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A document treacherously inflicted upon a citizen going abroad, exposing him as an alien ~ Ambrose Bierce.

A passport is an official governmental document that contains a given person's identity. It helps its holder travel under its protection to and from foreign countries. The document certifies the personal identity and nationality of its holder. More abstractly, a passport can be analogised to describe anything that secures physical or metaphorical transit; for example, education is often described as a passport for the mind.


  • PASSPORT, n. A document treacherously inflicted upon a citizen going abroad, exposing him as an alien and pointing him out for special reprobation and outrage.
  • My passport was received with a mocking smile. The bastard wouldn't take our word for anything. We had to show our money and count it out before his eyes. Then the amounts were written in our passports. We were warned against attempting to find work, unless it was in a ship leaving Djibouti, or to engage in the drug traffic. We were told, finally, that if either of us was still in the territory seven days hence, he had better be able to swim.
  • Truth be told, having two passports in Japan is not necessarily a problem. If one lived a quiet life, one could conceivably keep renewing a non-Japanese passport ad infinitum. The USG permits dual citizenship and doesn't go out of its way to tell other governments about the nationalities of their citizens. However, as you know, I don't live a quiet life.
  • Is not true that, in this world, before being paper citizens we are our mother's sons in the flesh. What is a human being in reality? To start from the beginning: What are peoples, cultures and what are then custom-houses, parliaments and states? Everybody carries a nursery rhyme in the soul, but nobody carries a passport or a custom-house in the soul.
  • It has been said (by Shelley Winters) that a pretty face is a passport. But it's not - it's a visa, and it runs out fast.
  • To lose a passport was the least of one's worries. To lose a notebook was a catastrophe.
  • How sweet and gracious, even in common speech,
    Is that fine sense which men call Courtesy!
    Wholesome as air and genial as the light,
    Welcome in every clime as breath of flowers,
    It transmutes aliens into trusting friends,
    And gives its owner passport round the globe.
    • James T. Fields, Courtesy.
  • I handed my passport to the immigration officer, and he looked at it and looked at me and said, "What are you?"
    • Grace Hopper on being the oldest active-duty officer in the U.S. military, in an interview on 60 Minutes (24 August 1986)
  • In response to his grandchildren holding dual passports in a way said to be contrary to law - "What is the big deal? Their mother is an Indian diplomat, so they used an Indian passport. The passports were duly kept in the custody of Indian mission in New York once they had received US passports... When we were taking the kids to the US, we were told as they were natural US citizens they should get US passports."
  • The man at the desk took my passport. He did not speak to me. He took a rubber stamp and slammed it down. Then he walked away. I picked up my passport. It was stamped 'Invalid'. 'They have done it,' I told myself. 'They have exiled me. I am not permitted to go home — not now, maybe not ever. My family, my home. Everything that has gone into the making of myself, gone'.
    • Miriam Makeba, as quoted in Gamal Nkrumah's interview with her for Al-Ahram Weekly (1–7 November 2001)[1]
  • You knew perfectly well that you were not welcome in the United States. You knew that because you tried before and you had not got in, and you knew the reason for that - because, rightly or wrongly, the US authorities do not welcome people in their country who have convictions of the kind that you have. With that full knowledge, you equipped yourself with a passport. I am told that it was given you by way of a loan from your friend Andrew McMaster, to which you bore, I am told, some resemblance. And by use of that passport you did what you could to get into the United States. [...] What you did went absolutely to the heart of the immigration controls that the United States are entitled to have. Had it been known in this country that you were proposing to leave under a false passport, you would not have been accepted on to the plane and you would not have been permitted to leave this country on a false passport. It's not in any sense trivial.
  • [T]he American dream is still alive and well, thanks: Even the newest taxi driver stumbling over his English grammar knows he can truly become an American. But European Muslims can't become French or Dutch or Italian or German. Even if they qualify for a passport, they remain second-class citizens. On a good day. And they're supposed to take over the continent that's exported more death than any other?
  • O, do not wish one more!
    Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
    That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
    And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
    We would not die in that man's company,
    That fears his fellowship to die with us.
  • We don't have to have these passports, do we? Surely we can keep our British ones if we want. ... My children and grandchildren forced to abandon the old British passport!
    • Peter Shore, Remarks to the Cabinet on the new maroon-coloured EEC passports, as recorded in Tony Benn's diary (11 June 1976), Tony Benn, Against the Tide: Diaries 1973-1976 (London: Hutchinson, 1989), p. 579
  • Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.
  • We are here to make Simón Bolívar's dream real. [...] Sooner, rather than later, we shall have a single currency, a single passport... Sooner, rather than later, we shall have a parliament with directly elected representatives for this new nation that we are creating today.
  • Education is an important element in the struggle for human rights. It is the means to help our children and our people rediscover their identity and thereby increase their self respect. Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today.
    • Malcolm X, Speech at Founding Rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (28 June 1964), as quoted in By Any Means Necessary: Speeches, Interviews, and a Letter (1970).

See also

Wikipedia has an article about:
  1. Nkrumah, Gamal (1–7 November 2001). Mama Africa. Profile. Al-Ahram Weekly. Retrieved on 18 November 2010.