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After reading this question few questions popped up in my head. I know what a stateless person is after I read this wikipedia page but I could not find how do stateless people travel? if stateless people have no nationality then logically they have no passport.. if they do not have passport how do stateless people travel?

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There are a few solutions detailed in the answers but generally speaking being stateless creates many problems, which is why there many rules in place (in national law and in treaties) to avoid it as much as possible. –  Annoyed Oct 6 '13 at 20:46
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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The UK Border Agency has a page describing just this, including how to apply for travel documents if one was stateless.

They note that:

A stateless persons' document issued to an adult will usually be valid for 10 years if you have permission to stay in the United Kingdom permanently (known as 'indefinite leave to remain'). If you have temporary permission to stay in the United Kingdom (known as 'limited leave to remain'), your stateless persons' document will usually be valid for the same period as your permission to stay here, up to a maximum of five years.

In addition they point out that if granted, a stateless persons' document is normally valid for travel to all countries.

Indeed, since 1954, you've been able to obtain a '1954 Convention Travel Document' which for all intents and purpose, acts as a travel document, like a passport. Indeed, it says 'travel document' on the front cover. This arose from the 1954 Convention on Stateless Persons.

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How does one apply for a visa then? Visa requirements are different depending where you come from, and rules would be hard to apply if there's no country which claims you as its citizen. –  mindcorrosive Aug 4 '12 at 8:55
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@mindcorrosive that's why laissez-passer holders are required to have visa to any country, see my answer. –  littleadv Aug 4 '12 at 9:13
    
@mindcorrosive - Presumably it's still up to individual companies to grant you visas, but given they're usually on a nationality basis in your passport, this still allows a stateless person to have a travel document. –  Mark Mayo Aug 4 '12 at 9:23
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Countries provide travel documents for citizens of other countries, or stateless persons. These documents are called "Laissez Passer" (French for "Let through").

Usually, Laissez-Passer holders are required for visas to any country.

Prominent examples:

Jews from many countries were forced to renounce local citizenships when they wanted to immigrate to Israel. Some of those countries (like Iraq in the Wikipedia example, or more recently - Soviet Union) provided Laissez-passer's to these Jews, valid for travel to Israel.

Israeli Arabs traveling to Saudi Arabia were (and may be still are) using Jordanian travel documents, because they cannot use their Israeli passports in the Saudi Arabia.

People working for international organizations (UN, Red Cross, etc) have travel documents issued by these organizations. Some refugees (stateless persons) have travel documents issued by international organizations as well.

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A laissez-passer can also (mostly?) be issued to people who are not stateless but for some reason have no passport to return to their country. In this case, as in your example, the point is that it's a document valid for one journey, indicating the willingness of the destination country to grant entry to the holder. This is distinct from the documents detailed in user102008's answer. –  Annoyed Oct 6 '13 at 20:43
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Many countries issue travel documents to people resident there who are either 1) stateless, or 2) unable to get a passport from their country of nationality. It is usually called "Certificate of Identity", "Alien's Passport", or "Re-entry Permit", depending on the country. This article talks about the many forms of such documents. It could be a 1954 Convention travel document, but a lot of countries are not signatories to the 1954 convention; they may still have such a document.

Such travel documents are in booklet form just like passports, with a biographical page and pages for visas and stamps. Not all countries accept such travel documents, but many do.

(Note that, if the stateless person is also a refugee, they can usually get a "Refugee travel document", which is technically a 1951 Convention travel document.)

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