How to look for records of... Passports
How can I view the records covered in this guide?
This is a brief guide which will tell you how to trace historical passport records. It is not for people looking for information about their own passports – please contact the Identity and Passport Service to do this. Surviving historical records of passports are not comprehensive. The National Archives holds some registers and indexes of passport applications up to 1916, but most of the passports themselves do not survive.
What do I need to know before I start?
What records can I see online?
What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?
What records can I find in other archives and organisations?
What other resources will help me find information?
Did you know?
Before the First World War it was not compulsory for someone travelling abroad to apply for a passport.
Possession of a passport was confined largely to merchants and diplomats, and the vast majority of those travelling overseas had no formal documents.