At present, the passports issued by majority of countries in the world are generally divided into three types: diplomatic, service/official and regular ones. Some countries only issue one type(like UK); some countries only issue two of them (like India, Pakistan and so on); but there are also some countries which issue four or five types (like US, France and so on).
Diplomatic: Those who possess diplomatic status are issued a diplomatic type, like the diplomat, consul and official as well as the head of state, governmental officials, delegation members of the Congress or government, who are going abroad for national affairs or activities. According to the international convention, the spouse and the children of the above personnel generally are also issued the same type.
Service/Official: It is issued for government office-bearer of a country. Besides, all countries will issue this type to the staff who works for embassies or consulates abroad but have no diplomatic status, along with their spouse and the grown-up children.
Regular: It is issued to all other citizens (populace). For different reasons (line of duty or private affair) for going abroad, the regular one may also have different types in different countries.
As for content, all countries have similar requirements with each other. All contain the national emblem, the full country's name and the type imprinted on the cover, while the details for use of it are usually imprinted on the back cover; On the insider front cover are generally printed the words requesting that the correlated military or administrative departments of the target country for some necessary convenience and assistance to the person who carrying the passport.
Extensions for expired passports are allowed in all countries, so they contain special pages for extension and remarks. To facilitate countries to issue visas, many additional blank pages are included within it, each page imprinted with the word "VISA".
The texts printed on it are primarily in the native language of the issuer, but the same texts in English are also included by most countries.
Period of Validity
A passport is not a permanent credential but a document with a limited period of validity. It is the legal proof during the period of validity only, which is also known as effective; otherwise it is invalid and is without legal status.
Periods of validity issued by different countries is inconsistent and respectively is one, two, three and five-years, though the one issued in some countries may be valid for ten years.
Generally speaking, a period of validity in excess of six months is required by countries for visa issue. If the period of validity is insufficient less than six months, you will have to go to apply for extension or renewal. Only then can you go to embassies and consulates to apply for a visa.
The effective area is one of important contents. In some countries it imprinted the words like "this passport is effective toward XX (country name)" or "citizen who holds it is not allowed to go to X X (country name) and XX (area name)".
Make it well-kept
Before you apply for the visa to your destination country, you had better keep your prepared passport well in a safe place at home. Do not always carry it with you. After obtaining a visa, it is active for that country and holds a high value. Some international criminal groups and pickpockets specialize in stealing passport and consider it more valuable than currency. They will trade it for money, or perform some other illegal activities using it as a shield. Therefore, you must keep yours safe under lock and key, especially after you pass through the customs inspection and go on the oversea trip, be vigilant at all times. Now you should carry yours along with you all the times. Do not put it into your outside pockets or bag then after a while another. It is much safer to put it into an inside pocket, which allows ready access for any eventuality you may encounter where it is required.
What to do if it is lost
If you lose it before you go abroad, you should immediately report the case to the security authorities and relevant issuing office in your country, provide a detailed statement of the time and the place of its loss and state the basic information (name, gender, date of birth, number and so on), Necessarily, you may have to go to your local newspaper to report the loss (your name and number should be published plainly).
If it is lost abroad, you should rapidly report the case to the local public security organs and complete the detailed and essential registration procedure, simultaneously you should go to your countries nearest embassy or consulate as soon as possible to complete the registration procedure of the loss report, and then apply for a reissue.
In order to prevent the loss, TCG suggests that you'd better write the number on a jotter beforehand, or photocopy the whole content on its first page then make it well preserved. All these preparations may offer you some convenient clues or good help should you lose it.
After you get a new one, firstly you should carefully inspect it. If there are some questionable points or errors, you should immediately ask the related staff for the application of correction. If no questions or mistakes are discovered after your inspection, you can well bring it back and keep it well.
This is just the first step of the procedure for going abroad. Another necessary thing is that you should carry your passport and the correlated credential materials to go to the embassies or consulates of your target country stationed in your own country for the visa application. When you obtain the visa, you should have an "International Prophylactic Inoculation Certificate". After purchasing the air ticket to your target country and doing some pre-trip preparatory work, you can proceed with your journey abroad.
A passport with two opposing blank visa pages and validity of at least six-month is required from the day when you submit the visa application is required before you visit China.
If I live in Guangdong Province, China, and have a z visa to work in China, can I go to the embassy in Hong Kong to apply for the renewal of my South African passport? Hong Kong is a lot closer to me than Shanghai or Beijing.