What Is A Travel Document Number? All You Need To Know

Last Updated:

Traveling today, whether near home or abroad, requires travelers to carry government-issued travel documents of one sort or another.

Passports, visas, driver’s licenses, and picture identification cards, are among the most common of these documents.

But, unlike our social security numbers, or bank card pin numbers, most of us remain blissfully unaware of our travel document numbers and what they mean.

What Exactly Is A Travel Document Number?

Traveling requires, at the very least, individuals to carry an officially issued picture identification card from their national government. For example, in the United States, most people bring their state driver’s license with them everywhere they go (even out for a job). In other nations, a picture identification card normally suffices.

That said, traveling long-distance, through multiple countries or states, especially abroad, requires a bit more proof of identification than a trip to the local grocery store or visiting grandma who lives in the next town over.

Passports, Visas, and federal I.D. cards are probably the most common form of travel documents for travelers to own and possess while visiting foreign countries. Legally, we’re obligated to do so.

A travel document number, for each respective form of official identification, be it a passport, visa, or something else is the unique string of digits and characters that allow officials to verify your identity in state and federal databases.

These numbers are crucial in everything from gathering accurate tourist statistics to monitoring and controlling the safety of international borders. And, if you’re like most travelers, you probably have no idea of even the first three digits or characters of any one of your travel document numbers are (let alone know the whole numbers).

What Does Each Travel Document Number Mean?

Depending on where you reside, and where you are traveling for that matter, different travel documents are required. Each of the documents has its own unique travel document number.

Here’s a break down of the three most common travel document numbers:

1. Passport (or ID card) Document Numbers


A passport or ID card’s document number is found on the front of the card, or the same page as the person’s government-issued color picture. The number is registered with the local and federal government upon being issued to individuals. Passport and ID card numbers typically include a series of numbers and letters.

2. Visa Numbers

For traveling abroad, in many cases, a visa may be required. In this case, when issued to you, you’ll find this travel document’s unique number located on the bottom of the visa (typically on the right side). These often include 7 or more numbers and sometimes include a letter as well.

3. Green Card Numbers

Sometimes referred to as a “receipt number,” green card numbers tend to run as long as 13 digits. These documents, and their respective numbers, are relied on to identify individuals for immigration purposes. Most often you can find this number printed directly onto this residence card.


Your unique travel document numbers help officials such as border guards, immigration officers, and airport officials, to quickly and easily identify travelers for various purposes. These numbers are also needed for filling official paperwork with government offices.

While traveling abroad, it is highly suggested to carry photocopies of your respective travel documents with a clear shot of the actual travel document numbers. In the case of an emergency, or your documents or lost or stolen, having copies can save you a load of time, money, and stress.