Do World Leaders Need Passports?


What is diplomatic passport in our globalized world, it is incredibly common for a president, prime minister, king, chancellor, supreme leader, and other world leaders to visit other countries on diplomatic missions.

Unlike the world of us normies however, diplomats and high-level politicians travel in a very different way, especially when it comes to customs and immigration. So, what exactly is the protocol for the leaders and representatives of the world’s countries?

For most countries, there are at least three different types of passports. Most of us will use a normal, everyday passport intended for normal people travelling for normal business or leisure purposes. However, if you work for the government, this likely doesn’t apply to you in the same way, as there are two other types in most countries: diplomatic and official passports, each with their own requirements, designs, and even visa privileges.

What is Diplomatic Passport ?

As implied in the name, diplomatic passports are of course given to diplomats when they go to represent their country in an embassy or consulate, or for some other purpose that requires their nation to be represented in some way by a special person.

Diplomatic passports often have different visa requirements than normal passports, and often even have their own immigration counters at some major airports. It should be noted however that merely possessing a diplomatic passport doesn‘t automatically grant the holder diplomatic immunity, for that a diplomat of course needs special clearance on top of their diplomatic passport.

This passport is often also what’s given to a country’s leader and their accompanying staff. For example, the President of the United States gets a black US diplomatic passport when they enter office (and are allowed to keep after they leave office) which in this case also has the sentence “THE BEARER IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES” printed on one of the pages, which probably gives a few border agents a bit of a jump occasionally.

When a world leader arrives at an airport in another country however, the party does not line up to get their passports stamped, instead the party goes on their own way while everyone‘s passports are brought in to be checked and stamped behind the scenes.

Remember, government visits (much like spaceflights) are highly planned and heavily orchestrated events; the President of France isn’t exactly the type of person to jump the fence at the airport and illegally immigrate to Canada or anything like that. Of course there is one thing that I’m sure you’re all going to be dying for me to mention.

Queen Elizabeth II Doesn’t Need a Passport

which basically means that all British passports are of course issued in the Queen’s name, meaning that she can basically waive herself through but every other member of the royal family cannot (and I mean a border guard isn’t going to come across the Queen and have to tell her apart from any other 93-year old British woman, you can generally tell when you’re dealing with the real deal).

So that was relatively straightforward, but of course this articles is kind of short as it is, so I’m going to use an old trick of mine and turn this articles into a articles on similar types of passport, since there are still lots.

Official Passport or Service Passport

For example, when one is sent to another country by their government but not as a diplomat or on a diplomatic mission or on any other formal affairs they will likely be given a service passport, also known as an official passport, yet another type of special passport given to government workers (and often their families) who are traveling abroad for their jobs at the government, but are nonetheless not part of the diplomatic corp and are not serving as ambassadors.

United Nations Passport

On a somewhat similar note is the United Nations Laissez-Passer, a passport-shaped travel document given to officials of the UN and other select agencies, notably the World Bank, IMF, WHO, WTO, WTO, WTF, YMCA, RESPECT, and several others for those traveling on official business.

Like actual passports, they also provide visa-free travel to certain select countries, assuming the border guard in question even knows what it is. No really, that happens so often that its Wikipedia page actually warns that many immigration officers might not actually realize it’s a real travel document.

However the blue one does come with some diplomatic immunity while the red version comes with full diplomatic immunity. Okay now for a rapid-fire list of slightly related documents to wrap up this articles.

Interpol Passports

Interpol gives its officers their own Interpol Travel Documents, basically special Interpol passports for  on-duty officers traveling between Interpol member nations to waive any visa requirements in case of any emergency that that particular officer might be needed for.

Refugee Travel Documents

These documents given to refugees by the country they have fled to in order to allow them to leave and return to their country of choice (except for in Australia), however they also fall under the problem of immigration officers occasionally not knowing what these things are.

Hajj Passports Documents

Finally Hajj passports are documents issued by a handful of countries for purposes of attending the Hajj in Mecca, though many of these (highlighted with the green lines) only do this for their Muslim citizens (which to be fair you’re kind of already doing by default anyway), but in most cases people just get a Hajj visa in their regular passport.

Jordan however also gives temporary Jordanian passports to Israeli Muslims, since of course Israeli citizens are not allowed to visit Saudi Arabia at all. The list of these kinds of special passports almost never ends, but I have to end this article somewhere.

Thanks for reading this article, it was nice to write an article regarding passport again, If you want to read more of these give this articles a comment to let me know.

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