What to Put Under Occupation for a Passport?

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Your passport is probably the most important document that you own when you travel and without it, let’s face it, you’re not going to be doing much traveling anyway. More importantly so, your passport serves as a primary identification tool, and in many cases, you will need to have this on you.

So, whatever goes into the passport is supremely important, and attention to detail is crucial. Remember, what you put in your passport is information that has to be verifiable and accurate. 

When you are applying for your passport, there are different areas that you need to focus on. One such field is the “Occupation” field, and you must fill in this information correctly. Whether you are employed, unemployed, or a student or you work for yourself or fit into any other categories that we will describe over here, you need to pick this information out carefully and fill in the same. In this post, let us go through the different options you have to put under the Occupation column when you are applying for your passport. 

Now, under normal circumstances, you will probably not have this question of what to fill under occupation. When I say normal circumstances, I mean that you have an easily identifiable job that is listed in the occupations, and you are currently employed to be working there.

But, many passport applicants are either students or unemployed or in the military. So it can get pretty confusing as to what to exactly fill in this column. Let us address the different circumstances over here.

You must note that a few years back, employment was a very important factor when applying for your passport, and if you were employed under the government, you were required to get a no-objection certificate on a mandatory basis. However, it is very important to ensure that you do not falsify the information on your passport, and hence you must pay attention to it.   

What do I put under occupation for a passport if I am unemployed?

If you are of working age and have not started a job or have resigned from one recently, or are taking a career break, you are currently unemployed. If you are on the verge of starting a business but have not yet onset the process at the time of application, you are still classified as unemployed.

Hence, the correct answer to fill in the column would be “Unemployed” in such situations. However, this is only applicable to those who have no immediate prospects of getting a job. When I say immediate, I mean between the time of application and the issuance of the passport. 


On the other hand, if you are expecting to join a job or receive an offer letter for the same in the duration following the application of your passport and before the issuing of the same, then you should initially mark the same as Unemployed.

But once it is confirmed that you have received the job, you should be able to procure the necessary documents from the company that prove that you are associated with them, such as a No Objection Certificate or some sort of affidavit that verifies your employment. 

Once you receive such documentation from the company, you can present it to the executive during the time of your passport appointment.  The executive will then be able to correct the information.

You can ensure the same by confirming with them. Keep in mind that it is best to be honest regarding your employment situation because if you mark yourself as a private employee or a self-employed person when you do not have a job currently, even though the chances of the officer coming to know are slim, it can still get you into trouble for no real reason.

Can you put “student” as an occupation on your passport?

There are many different scenarios that you need to consider over here. If you are still enrolled in a program and are seeing it through, be it your undergraduate or graduate studies, you are a student.

There is also the scenario where you have completed your final examinations but have not received your degree or certification. In this case, you still qualify as a student rather than unemployed because it is under the assumption that you will be working full time only when your program is completed, and you have obtained proof of the same via the certificate.

If you have accidentally selected the option as a student, but you are not a student, you can always correct it during your appointment by mentioning this to the executive. 

What to put under occupation for a passport if I am in the Military?

If you are a part of the forces, such as the Air Force or the military, then you are eligible for a no-fee passport. If you are working as a part of the US Navy, US Army, or the US Air Force, under occupation, you should specify the same, and they will be your employers, and your current rank will be your Occupation. 

Your rank gives a clear idea about what you are doing, and hence it is important to specify it as it is your occupation, as opposed to the specific employer you are working for the forces. For example, if you are working as a part of the military, you can fill it out this way: Occupation- Military and Employer- US Army. Depending on the reason for your travel, you are issued different kinds of passports by the Academy.

Usually, you will possess two passports- one for official use and one for personal travel. In both of them, you can specify your employment details as mentioned above.

If you have retired from the forces or have resigned and are not employed elsewhere, then the correct option for you to select would be “Unemployed.”

What do I put under occupation if I am retired?

There will be options that you can select that indicate whether you have retired from a private position or a government one. If you are sure that you will not be working again and you are past you are working years, then this is the ideal option for you to select.

Otherwise, you can just mark yourself as unemployed as that is an umbrella term that includes those who are on a break from their career and wish to resume it at a later point. Ideally, there will be no problem if during renewal you wish to change the employment status, but it is generally better to be precise. 

Will my occupation appear on the passport?

Even though the application form mandates there be information regarding your employment status as well as your employer details, these do not appear on the passport. This is the situation as of today because earlier, quite a few years ago, this information did appear on the passport.


Now, some countries do print the occupation in the passport, but the US is not one of them. If you take a look at a sample passport, you will know that no such information appears on the passport. 

While we are at it, let us explore a more practical question. 

What information appears on my passport?

Your passport is an all-inclusive booklet that includes and depicts information about your identification, such that when you carry this around, you are recognized as fit for international travel with clearance from the necessary authorities who have verified the information and given you clearance.

You can use your passport as identification proof. Your passport includes information regarding your Full Name, Passport Number, Date of Birth, Nationality, Gender, Date of Issue of the Passport as well as Date of Expiry. Moreover, your photograph, as well as your signature, will be a part of your passport.

What are the different kinds of passports available?

This might come out as surprising to some people, but there are many different kinds of passports that a person can be issued. For example, if someone is a part of the forces such as the Navy or military, or a representing the country in an official capacity, they are issued with an official passport for the same that indicates that they are arriving at the destination country only for official purposes and this does not provide them with any privileges. 

Diplomats have their passport known as the diplomatic passport, and they are generally granted certain privileges that ensure their security and overall protection. For instance, usually, holding a diplomatic passport can prevent one from getting prosecuted if they are in a host country. School children or groups traveling together might be issued with a collective passport, whereas families can also have a family passport though this is virtually non-existent these days. 

These days, it is best to opt for an e-passport that prevents any fraudulence of the passport as it is occupied with an electronic chip that contains the information of the holder.


I hope that I have been able to clear any doubt that you had regarding what you must put under Occupation while filling out the passport application form. While you can always correct the information by addressing it during your passport appointment, it is much less hassle to pay attention and do it right the first time around unless the situation is out of your control.

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Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.


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