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Updated:2008-04-27 16:56 | Source:

What is a Passport?

A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship and permits a citizen to travel abroad and to re-enter his home country.

When do I need a Passport?

The answer depends upon which country you planning to visit. A passport is required by many countries upon entry to their country. Also, a document indicating proof of citizenship is almost always required to re-enter your home country.

What is the difference between a passport and a visa?

A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship. The passport serves two purposes: to regain entry to the country of citizenship and is a requirement by many countries to gain entry to the country you are visiting.

A visa is an official government document that temporarily authorizes you to be in the country you are visiting. Many countries require a visa to gain entry. The visa usually is in the form of a stamp IN the passport and is obtained from the country you are visiting.

Period of Validity

A passport is not a permanent credential but a document with a limited period of validity. The passport is the legal proof during the period of validity only, which is also known as an effective passport; otherwise it is an invalid passport and is without legal status.

Generally speaking, a period of validity in excess of six months is required by countries for visa issuance. If your passport's period of validity is less than six months from the present time, you will have to go your passport issuing department to apply for a passport extension or renewal. Only then can you go to embassies and consulates to apply for a visa.

Keep your passport safe

After obtaining a visa, the passport is active for that country and holds a high value. Some international criminal groups and pickpockets specialize in stealing passports and consider passports more valuable than currency. They will trade the passport for money, or perform some other illegal activities using the passport as a shield. Therefore, you must keep your passport safe under lock and key, especially after you pass through the customs inspection and go on an overseas trip. Carry your own passport along with you all the times. Do not put it into your outside pockets or bag.

What to do if your passport is lost

If you lose your passport before you go abroad, you should immediately report the case to the security authorities and the passport issuing office in your country, provide a detailed statement of the time and the place of its loss and state the basic information on your passport (name, gender, date of birth, passport number and so on).

If the passport is lost abroad, you should rapidly report the case to the local public security office and complete the registration procedure. At the same time, you should go to your country's closest embassy or consulate as soon as possible to complete the registration procedure of the lost report, and then apply for a new passport.

After you get the passport

Getting a passport is just the first step of the procedure for going abroad. You must also go to the embassies or consulates of your target country stationed in your own country for the visa application. A passport with two opposing blank visa pages and a validity of at least six-months from the day you submit the visa application are required before you visit China.


Editor : 李受恩

Opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics