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Traveling with a family can create tons of unforgettable memories for everyone involved. This is especially true for international travel, where you can gain unique experiences that you wouldn’t have in your home country.
What is a travel document number? A travel document number is a set of digits that help to identify each individual traveling and is located on the official document they are using for travel. This number can be found on passports, visas, and other similar forms.
There are so many places to travel to in the world with families and young children, the possibilities are endless. Although it can be a long process, it is necessary to acquire the correct travel documents in order to do this.
Table of Contents
There are multiple types of travel documents that are accepted as valid identification in different situations and different places of the world.
As a result, not everyone will need the exact same documents for their travels.
- U.S. Passport
- Passport Card
- U.S. Visa
- Green Card/Form I-94
Passports are some of the most common forms of identification for international travel that are used in the United States. Issued by the U.S. Department of State, citizens are able to use this card to reenter the country after they have departed from it.
Also called a passport book, this form of identification allows U.S. citizens to travel on land, sea, and air to any destination they desire around the world.
The passport itself serves as an identification card and will be recognized as such in most locations.
The purpose of this travel document is to show proof of U.S. citizenship in order to be allowed to travel abroad and get back into the country after travel.
Passport cards, on the other hand, are an alternative to the traditional U.S. passport. These cards allow citizens to cross the borders of surrounding countries including Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
These cards are issued by the Department of State as a more cost-effective option for those who will not be traveling far and do not want to splurge on a regular passport.
With that being said, passport cards are also only valid for crossing land and sea borders, meaning that cardholders cannot fly into their destination countries.
International travelers that reside in foreign countries and would like to enter the United States will require a different form of travel documentation. One of the most common travel document for entering the country is a U.S. Visa.
Visas are usually indicated by a stamp or smaller piece of paper that is attached to an existing passport.
This document comes with an expiration date that will end the traveler's permission to stay in the United States and does not grant permanent residency. U.S. visas are short-term travel documents that usually last for a few months to several years.
Foreign travelers can also use a green card, or Form I-94, to visit the United States on a more long-term basis. This travel document will allow them to travel, live, and work in the United States permanently, and is valid for their entire life once it is granted. These cards do, however, need to be renewed every 10 years or so.
Travel Document Numbers
Along with the personal information and photograph on your travel document, the identification number is what validates it. Without this number, it would be hard to identify the person who is showing the document.
Since these documents are needed to travel abroad and cross borders, it is extremely important that the proper authorities are able to identify every single person that is coming in and out of each location.
With the validation of a travel document number, these books and cards can be used for proper identification everywhere you go. This is why the security of travel document numbers are taken so seriously.
Travel Document Numbers:
- U.S. Passports - 6 to 9 characters (a mixture of letters and numbers)
- U.S. Visa - 8 characters (all numbers, or 1 letter and 7 numbers)
- Green Card - 13 characters (3 letters and 10 numbers)
U.S. Passport document numbers are between six and nine characters long, including both letters and numbers. This string of characters is carefully constructed to represent a few pieces of vital information.
The first two numbers will point to the location where your passport was issued. If you acquired your passport in Washington, for example, the first two numbers would be 01. If you got it in New Hampshire, on the other hand, it will most likely start with a “20”.
If your passport was issued to you as a military dependent, you will see the numbers ’90” at the beginning of your document number. Diplomatic passports, on the other hand, will begin with “90”.
Only emergency passports that were granted for temporary travel will start out with the number “70” or the letter “Z”.
U.S. Visa numbers consist of eight total characters, which are usually made up of numerical digits only. However, some visas will start out with one letter and list seven numbers behind it.
This number is one of the easiest to locate out of all travel documents because it is highlighted in red ink against the black text on the rest of the paper.
Green card numbers, commonly referred to as “receipt numbers” are comprised of 13 digits total. This can also be referred to as a case number. The string of numbers will begin with three alphabetic characters with ten more numbers at the end.
How To Find Your Travel Document Number?
The travel document number will be found in a unique location for each form of identification. As a quick reference, refer to this list and match the location with your travel document, or keep reading for more details.
Travel Document Number Locations:
- U.S. Passport - top right corner (second page)
- Passport Card - top right corner
- U.S. Visa - bottom right corner
- Green Card - center right
If you are a U.S. Passport holder, whether you have the book or just the card, you will be able to locate your travel document number in the top right-hand corner of the document. For the Passport card, this number will simply be located on the front side.
For a Passport book, it will be located on the second page that displays your personal information. To easily locate this number when asked to identify yourself, you can just look for the page that has your photo on it, and the number will be found on the top right of the same page.
U.S. Visas display the travel document number in the bottom right-hand corner of the front of the card. As mentioned above, this number is easy to find because it is printed in red ink.
To locate the case or receipt number on a Green Card, you can start in the center of the card, where you will see a sequence of three alphabetic letters. Moving toward the right of the card, there will be the rest of the ten characters in numeric digits that make up the document number.
Acquiring a Travel Document
The process of getting the travel document you need for your international travel will require a specific process, depending on which document you are trying to acquire. In addition, these processes will take various amounts of time to be approved and ready for use, so it is best to be prepared long before your trip.
Average Processing Times:
- U.S. Passport Card - 6 to 8 weeks
- U.S. Passport - 6 to 8 weeks
- U.S. Visa - 7 to 10 days
- Green Card - 5 to 6 months
Acquiring a U.S. Passport Card will require the submission of an application. Along with the application, you will need to provide evidence of citizenship, which is usually indicated by a U.S. birth certificate, and a valid government issued ID.
Before the application can be processed, the issuing facility will need to take a photo of you and collect a fee.
The process of gaining an entire U.S. Passport book is almost identical to that of the U.S. Passport card, however, the total fee amount will be different.
It will be more expensive to purchase a passport book because this document will allow you to travel by land, sea, and air anywhere in the world. The passport card is the cheaper option that will only allow you to travel to surrounding areas.
The requirements for U.S. travel visas will include a similar process to that of a U.S. passport. To begin, you will need to visit the U.S. Embassy location that is located in your country of residence.
The form that is needed to gain a visa is called the DS-160, and can be filled out and sent in completely online. Visa applications will also require birth and identification documents, along with other personal information that will help to identify the applicant.
When applying for any kind of U.S. Visa document, you will be asked to explain why you need to travel to the United States and how long you will be there.
Upon submission of the DS-160 form, both an application and issuance fee will be collected. The application fee is always required, but the issuance fee will depend on the country of residence.
The final steps of acquiring a U.S. Visa are the interview appointment process and the document file completion. All applicants that are between the ages of 14 and 79 years old will need to visit their local U.S. Embassy for a scheduled interview as part of the screening procedure.
Once the interview is scheduled, the applicant will need to create something called a document file, which will include their personal information and the identification documents that were mentioned above.
To get more into detail, acceptable identification documents are a valid passport, the confirmation of Form DS-160 submission, a visa photograph, the appointment letter from the visa interview, and receipt proof of fee payments.
For the interview appointment, the applicant should make sure to be on time to avoid being denied their meeting. U.S. travel visas generally require a short interview process in comparison to immigration visas.
If you are eligible to apply for a green card, the Form I-485 application can be completed online, along with the submission of supporting documents and the associated fees.
Similar to the process that is required for a U.S. visa, there will be a scheduled interview before the final decision is made. Within the allotted processing time frame, you will receive your green card and gain access to the United States for up to 10 years.
Travel Documents For Children
For families with teenagers and young children, the task of acquiring travel documents can seem like it would complicate vacation plans. However, it is not as difficult as it may seem. Refer to this quick guide when applying for travel documents before a family trip.
Child Travel Documents:
- U.S. Passport - under 16 years
- U.S. Visa - under 14 years
- Green card - under 21 years, unmarried
When applying for a U.S. Passport, teenagers that are the age of 16 and above will be able to follow the same process as the average adult. The application steps will change for children under 16 and will require more documents from the parents.
Along with a valid birth certificate, the applicant’s parents will need to show proof of their relationship, which is indicated by some kind of birth document, as well as their own government-issued ID. Before the photo is taken and the fees are paid, the parent will need to appear to the facility to show parental consent.
When a child under the age of 14 applies for a U.S. visa, their parents will fill out the same online form that is required for adults along with the corresponding fees and photos.
The only difference between these two processes is that children in this age group will not be required to appear for an interview at the U.S. Embassy. This is done by submitting an application through something called the Interview Waiver.
For children who need to acquire a green card to enter the United States, they will fill out the Form I-130. It is relatively simple to gain this documentation when the parent is a citizen of the United States, as long as the child is under the age of 21 and unmarried.
How To Protect Your Travel Document Information?
Reporting Stolen Travel Documents:
- U.S. Passports - U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Visa - U.S. Embassy
- Green Cards - U.S. Embassy
Traveling abroad to countries overseas with your family is new and exciting, but it is important to keep in mind that you need to protect the information on all of the travel documents that were mentioned in this article.
Since your family’s travel documents will have personal information and photographs on them, it is vital that they are held in a secure location and the credentials are not exposed for others to see.
If you have small children in your family, it would be a good idea to hold on to their passports and cards for them, so they do not get lost. Even further, they should always be closed or covered to avoid stolen information.
Your travel document number itself will generally not be enough information for a thief to steal your identity or do any real damage, but the entire card or passport will be a problem if it is lost or stolen.
In the event that you do lose one of your travel documents, you will need to report it to the appropriate government agency by filling out a designated form. U.S. citizens will fill out the DS-64 form, while foreign travelers will need to reach out to their local U.S. Embassy.
In conclusion, travel document numbers are necessary for all international travel and can be easily acquired for family members of all ages. After reading through this article, the process of gaining and protecting these documents should be the least of your worries.
Is a passport ID/passport number the same as the travel document number?
Yes, this number can be referred to under both of these names. If you are asked for either of these numbers as a form of identification, you can simply show your passport and it will be fairly easy for the person to locate it.
Will my passport card and passport book have the same travel document number?
No. While both your passport card and book will be used to identify you, they are considered separate documents and will have different numbers as a result.
What is the average cost to acquire travel documents?
For a U.S. Passport, you can expect to pay up to $145 total depending on what type of document you apply for. The average cost of a U.S. travel visa is $160, while green cards can cost thousands of dollars.