Travelling without a Passport: Is it Possible?

September 5, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. persecution [pur-si-KYOO-shuh n] (n.) – a cruel or unfair treatment of a person or a group, especially because of their race, religion, or political beliefs
Example: James and his family left their home country to escape persecution.

2. issue [ISH-oo] (v.) – to give something in an official manner
Example: The government issues special passports to diplomats and top officials.

3. in lieu of [in LOO ov] (idiom) – instead of or in place of something
ExampleIn lieu of travelling abroad, Maria decided to travel within the country to save money.

4. certification [sur-tuh-fi-KEY-shuh n, ser-tif-uh-] (n.) – a document confirming the truth of a particular event or statement
Example: When applying for a passport, a person needs to present certifications to prove his identity.

5. cross borders [kraws BAWR-ders, kros] (v. phrase) – to travel from one territory to another
Example: Usually, a person with no valid passport is not allowed to cross borders.


Read the text below.
Although a passport is a necessary document for international travel, a person can still travel without it under some special circumstances.

Countries such as the US, the UK and Canada allow some people to enter the country even without a passport. These countries issue travel documents in lieu of a passport. However, specific requirements still need to be met in order to receive the travel documents.

First, a person with refugee status can travel without a passport. According to the United Nations, more than seven million people became refugees in 2012 as they tried to escape persecution or fighting in their home countries. Nonetheless, refugees are sometimes expected to present other forms of identification before they are accepted into another country, says Larry Yungk, a UNHCR resettlement officer.

Second, a person can travel without a passport if his or her passport got lost or stolen while travelling abroad. Simon Calder, travel editor of Independent newspaper, says that because waiting for a new passport can take days, a person can instead get a certification from his or her country's consulate. The certification would allow the said person to take a one-way flight to his or her destination.

In addition, special relationships between countries allow their citizens to travel without a passport. For example, US citizens need only an approved photo ID to travel to US territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico. In Europe, the citizens of 26 countries included in the Schengen area can freely cross borders. The British Queen, who officially issues passports in the UK, is also exempted from having one.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, what are the disadvantages of not needing passports when travelling to other countries?
·         Do you think there is a better system than carrying passports every time we travel? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What do you think are some difficulties that tourists face when travelling abroad? Please briefly explain.
·         How do you think these difficulties can be addressed?


September 5, 2013