Global passports

pile passports photo
Photo by FourthFloor
This is probably a topic that is of minimal concern to most people, but I’m starting to think the idea of issuing passports nationally is outdated. I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t have nationalities, but that a global organisation (perhaps the UN) should issue all passports, which would then list all nationalities held by the owner.

There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, many countries have started requiring that you enter and exit using a passport issued by them if you have one. (For instance, if you have both a Danish and an American passport, the US will not accept your entering the country using the Danish one.) That wouldn’t be too bad, if this didn’t potentially clash with the demand by many airlines that you register your passport with them and use this throughout your trip. You can effectively end up in a situation where you cannot satisfy all the demands at the same time. (My impression is that people with multiple nationalities end up travelling with all their passports all the time, which is a hassle.)

Secondly, countries have very different rules with regard to name changes. Some countries (such as the UK) are happy for people to change their name, either through marriage or by deed poll, whereas others insist of sticking to the birth name. This can become a real issue, as I’ve discovered from following Brexit groups on Facebook – there are effectively people who are unable to get a new UK passport because the name in their French or Italian passport doesn’t match.

Wouldn’t it be much simpler if every person only had one passport, which could then list their nationalities (including from and to dates), all names ever used, and potentially other information that is useful for travelling, such as visas and work permits?

It might not be an easy idea to implement, but perhaps the EU could start by creating a single EU passport?

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