PASSPORT, or safe-conduct in time of war, a document granted by a beUigerent power to protect persons and property from the operation of hostilities. In the case of the ship of a neutral power, the passport is a requisition by the government of the neutral state to suffer the vessel tc pass freely with the crew, cargo, passengers, etc., without molestation by the belligerents. The requisition, when issued by the civil authorities of the port from which the vessel is fitted out, is called a sea-letter. But the terms passport and sea-letter are often used indiscriminately. A form of sea-letter (lilerae sahn condiictus) is appended to the Treaty of the Pyrenees, 1659; The passport is frequently mentioned in treaties, e.g. the Treaty of Copenhagen, 1670, between Great Britain and Denmark. The violation of a passport, or safe conduct, is a grave breach of international law. The oft'ence in the United States is punishable by fine and imprisonment where the passport or safe conduct is granted under the authority of the United States (Act of Congress, April 30, 1790). In its more familiar sense a passport is a document authorizing a person to pass out of or into a country, or a licence or safe-conduct to the person specified therein and authenticating his right to aid and protection. Although most foreign countries may now be entered without passports, the English foreign office recommends travellers to furnish themselves with them, as affording a ready means of identification in case of need. They are usually granted by the foreign office of a state, or by its diplomatic agents abroad. The Enghsh Foreign Office charges two shillings for a passport, whatever number of persons may be named in it. Passports granted in England are subject to a stamp duty of sixpence. They may be granted to naturalized as well as natural-born British subjects.
Sec " The Passport System," by N. W. Sibley, in Jour. Comp. Leg. new series, vol. vii. The regulations respecting passports issued by the English Foreign Office as well as the passport requirements of foreign countries will be found in the annual Foreign Office List.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)