Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Passport Definition:

A document issued in the name of a government vouching for the citizenship of an identified individual.

Canada's Criminal Code defines a passport as:

"[P]assport means a document issued by or under the authority of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the purpose of identifying the holder thereof."

In US v Vargas, Justice Neaher of the United States District Court defined a passport as:

"... a travel document, or document of identity and nationality...."

A passport, in most free and democratic societies, creates a legal presumption, prima facie evidence of the holder's citizenship.

passport deskUsually, but not always, a passport is not required to leave a country, but it is required to enter. In many cases, a visa is also required to authorize the specific purpose and duration of foreign travel.

In the King v Brailsford, in words somewhat dated, and in the context of a then-citizen of England, Justice Alverstone wrote:

"It will be well to remember what a passport really is. It is a document issued in the name of the Sovereign on the responsibility of a Minister of the Crown to a named individual, intended to be used for that individual's protection as a British subject in foreign countries, and it depends for its validity upon the fact that the Foreign Office in an official document vouches the respectability of the person named."

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