The Law Dictionary

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PASSPORT Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

In international law. A document issued to a neutral merchant vessel, by her owu government, during the progress of a war, and to be carried on the voyage, containing a sufficient description of the vessel, master, voyage, and cargo to evidence her nationality and protect her against the cruisers of tlie belligerent powers. This paper is otherwise called a “pass,” “sea- pass,” “sea-letter,” “sea-brief.” A license or safe-conduct, issued during the progress of a war, authorizing a person to remove himself or his effects from the territory of one of the belligerent nations to another country, or to travel from country to country without arrest or detention on account of the war. In American law. A special instrument intended for the protection of American ves- sels against the Barbary powers, usually called a “Mediterranean pass.” Jac. Sea Laws, 69. In modern European law. A warrant of protection and authority to travel, granted to persons moving from place to place, by the competent officer. Brande.


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