Details and data you need to know about your passport before you travel

Take a good look at a U.S. passport, and it’s easy to see that it comprises many different components. You'll see blank pages waiting to be filled with stamps from future travels, and, flipping to the second page, you’ll see that it contains a place for a photo of the passport holder, multiple seals and security emblems, and then – a nine-digit number in the corner. This is the passport book number, or, as it’s also known, the passport number. What is that number, and does it ever change? Let’s explore these questions.

Look to the right

It’s easy to get distracted when flipping through a passport, but with a little bit of focus, finding the passport book number isn’t too hard. First, stop looking at the gorgeous person in the picture on the left, and look to the right. In the upper right-hand corner, there’s a nine-digit number, which is your passport number. It is below a black label at the top of the page that reads, “Passport No./No. Du Passeport.”

Passport numbers are unique

Those nine digits distinguish this individual passport from all others. The numbers don't work like a Social Security number, though, which is also a unique number. Instead, each passport book number is unique to that specific book. Every time a passport a issued, a new number is associated with it. This number will tell the story of the passport, including the years in which it was valid and where in the country it was issued. Because of this, every time you have to renew your passport, the new passport will have a new number.

You're not likely to have an occasion when you need to know your passport number, but it's good to commit it to memory in case it goes missing.