return who have not yet resided in Israel for at least one year. Israel doesn't issue them full passports because other countries insist that passports should only be issued to someone with a relevant connection to a country. (Otherwise any Jew in the world could show up in Israel for a few weeks and immediately leave the country with a new identity.) Another reason is that Israel discourages Jews from claiming citizenship unless they actually intend to live in Israel. The TDiloaNP is a red flag to other countries that, yes, he's legally an Israeli but not by birth or naturalization (which is a different process requiring long-term residence in Israel). Another concern I have is with the use of the phrase "confer nationality." Documents do not confer nationality. They are evidence of nationality. Laws and authorities "confer" nationality. Some certificates of identity actually state the purported nationality of the de facto stateless person, with a phrase something like "The bearer claims to be a national of Somalia." By making such statements the issuing government alerts other governments to the bearer's connection to his purported home country. Laws usually require that a full national passport be accepted as evidence of nationality, with the burden of proof placed on anyone who claims otherwise. Under U.S. federal law a state-issued birth certificate is merely evidence of citizenship, not proof. The only documents that conclusively prove U.S. nationality are U.S. passports, U.S. citizenship certificates, consular reports of birth and certificates of birth abroad of a U.S. citizen. Jonathan David Makepeace 21:16, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Proposed way Forward[edit]

Sorry - I got back from a long business trip yesterday now is the first time I can find to respond to this.

I'm quite excited by the idea of using this article is a general overview of travel documents and them pointing off short summaries into longer more detailed articles.

As you have indicated the stuff about non-national documents needs a separate article. I would prefer to keep convention documents with non-convention travel documents but that's because there isn't enoug material for two decent length articles. I'm not inclinded to go to the wall over it and would appreciate your views.

We also need to sort out catagorisation of this lot and make sure that all related articles are in the same place.

My view is that we need all of the following articles which should also have a pointer to this article at the top as a kind of sub-portal:

  • Passports (Natch)
  • Non-national Travel documents (including convention and non convention)
  • Regional travel documents (stuff valid for travel in small regions)
  • ID cards needs to be rescued from identity documents
  • Miscellaneous travel documents.

My thought is that specific articles about each subject should link from teh main article so UK Id cards can be found by Travel Documents --> ID Cards --> UK ID Cards

Grateful for thoughts on this before I goa head and start working. Also we want to make sure that we are working together and not at cross purposes. Cheers --Spartaz 17:54, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Why would ID cards need to be rescued from identity documents? The national ID cards used as travel documents in Europe, for example, are primarily used as ID for other purposes. One problem with this article is going to be terminology, the same words mean two or three different things depending on which country is speaking. The word "passport" for example need not, for example, refer to a document evidencing nationality, as in the case of alien's passports. I would probably structure the article around the different expressions used, explaining how they can be used differently in different places. Each of these should probably have their own article:
1.) Passports
(add a section to the main article on emergency passports, including certificates of identity and laissez-passers issued as emergency passports)
(add a section to the main article on alien's passports)
2.) 1951 Convention Travel Docs
3.) 1954 Convention Travel Docs
4.) Certicates of identity (issued to stateless or de facto stateless people, mention that term can also mean an emergency passport, mention that some countries call them alien's passports)
5.) Laissez-passers (Brazilian, Israeli, U.N., etc.)
6.) Israeli travel document in lieu of national passport (they're so bizarre they need their own article)
The Travel Docs article could give an over view with links to each of those (travel documents issued in booklet form to allow for the issuance of visas) and contrast them with other kinds of ID accepted in limited circumstances for international travel (not in booklet form, for visa-free travel).
Whaddaya think?
Jonathan David Makepeace 15:12, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
Sorry only just got back from my latest trip. Sound good. lets do it. --Spartaz 19:56, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Note of work that needs doing[edit]

1.) Passports
(add a section to the main article on emergency passports, including certificates of identity and laissez-passers issued as emergency passports) DONE--Spartaz 20:48, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
(add a section to the main article on alien's passports)DONE--Spartaz 20:48, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
2.) 1951 Convention Travel Docs Started stub--Spartaz 21:16, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
3.) 1954 Convention Travel Docs Started stub--Spartaz 21:16, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
4.) Certicates of identity (issued to stateless or de facto stateless people, mention that term can also mean an emergency passport, mention that some countries call them alien's passports) Started non-nationmal travel document stub--Spartaz 21:16, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
5.) Laissez-passers (Brazilian, Israeli, U.N., etc.)
6.) Israeli travel document in lieu of national passport (they're so bizarre they need their own article)

Grateful for some feedback on whether this is OK and where we should go next

Moving History section to talk for more work in new article[edit]

Also, the section in the passport article on international travel without passports is really about international travel without travel documents.


Prior to the First World War passports were not generally required for international travel and Countries that did expect visitors to hold identity documents would quite happily issue them to Citizens of other countries to facilitate their travel [citation needed]. The international understanding of what the word passport meant was completely changed with the First World War when most European Countries introduced a requirement for persons crossing their borders to hold Passports and in 1915 the United States introduced a requirement for every person entering the US to hold a valid passport. After the War, the role of the passport was further codified at a 1920 League of Nations Conference for passports, customs facilities and travel that was held in Paris. By this stage Europe had become awash with Refugees who were no longer entitled to Passport facilities and were therefore prevented from moving freely from one Country to another.

In 1921 the League of Nations established a High Commission for Refugess and in 1922 the concept of a refugee identification certificate (the so called Nansen passport) was proposed. By 1933 the first Convention Relating to the International Status of Refugees was adopted in Geneva.

After the Second World War the situation of refugees had become even worse with the erection of the Iron Curtain. In 1951 the UN Convention on Refugees introduced Convention Travel Documents for refugees that included an agreement for visa free travel for up to 3 months by signatories of the Convention for the holders of these documents. In 1954 a further Convention established the recognition of Stateless Travel documents that were issued to non-Refugees who neverless no longer had a Nationality, for example, for emigrees of states that had been swallowed up by the Soviet Union.

The issue and regulation of travel documents still falls under the 1951 Convention and has not essentially changed since that time although there has been a gradual reduction in the number of states that allow visa free travel for holders of Convention Travel Documents.

what about "seaman's papers"?[edit]

Used by merchant seamen in lieu of a passport. What about military ID? Do soldiers need a passport?

Info transfer[edit]

I propose transferring the info from this article over to another article and put in the general travel documents in this article (eg visa, WHO vaccination card, onward ticket (also sometimes required!), ...) This article is obviously centred around travel papers of international aid workers. More info can be obtained from this site :

Also, I put in a link to a wikpedia immigration article, some info can be obtained from here aswell.

new version[edit]

just tried to make a more comprehensive version including (and sorting) the several types of travel document. Feel free to improve and extend. I also welcome ideas on what should be done with the things on the bottom (now under: other countries). L.tak 20:33, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

removing content[edit]

I plan to do three things:

remove the link in the starting paragraph on the UN travel doc convention as I can not find any source; even on the UN page. I think it is meant to link to the refugee travel documents
remove the specific info on the US as it has much general info (refugee) and the specific info is not complete.
remove the info china (same reason).

Let me know here/improve if anything should be kept! L.tak 11:34, 7 May 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by L.tak (talkcontribs)

Ref. to UNCTD at lead is a load of waffle. Feel free to edit this article mercilessly! RashersTierney (talk) 22:23, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
done! L.tak 08:25, 8 May 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by L.tak (talkcontribs)