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In the medieval Islamic Caliphate, a form of passport was the bara'a, a receipt for taxes paid.
Only people who paid their zakah (for Muslims) or jizya (for dhimmis) taxes were permitted to travel to different regions of the Caliphate; thus, the bara'a receipt was a "traveler's basic passport." In medieval Europe, such documents were issued to travelers by local authorities, and generally contained a list of towns and cities the document holder was permitted to enter or pass through.
On the whole, documents were not required for travel to sea ports, which were considered open trading points, but documents were required to travel inland from sea ports.
King Henry V of England is credited with having invented what some consider the first true passport, as a means of helping his subjects prove who they were in foreign lands.
The earliest reference to these documents is found in a 1414 Act of Parliament.
In 1540, granting travel documents in England became a role of the Privy Council of England, and it was around this time that the term "passport" was used.
The passport's critical information is stored on a tiny RFID computer chip, much like information stored on smartcards.
A passport holder is normally entitled to enter the country that issued the passport, though some people entitled to a passport may not be full citizens with right of abode.Where a country does not recognise another, or is in dispute with it, it may prohibit the use of their passport for travel to that other country, or may prohibit entry to holders of that other country's passports, and sometimes to others who have, for example, visited the other country.