Difference Between Passport Number and Travel Document Number

A travel document must accompany you during every international trip to establish your identity. Every travel document is assigned with an unique number which helps authorities to verify its authenticity.

A travel document number is required not only for border controls, but also for airline tickets. You can’t buy them without one! Apart from the number, travel documents also contain information about travel history, the availability of a visa, and its duration. 

An American Passport Laying on the Map With the Text Difference Between Passport Number and Travel Document Number

What is the difference between a travel document and a passport number?

Travel document is a government-issued, and internationally recognized paper allowing you to travel between states, for example, a passport. Passport number is a unique set of digits used to differentiate passports between holders.

Depending on your trip, different documents could be considered your traveling document. If you are a U.S. citizen and want to fly domestically, a valid driver’s license may be used as a traveling document. If you want to fly overseas, a passport and visa (if needed) will have that function. A Green Card, if you are a foreigner living in the States, can also be referred to as a traveling document.

The number on your travel document is nothing other than a set of digits used by authorities to identify a traveling person. These numbers are printed on the official travel document you are holding. You can find them on your passport, visa, Green Card, and other official international travel documents.

Take your passport photos online

Travel document number – Why do you need it?

The identification number authenticates the travel document. It is a unique set of digits stored in a global database that allows for a quick verification of a document’s legitimacy. When visiting foreign countries, the authorities must identify everyone who enters and exits the country. 

The authorities are taking the security of travelers’ documents very seriously. These numbers are used by government entities to track visitors, maintain secure borders, and authenticate you as a traveler, assuring your eligibility to go overseas.

Types of travel documents 

It is common for travelers to use several travel documents to prove their identity. Although not everybody has the same record, the most critical traveling documents in the United States are American passport books and visas. 

Though most countries require visas as well as passports, that is not the case when traveling in the U.S. Amongst the essential travel documents found in the U.S., visas, passports, and Green Cards are of utmost importance.


If you plan to travel abroad, you will need to get a visa to enter back into the country. Most U.S. visa numbers contain 8 numeric characters, some consist of 1 letter and 7 numbers. When planning a trip abroad, you can get a visa from each country’s citizenship and immigration agency, which in the United States is called USCIS. These agencies control who is allowed to enter the country you are visiting.

In most cases, the authorities stamp visa documents onto the pages of passports, or you may obtain them as an official document.


A passport is an ID booklet that certifies the identification and citizenship of its holder and permits travel between countries. 

American passports have between 6 to 9 characters (letters and numbers). It is mandatory to acquire a passport before flying to another nation since it is impossible to travel abroad without one. 

Green Card

A Green Card is a document that gives a person permanent residency in the U.S. The Green Card has 13 characters (3 letters and 10 numbers).

Green Card holders can visit a total of 100 countries on a U.S. passport with no requirement for visas. The U.S. only accepts residents to get a Green Card from 36 countries who have foreign passports.

Social Security Card

Your Social Security Card serves as secondary proof of your identity. When 2 or more forms of identification are necessary, a Social Security Card can fulfill the requirement. A Social Security Card can also be used to prove a person’s employment permission in the U.S.

The number on the back of your Social Security Card consists of 1 letter and 8 numbers. The combination of these digits is also known as the Sequential Control Number that is tied to the federal reserve bank. 

Driver’s License

A driver’s license is more than just documentation that proves you can drive a car. It can now be used in replacement of a passport when boarding an airline for a domestic flight. It has become evidence of your identity.

The amount of numbers on your driver’s license depends on which state or country issued the license. The number of digits varies from 9 to 22.


A state-issued ID (often issued by the state’s DMV) is one of several government-issued IDs that are valid for domestic flights. It is a kind of government-issued identification that contains personal and biometric information and allows its possessor to confirm their identity and citizenship. A state-issued ID-Card consists of 11 digits.

Do all travel documents have the same travel document number?

Each document has a unique number. A Green Card number, for example, begins with 3 letters and is followed by 10 numbers, while a U.S. visa number consists of 8 characters (numeric or otherwise).

Some countries may require special travel documents for non-residents. For example, the visa number serves as both the visa number and the travel document number.

Authorities request for the passport number separately in some applications, they are particularly inquiring about non-passport travel papers (e.g. Refugee Travel Documents, etc.).

Travel document number for F1 visa holder

International students are not citizens or immigrants of the U.S., so when they are on U.S. soil, they need to present their F1 visa number and not their passport number. 

Another valid travel document for an F1 student visa holder is a SEVIS ID. It is a one-of-a-kind identification given to a student by the government. SEVIS ID numbers start with the letter “N.” The SEVIS number is located on the top right-hand side of the first page of the Form I-20, above the barcode and below the words Student’s Copy.

Travel document number for I-539 applicant

The I-539 is not a travel document, therefore it cannot be submitted as a travel document number. You can lawfully remain in the United States while your I-539 is processing, but if you want to travel abroad, the U.S. authorities will immediately withdraw your I-539 processing or change your status. This status only exists while you are in the United States.

Travel document number for I-130 applicant

An I-130 is a request for a family-based immigrant visa that initiates the Green Card application. 

To travel in the U.S. or abroad, you need to have a non-immigrant visa number and your passport number (if required). You can’t use your passport number for an I-130 form as a travel document while it is processing.

Difference between passport number and travel document number – FAQs

Is a passport number different from a travel document number?

Your travel document number can be the same as your passport number. Travel document is not a fixed term and it depends on the purpose of your trip. A passport, a Green Card, or a visa could be referred to as a travel document, and each have their unique numbers.

What is the travel document number?

A travel document number is a set of digits unique to each individual document. The travel document number allows for a quick authorization of the document, and is attributed to a specific person. This number is printed on the official travel document you are holding. It is placed on your passport, visa, Green Card, and other official international travel documents. 

Where is the document number on a passport?

You can find your document number on a passport in the upper right-hand corner of the page containing your image. Each passport has a unique code and number. It is sometimes referred to as the travel document number or the passport document number.

How long is your passport number?

U.S. passports have 6 to 9 characters (both letters and numbers). These numbers are submitted in the same format as the personal information on the biodata page (page 2).

How to find a passport number by name?

Your passport number is located on the second page, where you also find  personal data such as your name, sex, date of birth, place of birth and photo.

Difference between passport and travel document number- closing thoughts

Your passport number and travel document number can be the same depending on where you are from, and which travel documents you must have when visiting a particular country.

You may be required to apply for a specific travel document, such as a visa or a Green Card. In such a case, your passport number can differ from your travel document number. 

When you decide to travel abroad or within the U.S., check the official USCIS requirements and be sure that your trip will be successful!

Rate this post

Leave a Comment