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What Is a Passport Number?

By Lee Johnson
Updated May 23, 2024
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A passport number is a number which is used to differentiate an individual passport from others using a unique, usually nine-digit number. The number is an important piece of information that is required if a person loses his passport, and often required to check in to hotels and guest houses abroad. On most passports, the number can be found in the top right hand corner of the page which carries the owner's picture.

International travel requires a passport, and this document must be shown at border crossings or in airports to both identify the person entering a country and check that he or she is permitted to travel. Passports carry many pieces of information about the traveler, including his or her name, date of birth, place of birth, and nationality. They also includes information such as the authority who issued the document.

Each passport has a unique passport number, which can usually be found in the top right hand corner of the picture page of the passport. Some passports also display the number on the front page of the passport book. Most of the numbers are nine digits long, but this is not always the case. For example, Nigerian and Australian passports have one letter followed by seven numerical digits. The page which displays the picture of the passport holder is usually the penultimate page in the passport.

Many hotels and guest houses will ask for a passport number when a guest checks in. This is common practice, and the number can then be used to confirm that the guest has a right to be in the country if necessary. This number can also serve to verify that the passport is genuine, when used in combination with the name given. If the passport is forged, the number and name given will likely not match.

When a person loses his or her passport, the passport number is a key piece of information to help the authorities locate the correct file. For this reason, people are advised to write down or remember their passport numbers whenever possible. If a traveler loses his passport while in another country, he should contact his country's nearest embassy for further assistance.

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Discussion Comments
By Drentel — On Jul 06, 2014

I don't know how it works now, but some hotels used to make you leave your passport at the front desk until you checked out. I haven't traveled out of the country in a long time, so maybe this has changed.

By Sporkasia — On Jul 05, 2014

I agree with the last paragraph of this article when it talks about the importance of writing down your passport book number. Sometimes when you get your passport you will also be given a card where you can write your number and put it in your wallet.

I have a friend who did this because she has a habit of losing things. We all knew it was only a matter of time before she lost or at least misplaced her passport, so the card was the perfect backup for her.

So we were on vacation and she realized she didn't know where her passport was. She checked her purse, her pockets, her luggage and every other place we could think of. After a long search, we decided we needed to go to the airport because we were flying home that afternoon.

I suggested we go down stairs and ask the clerk what we should do. I was sure other people had lost their passports before and the hotel clerk could probably tell us the best thing to do. After all, at least she had the card with the passport number written on it.

Well, yes she had brought the card, but then she realized she couldn't find that either. After another search, we finally went down to the front desk of the hotel and that's where we found her passport. She had left it for safe keeping in the hotel safe and forgotten about it. And the card with the passport number was tucked inside the passport.

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