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In the later part of the nineteenth century and up to World War I, passports were not required, on the whole, for travel within Europe, and crossing a border was a relatively straightforward procedure.
Consequently, comparatively few people held passports. During World War I, European governments introduced border passport requirements for security reasons, and to control the emigration of people with useful skills.
Standard passports may contain information such as the holder's name, place and date of birth, photograph, signature, and other identifying information.
Many countries are moving towards including biometric information in a microchip embedded in the passport, making them machine-readable and difficult to counterfeit.
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.ICAO standards include those for machine-readable passports.Such passports have an area where some of the information otherwise written in textual form is written as strings of alphanumeric characters, printed in a manner suitable for optical character recognition.The speed of trains, as well as the number of passengers that crossed multiple borders, made enforcement of passport laws difficult.The general reaction was the relaxation of passport requirements.