Useful information and FAQs about passports: Everything you’ve wanted to know

Have you ever wondered what happens if you damage your passport, serial numbers, or pet passports? Learn fun and useful passport information here!

Passengers, wearing protective face masks, queue at passport control desks at the Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi, on August 1, 2020, as Kenya Airways airline resumed flights to Britain after flights had been cancelled during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic outbreak. (Photo by SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images)

If you’ve ever wanted to travel and see different countries, learn about new cultures, or just try some exotic dishes, then a passport is your ticket to the world.

Although a passport is the most important travel document a person will ever own, many intrepid travelers still have a lot of questions.

From applying to figuring out how to change a passport number, what to do with a damaged passport, and more, here are some of the most commonly questions about passports.

Some of the most popular questions regarding passports are specifically about their serial numbers.

This unique number is present on every passport and is typically located in the top right corner of the biography page. However, what happens to the serial number when you renew your passport?

Think of it as a fingerprint: every serial number is unique and can only be associated with one passport. Once the passport expires, so does the serial number.

This is a standard procedure that is done to help fight identity theft and ensure smooth border crossings for both the traveler and the destination that they are visiting.

Besides missing a flight or overweight luggage fees, a traveler’s worst nightmare is accidentally damaging their passport. So, what really happens if you damage your passport, and what should you do?

A passport can be in two different conditions: normal wear-and-tear or damaged.

Wear-and-tear includes creased pages, a cracked spine (from opening and closing the passport book too often), or being slightly bent.

There are many different ways that a passport can get damaged, including torn pages (or having deep cuts on a page), discoloration on the biography page, spilling liquids or water damage on the visa pages, or even damaged chips on biometric passports.

Significant damage renders a passport unusable and a traveller should then make sure to apply for a new passport as soon as they can.

Even though a passport is the main document you need to travel abroad, there may come a time when you’ll need a few other supporting items.

Depending on the destination, some countries may require travelers to have a visa before entering the border. Visas come in many different variants: a traditional visa, which typically requires documents and a trip to the embassy or consulate; an electronic visa, which is applied for online; or a visa on arrival.

Likewise, immigration officers may also ask to see proof of travel to ensure that the visitor is there for tourism purposes. This can be proved in various forms, including a printed itinerary, proof of accommodations, an onward ticket back to their home country, or a voucher for tours and/or activities.

Due to the pandemic, some travelers are required to take out travel insurance before entering a country. Despite the fact that it is usually not required, travel insurance is still an important thing to have in case of accidents, flight delays, missing luggage, and other maladies.

Although most people typically associate passports with a regular travel document, there are actually a few different types of passports.

First and foremost, there are ordinary passports. These are the passports that average citizens use to travel abroad, obtain visas, and so on.

The second type is called a diplomatic passport. Those who are working in the government and need to travel frequently are issued these special passports. Diplomatic passports are also issued to eligible dependents.

Just like humans, our furry friends may need passports as well!

Travelers who are planning to visit a foreign country may need to apply for a ‘pet passport’ if they wish to take their animal along. A pet passport is a document that establishes an identity for the animal and provides information on its vaccines, health status, and biographical information.

Pet passports are usually issued for cats, dogs, and other small animals, although this can also depend on the government. The easiest way to find out if your pet needs a passport is to contact a local veterinarian, who can provide more information and the necessary paperwork in order to do so.

Every country in the world issues a passport to citizens of that country. Besides being used as a travel document, holding a passport is proof that you are a citizen of that specific country.

However, did you know that it’s possible to have multiple citizenships? In fact, according to the Constitution of Kenya, Kenyans are allowed to have dual citizenship. Whether by marriage, immigration, descent, or birth, there are many different options to obtain another citizenship.

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