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Document issued by a national government identifying a traveler as a citizen with a right to protection while abroad and a right to return to the country of citizenship. It is normally a small booklet containing a description and photograph of the bearer. Most nations require entering travelers to obtain a visa, an endorsement on the passport showing that the proper authorities have examined it and permitting the bearer to enter the country and remain for a specified period.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on passport, visit Britannica.com.