Nehemiah 2:7-9, dating from approximately 450 BC, states that Nehemiah, an official serving King Artaxerxes I of Persia, asked permission to travel to Judea; the king granted leave and gave him a letter "to the governors beyond the river" requesting safe passage for him as he traveled through their lands.
In the medieval Islamic Caliphate, a form of passport was the bara'a, a receipt for taxes paid.
Many countries normally allow entry to holders of passports of other countries, sometimes requiring a visa also to be obtained, but this is not an automatic right.
British tourists of the 1920s complained, especially about attached photographs and physical descriptions, which they considered led to a "nasty dehumanization".
While the United Nations held a travel conference in 1963, no passport guidelines resulted from it.
In 1540, granting travel documents in England became a role of the Privy Council of England, and it was around this time that the term "passport" was used.
In 1794, issuing British passports became the job of the Office of the Secretary of State.
Like some smartcards, the passport booklet design calls for an embedded contactless chip that is able to hold digital signature data to ensure the integrity of the passport and the biometric data.