Strange passport requirements throughout history

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A passport is an open door to the world, at least for those who, because of the arbitrariness of the place of birth, have one considered sufficiently “powerful” to grant the freedom to travel with relative ease. But the evolution of the passport has not been a straight line, and the document we recognize today is still fairly new. Although the earliest reference to a passport-like document dates back to 450 BC, and Henry V of England began granting travel documents to his subjects in the 15th century, it was not until the early 20th century. century that the passport design was standardized and the palm-formatted booklet really took shape. Here are some of the weirder passport facts.

Mugshot mummy

There is no known trace of anything like a passport existing in ancient Egypt. But in 1974, when the mummy of Ramses II (died 1213 BC His profession was listed as “King (deceased).” (Read more about the controversial history of the passport.)

Royal rights

If there had been passports during Ramses’ six decades of rule, he probably wouldn’t have needed them anyway: living monarchs usually don’t need passports. The official website of the British Royal Family explains that “as a British passport is issued in Her Majesty’s name, the Queen does not need to have one”. Indeed, a message inside the cover of a British passport asks that the bearer be allowed to pass freely “in the name of Her Majesty”. Basically the queen is a passport.

Likewise, in Japan, it was decided that it would be “inappropriate” to issue the Emperor with a Japanese passport, which bears the Imperial Seal of the Chrysanthemum Throne on its cover and contains “a request from the Minister of Foreign Affairs for allow its holder to travel without problem. . “However, when Emperor Akihito abdicates next spring, he will need it, like the rest of the Imperial family, for future international trips.

High potentials

While international borders are largely a human construction, an ancient mummy is not the strangest entity that has required a passport. The name of the peregrine falcon can mean “wandering” but in the United Arab Emirates, they cannot go far without a passport. Falcons, especially Saker Falcons and Peregrines, are highly prized in the United Arab Emirates, where falconry is an important part of the region’s Bedouin heritage. Once essential to hunting, the sport continues to be a source of national pride.

Unfortunately, the falcon’s high status (and its monetary value) comes with a risk of smuggling, so the Emirates hawks get their own green passports issued by the UAE to travel to festivals around the world. and falconry competitions. Each passport has its own identification number corresponding to the number inscribed on the falcon’s leg ring and, like those of humans, it must “be endorsed by the competent border control officer who must validate it with a stamp. in ink, a signature and a date to show the history of the state-to-state movement.

Riding around

Animal passports are more common than you might think. While pets in the United States can obtain documents allowing them to cross borders with a minimum of hassle, animals in the European Union actually receive their own blue booklets, with a photo inside the blanket. EU pet passports allow quarantine-free travel between member countries, a program so popular that in October, hundreds of dogs (and their owners) took to the streets of London in a wooferendum, to protest against the threat that Brexit poses to their precious passports.

British horses, on the other hand, need horse passports even if they never venture further than their domain – the policy is to ensure that horses treated with drugs harmful to humans are not sent to slaughterhouse and do not enter the food chain.

Sign of the times

In the United States, some (human) travelers may soon need a passport even if they do not leave the country. The Real ID Act of 2005 requires state ID to meet increased security requirements if the holder is to be permitted to board domestic flights. While most states have complied, some have needed an extension. California and Massachusetts, for example, only have until January 10, 2019 to issue new IDs, otherwise residents will need to present a passport to board a domestic flight.

City crossing

Fortunately, the number of Americans with passports has increased dramatically in recent years, a phenomenon often attributed to the 2007 change in law regarding visits to Mexico and Canada. crossing the street in a city, as well as a tendency to invest in experiences rather than material objects. An indication, perhaps, that this little document is becoming an increasingly important part of our daily life.


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