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In order to develop a website where personal height is crucial information, I'd like to know if it is a common feature for every passport to have personal height written in the personal data section.

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    Personal height is a changing value. First you grow for about 20 years, then a while later you start schrinking, which happens at a really unpredictable rate. Not stable for crucial information. – Willeke Sep 22 '20 at 14:50
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    If it is on passport, there is not guarantee that it is accurate. They just ask you to fill a form. So it is the same as asking a person to give the correct measure. – Giacomo Catenazzi Sep 22 '20 at 15:27
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    What is the height of a person in a wheelchair? – shoover Sep 23 '20 at 1:38
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    This feels like an XY-problem. Why don't you just ask the user to fill in the correct height? And if this is relevant for e.g. tournaments so that the athletes can be grouped in a certain way, this is a legal problem: Providing false information is fraud, and you make people comply by randomly measuring their height when they show up for a competition. There is basically zero reason I can see in any scenario why you'd want to read the height from a passport or ID card. – Polygnome Sep 23 '20 at 7:47
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    @IginoBoffa The height in my passport is the height I was at 16, when I got my first ID (and that was something just filled in a form, without measuring). There were still quite a few centimetres of growth left in me afterwards, but whenever I apply for a passport or renew my ID, they just copy the old number. And at least in Germany everyone has to get their first ID at 16, so it doesn't matter if their height is stable at 18, because that is not the number you will find documented there. – mlk Sep 23 '20 at 8:44
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No, height is not guaranteed to be present.

British passports (I'm sure there are other countries too, but one counterexample seems to be enough for your purposes) do not contain the holder's height. See this sample (found on wikipedia) for an example.

example of a British passport page

That only shows one page, but I am a British passport holder and can confirm first hand that my height does not appear anywhere in my passport. That information wasn't even requested when I last renewed it (about two years ago).

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  • I was pretty sure all EU passport had it. Did passport change after Brexit referendum? – Igino Boffa Sep 22 '20 at 14:52
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    No. Well, they changed the cover (removed the "European Union" text and made it blue), but nothing relevant to your question. See this document introducing the new design in November 2015 (the referendum wasn't held until June 2016). I'm fairly certain there was no height on the previous design either. – Chris H Sep 22 '20 at 14:58
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    @IginoBoffa a quick browse of Prado shows that Cyprus, Malta, and Bulgaria do not include the height, out of maybe five countries I checked. People tend to overestimate the degree to which the EU dictates passport format (among other things). The format is dictated by ICAO, which obviously includes height among the optional data points. I don't think the EU requires anything on the data page that is optional in the ICAO standard. – phoog Sep 22 '20 at 15:51
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    @IginoBoffa Belgian passports also don't have it an never had as far as I am aware (and I'm not that young anymore). So it is also not a thing about newer EU member states that are in some kind of long transition period. – Some wandering yeti Sep 22 '20 at 20:38
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    Could've sworn Angela was born in 1973 – mcalex Sep 24 '20 at 6:40
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I have two passports, Australian and USA - neither has my height. My USA driving license did have my height, but my Australian doesn't - come to think of it, I don't think there's any government department in Australia that would have any clue how tall I am, and they definitely don't put it on any ID that they've given me!

Heights can change a lot- even for adults, even during the day. It's one reason why it's often not bothered with as a data point. I saw you're developing some kind of site for athletes, so there may be some consideration for collecting the height of those who sign up, but if you were thinking of having them upload a scan of their passport to parse the information, I'm not sure anyone would want to do that... This is the travel StackExchange site, so certainly in the context of travel, I wouldn't recommend anyone upload scans of their passports to anyone other than for the purposes of obtaining travel visas, or directly related to travel (such as potentially for hotels, airlines, etc.) - even then you should be picky about who you let have it.

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    +1 for the caution about expecting people to willingly give up scanned images of their passport for any sort of non-travel related purpose. – FreeMan Sep 23 '20 at 16:08
  • @FreeMan or any purpose. A passport is for examination and processing in the original through the appropriate authorities, only, and not to be scanned, copied, faxed, etc., except where a specific legal provision requires it. – I'm with Monica Sep 24 '20 at 7:47
  • @I'mwithMonica It's a good principle to stick to, in principle, however in many countries it is extremely common practice for passports to be copied upon checkin at hotels and the like - some have even asked for this at booking time, before arrival. I've even stayed in places where you must check in with the local police when you arrive, surrender your passport, and be issued with a local document! Such places are not for the faint of heart. – James D Sep 24 '20 at 22:25
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I would venture that this is a disappearing information.

I remember that it was common on some European passports (in the 80's, 90's), now it is going away (gone for some).

I believe this is the same information as with eye color - one extra bit of identification when there was no biometrics and the border officer had to do their best to match the person in front of them to the tiny bits of information in the document.

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    "no biometrics": and no color in the photograph. – phoog Sep 23 '20 at 7:22
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    And that was even more so in older times, when not even photographs were available. I've seem copies of some early 19th century passports, where there was a textual and very detailed description how the holder looked like, including body shape, facial features, etc. – vsz Sep 25 '20 at 6:17

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