Laissez passer

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laissez passer ( French for "let pass") is a travel document issued by a national government or certain international organizations, such as the United NationsEuropean Union and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). A laissez-passer is often for one-way travel to the issuing country for humanitarian reasons only such as Restoring Family Links. Some national governments issue laissez-passers to their own nationals as emergency passports. Others issue them to people who are stateless, or who are unable to obtain a passport from their own government, or whose government is not recognized by the issuing country.

laissez passer, One such example is the People's Republic of China, which issues the non-passport Chinese Travel Document to its nationals under certain circumstances. One such circumstance stems from a reported loss of passport while traveling or living abroad. China issues a temporary two-year validity Travel Document in lieu of a passport to allow said citizen to complete their travels and return to China to apply for a replacement Chinese passport. Under other circumstances such as a Chinese citizen studying or working abroad, the Chinese embassies or consulates will issue passports if requested. Chinese Travel Document is a blue-covered passport-sized booklet clearly denoted "TRAVEL DOCUMENT" as opposed to the usual red-covered passport.

Historically, laissez-passers were commonly issued during wartime and at other periods, literally acting as a pass to allow travel to specific areas, or out of war zones or countries for various officials, diplomatic agents, other representatives or citizens of third countries. In these contexts, a laissez-passer would frequently include quite specific and limited freedom of movement. The form and issuing authority would be more or less standardized, depending on the circumstances.

An example is when in the early 1950s, the Iraqi government granted permission to its 120,000 Jewish citizens to leave (Operation Ezra and Nehemiah), conditional on their renouncing their citizenship and leaving behind all their properties and assets. The travel document that was issued was the laissez-passer, since an Iraqi passport was no longer possible.

Laissez-passer documents may also be issued to goods or other non-living objects to facilitate their transport across international borders. For instance, the Agreement on the Transfer of Corpses sets out rules whereby human corpses may be issued laissez-passer documents in order for a body to be buried or cremated in a country different from the one in which the person died.

3 Responses

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