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New Report on Recognition of Foreign Passports Published

We recently published a report on the Recognition of Foreign Passports on our website. The report, produced by specialists and analysts of the Global Legal Research Directorate, surveys 20 jurisdictions around the world as well as international law, and focuses on the rules and approaches for recognizing foreign passports. In addition, the report covers the recognition of irregular passport extensions and the issuance of international travel documents to non-citizens. The countries surveyed were Argentina, Australia, Brazil¸ Canada, China, France, Georgia, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Nicaragua, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States. The report also includes relevant rules found in international law.

Most jurisdictions surveyed in the report have specific rules for what passports they recognize, and several countries specifically recognize passports from jurisdictions that they have not recognized as sovereign states. For example, the recognition of Palestinian Authority-issued passports was widespread. Australia, which recognizes such passports, published a list of passports which it does not recognize. Sweden, on the other hand, has issued a list of explicitly recognized passports that are recognized despite not meeting the general conditions for recognition.

The report also surveys whether the jurisdictions have recognized irregular extension of passports, like that granted by the Venezuelan government in 2019.

Map shows jurisdictions recognizing the irregular extension of Venezuelan passports. Map created by Susan Taylor-Pikulsky, Law Library of Congress.

Map shows jurisdictions recognizing the irregular extension of Venezuelan passports. Map created by Susan Taylor-Pikulsky, Law Library of Congress.

Finally, the report surveys when a jurisdiction may issue an international travel document to a non-citizen, such as a refugee, stateless person, asylum-seeker, or other non-citizen. Under international law, specifically the 1951 Refugee Convention, signatory jurisdictions are obligated to issue travel documents to refugees. Most jurisdictions surveyed also issue travel documents to stateless persons. In addition, a majority of the jurisdictions surveyed issue travel documents to other categories of non-citizens, for example, “permanent residents, guest workers, persons unable to receive a travel document for force majeure reasons, persons under duress, persons who must travel to their home country to apply for a passport, etc.”

Map shows jurisdictions issuing travel documents to non-citizens. Map created by Susan Taylor-Pikulsky, Law Library of Congress.

Map shows jurisdictions issuing travel documents to non-citizens. Map created by Susan Taylor-Pikulsky, Law Library of Congress.

A more detailed comparative summary and the full report is available here. We hope you find it interesting!

The Law Library regularly publishes new reports online and our most current reports can be accessed here. A comprehensive list of all reports published online by the Law Library can be found here.

Additional foreign and international law resources can be found on this blog and in the Global Legal Monitor. You can subscribe to receive alerts when new blog posts, Global Legal Monitor articles, and reports are published by clicking the “Subscribe” button on the Law Library’s website.

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