Travel Document Number

Airports · 8 min read · Oct 29, 2021
Travel Document Number

For most people, traveling is an exciting experience, especially when they travel abroad. If you have traveled abroad, you know that leaving your home country to visit foreign countries generates a lot of different emotions, including being nervous or anxious about crossing the borders or going through the immigration process.

But anxiety and nervousness can be avoided if you are clear about the importance of your travel document number, you know exactly what travel documents are required by the foreign country you are visiting, and any other requirements that a particular country may have for tourists and immigrants.

To learn more about your travel document number and the different travel documents that you may need for your next trip abroad, keep reading as we give you the essential details.

A passport with a valid travel document number and valid visa stamps.
Image source: Henry Thong

What is the travel document number?

As the name suggests, a travel document number is the group of numbers printed on the travel document as a code associated with the person’s identity to enable the corresponding authorities to identify any traveler and determine its eligibility to travel abroad and enter into the territory of a country different from its birth country.

Generally, each travel document has a specific number, so it is essential to know the different travel documents.

What are the most common travel documents?

The most common travel documents are these three:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Green card

Each of the documents in the list above has a specific purpose, meaning that these travel documents differ from one to the other. Let’s see each travel document in detail to learn more about them.

Passport

The passport is probably the most common travel document around the world. It could also be considered the most important travel document you should have as it is the number one option of all the identification documents for traveling.

Passports are issued by the authorized institution in your birth country. For example, the U.S. passport is issued by the U.S. Department of State. However, if you are a resident of a different country, you can also get your passport by applying to the nearest embassy or consulate.

Why is your country’s passport important?

You can think about your country’s passport as the key that will open the borders for any trip abroad. Whether you are traveling by land, sea, or air, you will need your passport to go across customs and immigration in your country as well as in the country of destination. In general terms, this travel document provides convenience for the traveler.

However, a legitimate passport may not be the only document required, but it is usually the main requirement to obtain other travel documents like a visa. Hence the importance of this travel document.

On the other hand, while your passport may grant you entry into another country, the amount of time you can stay may be limited. A visa-free entry may vary from one country to another, so you have to make sure you have the proper documentation for your intended stay to avoid things like deportation.

Also, your passport is essential because it serves as proof of citizenship. In some countries, the passport is the primary identification document.

The passport number

The passport number is located at the top right corner of the page of your passport book, where all the personal information, including name and photo, is printed.

A passport number is a unique number that is assigned to the person by using specific associated information. For example, the number on any U.S passport has from 6 to 9 digits, where the first two represent the issuing location. So, a passport that was issued in Washington will have 01 at the beginning and so on.

While there are many other measures taken to avoid passport falsification like embedding a chip in the travel document where a personal image, a digital signature, a biometric identifier, and a unique chip ID number are stored, it is the passport number one that will validate the identity of the person. This number is kept in the government’s database for verification purposes.

A country's passport in blue and a boarding pass for a flight.
Image source: https://www.travelperk.com/blog/airline-name-change-or-correction/

Is the travel document number the same as the passport number?

The answer to this question is more straightforward than it seems. A travel document number is a code that makes it a valid travel document; therefore, the answer is yes. In other words, we could say that your passport number is one of your travel document numbers. This is because other travel documents, such as tourist visas, usually have a different number.

Are there any travel documents that have the same travel document number?

Speaking about the U.S. passport, you can get two types of travel documents: the passport book and the passport card. This is one specific case of two travel documents having the same travel document number.

While the passport travel document number is the same for these two, there are two crucial differences:

  • The passport card is cheaper than the passport book, with the highest price of the passport card being $65 for first-time applicants 16 and older. The price of the passport book for first-time applicants 16 and older is $145 at the time of writing.
  • The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air but only for entering the United States at land border crossings and seaports of entry from Canada, Mexico, The Caribbean, and Bermuda. On the other hand, the passport booklet can be used for all international travel.

How can I get my passport?

You may be wondering what it takes for you to get your passport. The first thing to know is that each country’s passport has a specific application process and requirements.

You need to make sure you are eligible to get it, usually being citizenship the first eligibility requirement. Also, depending on your home country, you will need to visit the specifically authorized issuer. As described above, the U.S. Department of State is in case you are applying for a U.S. passport.

The process usually takes filling out some application forms with the requested information and submitting them with the corresponding supporting documents.

I got my passport, can I travel anywhere now?

While a passport is a valid travel document, some passports open more doors than others when it comes to traveling abroad.

According to the Henley Passport Index, the Japanese passport is the one that grants its holder visa-free entry to the biggest number of countries, with an impressive 192 countries at the time of writing. This is impressive compared to others like Afghanistan at the bottom of the list with just 26.

So, make sure you check whether your passport is at the top, the middle, or the bottom of the list and whether the country you intend to visit allows entry without requiring a visa, especially if you intend to stay for an extended period of time.

A man holding travel documents, a boarding pass and luggage, walking in an airport.

Visa

A visa is another travel document with a travel document number associated called the visa number. We just mentioned above that some countries would require their visitors another travel document apart from their passports, especially more likely if they do not have a Japanese passport. And this is usually a visa.

A visa and the visa number are usually associated with the purpose of the visit. Whether it is for tourism, business, studies, employment, or any other immigration purpose, the visa is the most common travel document required when the passport is not enough.

Why is having a visa important?

The first reason why you should get a visa before your next trip abroad is travel convenience. As we already established, a passport is not always enough, and arriving at a country requiring a visa to enter without having it can be a very unpleasant experience that can result in deportation.

Remember the visa and the associated travel document number provide the conditions of your visit, including how long you have been authorized to stay, what activities you are permitted to carry out, and any other relevant detail.

For example, people who go to the United States for work are required on employment-related visas, even if the work is temporary.

A visa can be provided as a separate official document or as an add-on printed on your passport. They are usually made at the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting that is present in your home country. Usually, it is the immigration department in charge of the visa and the travel document number given to it.

The visa number

This is another travel document number used to identify the traveler and understand the conditions of the visit to the country. Eight digits usually from it, with the first one being a letter on some occasions.

This travel document number is easy to identify as it is printed in a different color that makes it jump to the eye. For example, a U.S. visa will have the travel document number printed in red and located at the bottom right corner for easy access.

A close-up view of travel documents and a visa.
Image source: https://www.afternoonvoice.com/us-cannot-stop-issuing-visas-during-travel-bans-federal-judge-rules.html

What is the travel document number for USCIS?

USCIS stands for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. It is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security that administers the country’s naturalization and immigration system.

Therefore, for USCIS, the leading travel identity document will be a U.S. passport for the case of citizens and a travel visa for immigrants. So, a travel document number for USCIS is the U.S. passport number or the number on a valid U.S. visa.

The visa application process

First of all, you need to determine whether you need a visa to enter the country you intend to visit. Probably you will need one, and you will be able to identify which type of visa you need depending on the purpose of your visit.

Since you need to apply for a visa before traveling, you need to identify the nearest embassy location to apply for it.

For example, when applying for a U.S. visa, you have to fill out and send a form called DS-160. This can be done online. However, you will be required to visit the corresponding embassy to take a visa interview and to submit further supporting documents. The type of documents required will depend on the type of visa you are applying for.

Green card

While the green card is the last on the list of travel documents above, it is not the least important.

Among all the types of travel documents that may exist, the green card is an extraordinary one. It is specifically issued by the immigration department of the United States for those seeking and proving eligibility to become permanent residents in that country.

What is the relevance of getting a green card?

Getting a green card plays an essential role for many foreigners trying to settle in the United States. The fact that you get permanent residence facilitates many things, including the prospects of landing a job and social security for you and your family.

However, it is important to be clear that a green card does not make you a citizen. Therefore, it does not work as a passport, so you will need the passport from your birth country to travel and any visa required for that country’s citizens.

However, when crossing the borders to enter the United States, you will not need anything else apart from your passport and green card.

The green card number

The green card number is different from the visa’s travel document number, and it is usually regarded as a receipt number. It is formed by 13 characters, generally including three letters at the beginning and numbers after them. The green card number is located on the back of the physical green card.

A green card, a social security card and the flag of the USA from a central view.
Image source: https://www.usatipps.de/tipps/greencard-fuer-die-usa/

How can I get my green card?

To get this official document, you first need to prove eligibility. Having traveled to the United States before can help you greatly when building your case for green card eligibility.

Documents received in those past trips, such as Form I-94, departure records, and any other immigration-related documents will be useful towards getting green card eligibility.

Some green cards are granted almost immediately to some people who cover certain conditions or belong to certain categories established by the appropriate department. Other green cards are issued through a process called the green card lottery.

If you want to be sure about your eligibility for a green card, it is recommended that you get legal advice before going into any process. Keep in mind that experts can help you with document file completion and other important parts of the process.

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Aeroclass Team
A team of professionals with a deep passion for the aviation industry bringing you the newest and the most striking industry-related news and content.

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