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When it comes to flying abroad, the first thing that crosses our mind is the passport, closely followed by a visa. A passport is a travel document issued by the government of a country that verifies the holder’s identity and helps authorities check the holder’s citizenship. But, you knew that already, didn’t you? We all know what passports are, but what’s a passport-issuing country? And which country will issue your passport when you’re overseas? We’ll answer this and give you valuable insights into a number of related questions.
What is an Issuing Country or Passport Issuing Country?
As we all know, passports (and other travel documents) expire after a certain period of time, post which they are deemed invalid until re-issued or renewed. Now, since you have issued your passport in your native country, your passport says ‘Issuing Country – Your Country’s Name.’ But, when you’re abroad and your passport expires, what is your Issuing Country when you want to re-issue it while you’re abroad?
To answer this question, let us cite an example:
Suppose you are an Australian citizen who’s currently in Germany and needs to get your passport issued. Now, the first rationale you’ll be presenting is that since you are getting your passport issued in Germany, your Issuing Country should be Germany.
An Issuing Country or a Passport Issuing Country is the country that issues your passport (obviously). An Issuing Country is always the country that you hold citizenship to – there, you have your answer!
Re-citing the example above, if you are an Australian citizen getting your passport issued in Germany, your Issuing Country will be Australia and not Germany. Why? Because you are a citizen of Australia and not Germany, and your Issuing Country is always the country you’re a citizen of.
Most people confuse the two because we have two concepts when it comes to passports – Which country the passport is issued BY and which country the passport is issued AT. The country that your passport is Issued by is your Issuing Country (which is often printed on your passport), and the country where your passport is issued at, is where you’re currently getting your passport issued (can be any country that has your Issuing Country’s embassy or consulate).
When you’re overseas, you’ll only be issued your passport at your native country’s embassy or consulate in the country you currently are in.
For example, if you are in France and you’re an American citizen, your passport will be issued at an American (or the United States) embassy or consulate located in France. Since you’re getting your passport issued at an embassy or consulate that belongs to your native country, it makes fair sense why your Issuing Country is your native country and not the country you have flown to.
Is it the same thing to get my passport issued at an embassy or a consulate?
For the answer yes, it is the same thing to get your passport issued either at the embassy or at the consulate of your native country.
There can only be one embassy of a country in another country, usually located in the capital, where travelers can get their passport issued.
On the other hand, an embassy can have multiple consular sections or consulates located in various parts of the host country, usually the tourist destinations. A consulate does not offer all the services that are provided by an embassy; however, the general functions of the consulate are public diplomacy, issuing passports and visas, etc.
Since consulates are a part of an embassy, your passport holds the same value whether it is issued at an embassy or a consulate. Furthermore, both embassies and consulates have the power vested upon them by the native country, which, again, means that your passport can be issued at either of these departments and still hold the same legitimacy.
What if you don’t have an embassy of your native country in your host or current country?
Although most countries have embassies and consulates in most other countries, it is possible that your country does not have an embassy or a consulate in a specific country owing to reasons such as civil unrest, no diplomatic relations, security reasons, etc.
So, where do you get your passport issued, then? Of course, you can not fly back to your country to issue your passport (even flying is not an option without a valid passport).
In cases where your native country does not have a consulate or embassy in the host country, your country will then assign some other country that has an embassy or consulates in the host country to issue your passport. Your Issuing Country will still be the country you’re a citizen of and not the country that your native country has designated as the legitimate issuer for passports.
The most relevant example of this would be Nepal. Nepal does not have many embassies, and if you are in Venezuela (one such country where Nepal does not have an embassy) as a Nepalese citizen, your passport in Venezuela will be issued by an Indian Embassy or consulate (which has an embassy in Venezuela). This is because Nepal has vested the power of issuing all Nepalese passports in Venezuela to India.
However, your Issuing Country is your passport will still be printed as Nepal, and not India.
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