Passport Facts for Kids | Kids World Travel Guide | Last updated: 16 January 2020
In our passport facts for kids you will find lots of useful information on passports and visa, written for children by children.
When travelling abroad, the most important item to take along is the passport!
So let's start with some explanations and then read through our fascinating fun facts about passports.
1. In 1783, Benjamin Franklin ordered the first US passports to be printed.
In 2019, there were about 147 million valid passports in the hands of Americans. This means that only about half of the U.S.citizens have a passport. This shows that although Americans generally love travelling, most of them travel inside their own country and have never been abroad.
Did you know, that for travels to Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands or the Northern Mariana Islands, Americans do not need to have a passport?
2. Passport Facts for Kids: Did you know that there are more than 9,000 passport offices in the USA! Many passport service centres are actually located in post offices and some even in public libraries.
U.S. passports can be applied for in person and renewal passports can be ordered via mail.
From January to March 2020, government officials will offer passport services at various travel and adventure shows throughout the USA. Read more here.
3. In the UK, every 2.5 seconds one passport is printed! This allows for 5 million passports to be printed each year in the UK. And every year, more than 25,000 UK passports are stolen or lost!
4. More than 40 million travel documents and passports have been lost or stolen since 2002. If you loose your passport or it is stolen, you always must report it to your nearest police station and to your consulate when travelling abroad.
Once a passport has been reported the passport number is invalid for travel and can not be used for international travel anymore. The missing travel documents are registered on an Interpol database.
At border posts at airports as well as at ports and road and train border posts, immigrations officers check passports against this Interpol registry to find criminals who are travelling with these passports. Also many fake passports are found doing the routine checks.
5. Passport Facts for Kids: Most of the world's passports have a red cover! There are different shades of red, but still red colour is more common for passports than is blue, green or black.
Interestingly, the UK passport is nicknamed the 'red book', while the U.S. passport is often referred to as the 'blue book'.
6. In 2020, according to PassportIndex.org, the passport of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the most powerful passport in the world. The Emirati passport allows visa-free travel to 179 countries! This is the result of negotiations as now the UAE citizens enjoy a visa waiver to the 26 Schengen countries of Europe.
The second ranking passports of Germany, Finland, Luxembourg and Spain allow travel without visa to 172 countries. The passport of the USA and the UK passport are not ranked at the top but also among the most powerful passports in the world, ranking 171 and 169 respectively.
7. Passports usually contain between 24 and 60 pages. A standard US passport has 28 pages including 17 blank pages for adding entry or exit stamps and visas of the visited countries. The newer biometric passports come with 52 pages. With U.S. passports, it is even allowed to add up to 3 sets of additional pages (24 pages per set) to the passport and then an U.S. passport can contain up to 124 pages!
8. The only person in the world who does not need to carry a passport when travelling abroad is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The UK passport is issued by 'Her Majesty', the Queen. Therefore, the Queen does not need to carry a passport as otherwise she would have to issue a passport to herself! All other members of the Royal Family, however, have passports.
9. In some countries, children are listed on their parents passports, but many countries require that children have their own passport for travels.
Children need to have their own passports when travelling in many countries, for example USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and many European countries. In many countries, passports for children are valid for shorter periods (usually 5 years) and must be renewed more often. Always check the requirements with the embassy of the country to which you are travelling and know if you need to bring your own passport.
10. According to old customs, most country's passports include a so-called 'request page', with some text requesting from other nations that passport holders are allowed to pass freely and be granted support when needed. This message is not included in Swiss and Austrian passports.
11. Passport Facts for Kids: Most passports are printed in at least two or three languages. This means the national language and at least one other additional language.
Most passports also use the English language, however, some passports' additional languages are French or Spanish as in the US passport.
And do remember, passports from Arab countries, such as the Emirati passport from the UAE, are opened from the left hand side, as they start from last page and are read from right to left.
12. When taking a passport picture certain regulations have to be followed.
To get the size, image background and standard format for passport photos right, you have to find some guidelines from your passport centre.
In general, one cannot wear any uniform on a passport picture. Wearing hats, caps, sunglasses and hair that covers part of your face are not allowed. Check with your country's requirements for passport photos. Below are the UK passport photo requirements.
13. Australia has the most expensive passports in the world. In 2020, the passport fee for the ten-year-travel document is a whopping A$298! The Australian passport fee is thus almost three times higher than the fee of an U.S. passport!
14. Citizens of the Vatican state in Italy (the smallest country in the world!) have their own country's passports, but there are no immigration control or border posts around the Vatican as the state is located inside the city of Rome in Italy.
Sources for Passport Facts page and recommended reading:
Image Credits for Passport Facts for Kids page: Shutterstock, RapidTravelChai and own images