I stumbled across this in Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools book, and thought I’d pass it along.  If you travel internationally, you’re likely aware that it’s a good idea to carry your passport with you when out and about.  Personally, I don’t like doing that out of fear that I might lose my passport.  Instead of bringing the real thing with you, make a proxy with a color copier and laminator.

Create a passport proxy - Cool Tools

Here are the instructions from the original post on Kevin’s site:

Make a good color copy of your passport, including the covers. Align the inside sheet of your passport data with the outside passport cover sheet. Glue together. Laminate. Score and fold. You now have a fairly official looking travel document.

I have found that for most purposes — changing money at a bank, rentals, hotel front desks, and even police — this passport clone is sufficient. You hide or store your real one and use this one for everything else except crossing borders. I don’t know why, but most people seem happy to accept it. It may be because it seems like some new futuristic version 2.0 passport and who are they to question it?

I’ll be making mine soon!

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6 Comments on International travelers: Use a passport proxy

  1. A. Tasso says:

    I use a black & white copy of my passport for carrying around town. I don’t use it for super official stuff, but for things like getting hassled by police or when the MTN store requires a passport, it’ll do. I use a black & white copy rather than a color copy just so we’re all on the same page that I’m not trying to pass off a fake/copy passport as the original.


  2. Adriano says:

    Beware: Colour copies of official documents are forbidden in some countries…


  3. Lisa says:

    I’ve been doing this for years… but I don’t think that there is a need to replicate a passport book. I only copy and laminate the single photo page and use this as my main ID when traveling. I used it to exchange money at banks, when checking in at hotels, and when hiring scooters. Even in Vietnam where hotels are supposed to hold your passport overnight. I can’t think of a time when it had ever been refused. Caveat: my travels have been limited to SE Asia so far.


    Kevin Reply:

    Thanks, Lisa. Great comment!


  4. boydboy says:

    Agreed with other posters that I would be cautious about trying to make it look like an actual passport. That is a recipe for disaster if anyone thinks you are trying to pass it off as such. I lived overseas as an expat for several years and that is strictly enforced. If you laminate a color copy like that make sure to tell whoever you hand it to that it is a copy.


  5. JAG says:

    I always make a color copy of my passport photo page for use around town. Check with the country to which you are traveling, but it is sufficient legal identification in most countries.

    It should be noted that you may also need a copy of the page on which Customs placed an entry stamp. That provides proof that you entered the country legally.

    FWIW, I usually email myself a scan of my passport, as well.


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