Just when you have your Social Security number memorized, you start getting asked for other long lines of digits and characters that have been assigned to you, like your passport number. You'll need it to fill in those airline forms when you are arriving at your destination or returning home. You'll need it for hotels and motels abroad. So where are you supposed to find it?

Passport Identification Number

Passports contain a variety of identification features designed to make sure that the person using the passport is actually the person who is identified in the documents. Passport security features are critical since a passport is considered a top-notch identification document for establishing who you are, your birth date and your citizenship.

Obviously, your passport has your name, sex, date of birth and place of birth on the second page, as well as that carefully regulated passport photograph. On that same page, in the upper right corner, you'll find the passport number. You can also call that list of digits your passport identification number. If you are asked for your passport identification number and you have your passport, it's easy enough to locate.

Significance of Numbers

U.S. passport numbers must be between six and nine characters, including letters and numbers. Whether or not the line of characters indicates anything is not directly relevant to helping you find or remember your passport number. But it is interesting to learn that the characters do provide information.

The first two numbers indicate which passport office issued your passport. The passport identification number may also tell where you applied for the passport. For example, if you got your passport from the Washington Passport Agency, the number will begin with “01.” You got it in New Hampshire? The first two digits will be a “15”, “20” or “21.” Did you get a free passport as a military dependent? Look for it to start with the number “60,” while diplomatic passports always start with “90.” A temporary passport or emergency passport valid only for one year, begins with the letter "Z" or the number "70."

Yes, that means that even if you have memorized your passport number today, you'll get a new number once your passport expires. And you'll have to start memorizing all over again.

Lost Passport

If you lost your passport, you obviously might have issues about looking on page two. A missing passport doesn't necessarily mean a missing passport number if you're a savvy traveler and made photocopies of the passport pages. If not, you'll need to ask the State Department to send it to you. You should also report it as lost or stolen immediately. When it is replaced, the new passport will have a new number.

To get a passport number, mail a notarized request for a copy of your passport record. Be sure you include your full name, your date and place of birth, your current mailing address and contact information, an explanation for the request, the estimated date your passport was issued and a copy of your valid photo identification. The search for your passport record is free with your notarized request.

Mail the request to: Department of State Passport Services, Research and Liaison Section Room 500, 1111 19th Street N.W., Washington, DC/ 20524-1705.