If you’re reading this article, you’re probably getting ready for your first trip and are here to double-check if everything is okay with your passport/ travel document number. As you probably know, traveling abroad requires certain rules and procedures you have to follow in terms of customs and immigration when crossing international borders and this article will help you settle some nerves.
This article will help you understand everything you need to know about your travel document number and the types of documents that are an essential part of your trip and avoid some common rookie travel mistakes. Let’s start with the basics.
What is a travel document number?
Traveling abroad requires all individuals to have an official identification document with a photo issued and verified by their national government. For traveling within the US, the most common document people bring is their native state driver’s license while in most other countries, a picture ID is usually enough. However, traveling abroad requires more proof than just an ID card or a driving license, such as a passport, a visa, a green card, or in some cases, a federal I.D. card.
To put it simply, a travel document number is a set of digits that helps authorities recognize every individual who travels abroad. The number can be found in the document you’re using for travel, such as your visa, your passport, etc. In the simplest form, this is the unique identifier of your passport that serves as one traveler’s unique identity document. The number is used in government records, for the visa application process, etc. It’s crucial in gathering accurate tourism statistics but also in controlling border safety.
What types of travel documents are there?
Some of the most important travel documents in the US feature a visa, a passport card, a green card, a 1-94 Form, an ESTA form, and of course, a passport. In this section, we’ll briefly explain all of the above-mentioned travel documents.
This is probably the most important travel document you can get. The passport is issued by one’s native country and helps individuals to prove their identity when traveling. In the United States, passports are issued by the Department of State and this document allows American citizens to travel anywhere in the world.
Benefits of having a passport
The primary benefit of having a passport is travel convenience; a legitimate passport can allow you to travel anywhere in the world. Additionally, your passport can serve as a valid photo ID that can prove your identity, nationality, age, address, etc.
And last but not least, by owning a passport you get visa-free entry to countries that don’t require a visa for residents of certain countries. For example, residents of the United States can travel to more than 100 countries without applying for a visa. Japanese passport holders, on the other hand, can travel to 191 countries visa-free, making their national passport, the “strongest” passport in the world according to the Henley Passport Index.
Where to find your passport’s travel document number?
If you’re a US passport holder, you will be able to find your travel document number in the upper right-hand corner of your document on the page where your photo is located. The number is usually a series of numbers and letters that connect your name to your travel document in government records. Alternatively, if you own a Passport Card, your travel document number will be stated on the front side or on the second page, if you have a Passport Book.
How to get a passport?
This depends on the country you come from but the first step is to make sure you’re eligible for applying. To get a passport from a certain country, the first step is you have to be a citizen of that country. If you are, you’d have to file an application in the appropriate department of the government. In the United States, that would be the US Department of State while in most European countries, that would be the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or a special unit under the jurisdiction of one of these two ministries.
For most passports, you’d have to submit a written application signed by you accompanied by a government-issued ID card that proves your citizenship. Before the application is processed, you’d have to pay a fee and have your photo taken.
Do you have to pay for anything?
If you’re a US resident, the normal price of a passport is $110 for adults and $80 for minors. If you’re applying for a passport for the first time, you’d also have to pay an execution fee of $35. When you renew your passport, you don’t have to pay this fee and only have to pay the fee of $110 or $80.
The waiting time for a passport, on average, is around 7-8 weeks. If you want to get expedited service, you’d have to pay an extra $60 and if you’d want to have your passport delivered to you within 1-2 days, you’d have to pay an additional $17.13. For more information regarding the pricing and application procedures, you can always check out this official government website.
If you’re planning to travel to a country that doesn’t have visa-free entry for your country’s residents, you would have to get a visa. Visas are issued by the immigration department of each country. In the US, that’s the USCIS. This department determines who can enter their country and who can not, based on the information the department has about the applicants.
The visa application form allows the Immigration department to determine the reason for your visit and the conditions of your stay, such as the length of your stay, the activities you’re allowed to engage in, etc. Most of the time, visas are either stamped on a page in your passport or can take the form of an official document.
How to get a visa?
To apply for a visa, go to the nearest embassy or consulate. Some countries may have embassies and consulates in your country, others may not. This mainly depends on the diplomatic relations between your native country and the country you want to travel to. In case there isn’t an embassy or a consulate in your country, you can apply for a visa in one of the embassies in the neighboring countries (that has jurisdiction over your native country) or if the conditions permit, apply for an e-visa or visa on arrival.
Despite the method of the application (physical, e-visa, or visa on arrival), there are certain forms you need to fill to get your visa approved and a certain fee you need to pay in form of visa-processing fees.
Where to find your travel document number on a visa?
The visa’s travel document number is also known as a visa number and is often printed in a different color from the rest of the document. US visas have their document number in red color on the bottom right corner of the visa that’s stamped in your passport but visas issued in other countries may have their number printed on another position but it’s usually quite easy to recognize. Most visas include 7 or more numbers and sometimes a few letters.
How much does a visa cost?
This depends on three main factors.
- The first and most important one being the country you want to visit.
- The second is the purpose of your visit and the length of your stay.
- And the final factor that you have to take into consideration is the country you’re coming from.
Let’s explain every individual factor.
Every country has a different visa policy. For example, a tourist visa for Russia costs $170 or more for most visitors, DR Congo charges around $200 for most visitors but up to $400 in some cases, making it arguably the world’s most expensive visa while a visa for Bangladesh costs just as much as a tourist visa for the US ($160).
The next factor you have to take into consideration is the reason for your visit. A business visa will always be more expensive than work and tourist visas but also, work and business visas are usually issued for one or more years while tourist visas are usually valid for 3-6 months from the issuing date. Moreover, the longer you want to stay, the higher the price for the visa will be.
Finally, the visa cost depends on the country you’re coming from and its diplomatic relations with the country you want to visit. For example, we can take DR Congo that charges $200 for a tourist visa for US residents but up to $400 USD for residents of other countries.
A green card is a document that allows permanent residence in a country and turns you into an expat. It’s usually issued by the Immigration Department of the country you want to stay in and usually comes after one has proven his/her eligibility for a green card. Technically, the green card is not a travel document itself but it sure can make travel a lot easier when used in conjunction with your passport.
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Where to find your green card number?
Often referred to as “receipt number” the number of your green card can be as many as 13 digits long (in the US, it’s 3 letters + 10 numeric digits). In most countries, the number is printed directly on the backside of your residence card (most often in the center).
How to get a green card?
First of all, you need to be eligible for residency and you need to be able to prove your eligibility by following the local procedures. There are a lot of ways in which you can get a green card. Some of the most common ones are through a family member who’s a resident, through employment, as a refugee, as a special immigrant, as an asylum seeker, etc. You can see all eligibility categories here.
How much does a green card cost?
This varies based on the country you want to stay in. Among the world’s wealthiest countries, the US is the country that issues the most green cards. A US Green Card costs $1225 for adults and $750 for kids aged 13 and younger in addition to a $85 biometric fee. After paying the fee, you’ll have to fill up a form (in this case 1-485) online, provide all necessary documents, and wait for your interview. It usually takes between 5 and 6 months to get a green card. In the United States, the green card allows you to stay in the country for up to 10 years.
FAQ about travel document number
If you still have some additional questions about your passport and travel document number, keep reading. Here are a few frequently asked questions.
Do all of my travel documents have the same travel document number?
No, because every document is a separate entity and serves a slightly different purpose. Your passport is used for traveling abroad, your visa allows you entrance in a single country, while your green card serves as a residence permit for a certain country.
What’s the difference between my passport number and my travel document number?
The passport number is one type of travel document number. All of your travel documents (visa, green card, etc.) have a unique identifying number. Your passport is just one of them.
What is the meaning of every travel document number?
Depending on your native country and the country you’re traveling to, different travel documents will be required. And each of the required document has its own unique travel document number and its own meaning. For example, the passport number is used to tie your name with all of the important information about you in your native country (i.e. criminal record) that the Immigration authorities of the country you’re visiting.
Why are my passport and travel document number important?
Firstly, because they allow you to travel the globe. Just because of the numbers on the upper right corner of your passport that help Immigration departments around the world to pull publicly available information about you from your government’s records. The passport might look like a small notebook but it’s much more than that. It shows all of your travel history, visas, and also serves as an ID and citizenship proof. Additionally, your passport number helps customs officials to keep an eye on your movements while staying in their country. This is why your passport and document number are so important.
While traveling abroad, make sure you take really good care of your travel documents because if you damage your documents in a way that your travel document number is not visible, or even worse, lose your passport, you may find yourself in a very difficult situation. That’s why it’s highly suggested that you don’t carry your travel documents everywhere unless that’s strictly required from the country you’re traveling to. Photocopies of your respective travel documents are always a good solution.
Did you like this post? Did it help you understand the meaning of your travel document number and distinguish between different travel documents? Are you ready to pack your bags and go travel after this article? Let us know in the comments!
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