The 6 Best Passport Holders of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Protect your precious personal details with these handy picks

travel holder for documents

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TripSavvy / Rachel Thalhuber

A passport holder is an essential item for the organized, put-together traveler. It offers a convenient way to protect your most important identity document, while also adding style points and an opportunity for personalization. These days, passport holders are typically much more than a simple protective sleeve. They often incorporate other features such as storage for other essentials, including your bank cards and boarding pass, as well as RFID-blocking technology to minimize the risk of identity theft. 

From smart leather splurges and crossbody solutions to budget-friendly purchases, the TripSavvy team put 15 popular passport holders (most of them wallet-style) to the test. Over the course of at least two weeks, we evaluated and scored each one for capacity, ease of use, quality, and value based on their performance in real-life travel scenarios.

Final Verdict

How we tested, other passport holders we tested.

  • What to Look For

Why Trust TripSavvy

Best overall, baphity genuine leather passport holder.

  • Capacity 5 /5
  • Ease of Use 5 /5
  • Quality 5 /5

Great value

Low bulk design

Ideal capacity

Leather needs some breaking in

Scoring perfect fives across our testing board, the Baphity Genuine Leather Passport Holder impressed us with its sturdy construction and high-quality materials. Made of 100 percent bovine leather with a smart, pebbled finish, we felt it could easily pass as a much more expensive product from a top-tier travel brand. It offers excellent value for money (and in fact, we decided after testing that we would happily pay quite a bit more for it). An RFID-blocking lining is included for your peace of mind.

Other features include slots for your air ticket, two SIM card pockets, and slots for three regular bank cards. The wallet also has a clear 4-inch by 3-inch slot perfect for immunization or medical cards that you need to keep visible. We found all slots very secure (so much so that it was a little tricky getting cards in and out until the leather had been broken in) and felt that the wallet offers the perfect amount of space. We loved its small size and slim profile. Choose yours with or without a zipper in a range of colors from pine green to wine red. 

Size: 0.6 x 4.9 x 6.2 inches | RFID-blocking: Yes | Weight: 5.3 ounces

TripSavvy / Elise Wang

Best Budget

Tigari passport and vaccine card holder.

Fuss-free and attractive

Tough material

Great for note taking in transit

Relatively large 

Crafted from weather-resistant PU leather with a magnetic snap closure, the Tigari Passport Holder felt and looked much nicer than we expected given its budget price. We liked the simplicity of its design, with a slip-in section that held our passport securely and a clear window perfect for displaying an immunization or ID card. The wallet also features four bank or business card slots, a larger section for travel documents or cash, and two SIM card slots. We found we could fit all of our essentials with space to spare. 

One of our favorite features was the included pen, perfect for filling in immigration documents on the go. This does add to the overall size and bulk of the holder, though, which means we’d be unlikely to use it as our everyday wallet (we found it difficult to fit into a small backpack compartment). Nevertheless, it’s perfect for travel especially because it uses RFID-blocking materials that protect your personal information from potential cyber theft. There is a diverse color selection, including rose gold, teal, matcha green, and more.

Size: 0.7 x 4.6 x 5.7 inches | RFID-blocking: Yes | Weight: 2.4 ounces

TripSavvy / Andria Park Huynh

Best Splurge

Lucrin geneva passport travel wallet.

Gorgeous, high-quality aesthetic

Can accommodate a phone or Kindle

Customization options

On the larger side if you’re looking for something compact

Available in five styles of genuine leather from granulated to crocodile-style calfskin (the cheapest of which is more than 13 times the price of our overall winner), the Lucrin Passport Travel Wallet is certainly a luxury item for wealthy travelers that have literally everything else or a high-end gift. However, after testing, we can confirm that the quality is extremely high, with a buttery feel, perfect stitching, and a sturdiness that suggests this is a one-time investment that will last many years. The wallet comes in a rainbow of colors from lavender to tan or turquoise, and for an additional fee you can have yours monogrammed, change the thread color, or add RFID blocking. 

More than a passport holder, it’s really a slim, elongated wallet with space for all your essentials. It has 13 credit card pockets, three loyalty card pockets, slots for your passport and boarding pass, and a zippered pocket for cash. We loved the all-in-one nature of this holder, which we found could even fit a phone or slimline Kindle. You could use it on its own or fit it into a medium-to-large purse or backpack. Despite its large size, we didn’t find it cumbersome on any of the four flights we took it on. The organization is intuitive and we appreciated the sense of security offered by the zippered section and button latch. 

Size: 9.8 x 9.1 inches | RFID-blocking: Optional | Weight: Not listed

TripSavvy / Anna Popp

Melsbrinna Waterproof RFID-blocking Travel Wallet

Excellent value

Huge choice of colorways

Compact yet spacious

Nothing yet! 

We were pleasantly surprised by the sturdy build and quality feel of the Melsbrinna Waterproof Travel Wallet, despite it being made of faux leather. We felt it was worth considerably more than its budget price, making this a stylish steal. It scores extra points for aesthetics by coming in almost every color imaginable from burgundy to mint green, as well several prints including panda and blossom. The holder is secured by a magnetic snap button closure and features RFID-blocking technology. 

Storage includes a passport sleeve, which held our passport securely, but still allowed us to remove and replace it easily at airport security. The wallet also has four bank card slots; two SIM card slots; a larger section for holding boarding cards or cash; and a page-style, dual-sided clear plastic slot perfect for your driving license or state ID. We loved this product’s small size (we easily fit it in a fanny pack). We also loved that, despite its diminutive nature, we were able to fit everything we needed even when using it as our everyday wallet for three weeks.

Size: 0.7 x 4.7 x 5.7 inches | RFID-blocking: Yes | Weight: 3 ounces

TripSavvy / Madison Irons

Best Crossbody

Pacsafe rfidsafe v150 rfid-blocking compact organizer.

Eco-friendly sourcing

Anti-theft features

Functional interior design

Relatively expensive

The crossbody Pacsafe RFIDsafe V150 Compact Organizer scores sustainability points by using post-consumer recycled polyester (equivalent to five plastic bottles). The water-repellent, hard-wearing fabric and quality finishes, such as smooth zippers, makes the organizer well worth its higher price tag. The material is also RFID-blocking for added peace of mind, while the detachable strap is reinforced with Dyneema for cut-resistant durability. 

We loved having a shoulder strap because it kept the organizer accessible during our tests and minimized the chances of accidentally leaving it behind in the airport terminal. Inside, it offers a secure mesh passport holder, six card slots, a slip pocket for your boarding pass, a pen loop, and a key attachment point. There’s even a zippered section for your coins or bills. We were able to fit all our travel essentials and liked that the organizer is capacious enough to use as a standalone bag, but also compact enough to fit inside a larger carry-on. It comes in one color: black. 

Size: 0.8 x 4.9 x 6.7 inches | RFID-blocking: Yes | Weight: 4.8 ounces

Best for Families

Valante travel document organizer.

  • Ease of Use 4.5 /5

21 pockets and slots 

Rugged, practical fabric

Multiple ways to carry

Only one color choice

If you have a large family and they all give their passports to you to look after en route to your destination, the Valante RFID Passport Holder Wallet could be your new best friend. It’s made from RFID-blocking, water-resistant Oxford fabric and it’s large enough to accommodate up to six passports. In addition to six passport sleeves, the book-style wallet offers two slip pockets for boarding passes or bills, two dedicated SIM and memory card pockets, and two large zippered pockets perfect for coins. 

There’s also a zippered phone pocket and two letter-size document pouches on the exterior for quick-access essentials. We found that we had ample space for everything we wanted to take with us. The extra room is nice to have; however we did feel that the wallet runs the risk of being too large for smaller families. We loved that it has removable wrist and crossbody straps, and the sturdy, stylishly pale gray fabric is appealing. Your purchase is protected by a one-year warranty and a 60-day money back guarantee. 

Size: 1.2 x 5.9 x 10.6 inches | RFID-blocking: Yes | Weight: 9.1 ounces

TripSavvy / Michael Navarro

We love the Baphity Genuine Leather Passport Holder for its quality construction, gorgeous colors, slim build, and clever organization features, all of which are offered at a very reasonable price point. For a truly budget option, go for the chic, conveniently designed Tigari Passport Holder . 

For this round-up, we tested 15 passport holders and scored each one on a scale of one to five for capacity, ease of use, quality, and value. We then used overall scores to select our category winners. Scores were based on the real-world experiences of our team of travel experts, who traveled with or used the holder as their everyday wallet at least three times over a period of two weeks. We evaluated how well our passports fit into each holder, their capacity for other essentials, the quality of materials, and any notable design features. 

Away Passport Holder : Beautiful, simplistic, and compact, this passport holder performed well for our tester. We felt a bit nervous that the card slot/cash area didn't feature a true closure and the price was somewhat elevated.

Fjallraven Kanken Travel Wallet : This wallet stood up well to an exploded lipstick and was very roomy, easily holding everything we needed with space to spare. A wrist strap would increase utility as the size is slightly too large for everyday use.

Royce Vaccine Card and Passport Wallet : Unsurprisingly stiff at first, the premium leather construction of this wallet was a highlight. The vaccine card section may be a bit dated and could be substituted for additional card slots.

Leatherology Zip Around Travel Wallet : There's not much to dislike about this travel wallet. It's spacious, well-organized, and attractive. It's a bit on the long side, making it ideal for fitting documents and tickets, and requires an upfront investment.

What to Look For in a Passport Holder

Intended use.

Passport holders fall into two main subcategories: simple protective sleeves that act as a weather- and spill-resistant cover for your passport only, and wallet-style holders that typically provide space for other essentials as well. Which is the better choice depends on your personal preference. If you already have a trusted carry-on, purse, or backpack to conveniently store the rest of your travel necessities and purely want to keep your passport in tip-top condition, a protective sleeve may be all you require. However, a wallet-style holder lets you keep everything in one place and may allow you to streamline your packing so much that you can use it as your primary personal item or carry-on.

Passport holders come in a variety of fabrics: most usually leather, faux leather, or polyester. Whichever you choose, look for quality materials built for long-lasting durability with reinforced seams and straps (if applicable). Leather is often perceived as the sturdiest and most stylish option, but can be expensive. There are good plastic-based, faux leather options out there that offer the same aesthetic for a fraction of the price while also scoring better in terms of sustainability and animal ethics (depending on their construction). RFID-blocking lining is a bonus for anyone concerned about cyber identity theft.

Passport holders keep precious documents protected and secure while traveling. However, be prepared to remove the passport from its case or cover when presenting it to customs officials.

Many passport holders do more than hold a single document. They contain extra slots and pockets for credit cards, IDs, cash, credit cards, and/or vaccination documents. You may find better peace of mind knowing that all your important documents are stored in the same place.

Many passport holders help store the document discretely and away from  pickpockets’ sticky fingers . If you’re opting for a passport cover instead of a holder, plan to keep your passport in a difficult location for thieves to access. For example, if you carry it in your purse or a backpack, zip it into an internal pocket. Don’t carry it loosely or in an external bag pocket.

You should also keep backup copies of your passport’s identification pages. You can do this by taking pictures of the pages with your smartphone or photocopying hard copies. If you keep a hard copy, store these documents separately from your passport. Don’t keep them with the original in your passport holder.

Jessica Macdonald is TripSavvy’s Africa travel expert and Commerce Updates Editor. She has traveled to more than 50 countries across six continents and hasn’t yet lost or damaged her passport! The products included in this article were verified for quality and performance during extensive, real-world tests carried out by TripSavvy’s team of travel experts.

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The 16 Best Travel Wallets to Stash Your Passport and More

Your next trip is bound to be your most stylish (and secure) one yet with these options to stash your passport, boarding pass, and much more.

travel holder for documents

In This Article

  • Our Top Picks
  • Tips for Buying

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why Trust T + L

Travel + Leisure / Jessica Juliao

The last thing you want to worry about while jet setting is juggling your wallet, passport, and boarding pass as you make your way through security checkpoints. Travel wallets offer a sleek and simple way to streamline your belongings and stay organized while on the go, as they’re typically large enough to fit your passport and other essentials including train tickets, boarding passes, cell phones, and credit cards. 

We’ve researched dozens of travel wallets from top brands, and tested many of them on our own travel days to provide real-world insights. We considered capacity, ease of use, durability, and overall value in order to narrow down the best options for every type of traveler.

Best Overall

Leatherology zip around travel wallet.

This ultra-functional pick fully zips up so your items stay secure.

If you carry a small purse or bag, this may be too large to fit inside.

Leatherology’s Zip Around Travel Wallet checks all our boxes: it’s crafted from luxuriously soft leather, features a secure zip-around closure to protect your travel documents, and has a roomy interior that can easily hold two passports as well as your boarding pass, foreign currency, and credit cards or hotel keys. We were able to easily store one passport, paper and coin currencies, five cards, and a boarding pass inside, with ample room to add a pen, train tickets, and several more cards. 

With so many important documents stored in one place, a secure closure is of paramount importance: we found that the rugged zipper is durable and easy to maneuver, offering much-needed peace of mind.  

Other features we love are the exterior pocket, where you can tuck a boarding pass for easy retrieval, plus two large pockets for separating various currencies or multiple passports — making this a great choice for whoever the designated passport-holder may be. While its large size may be difficult to fit in a small purse, it means it can fit international currencies of different sizes — a benefit that we found quickly outweighed the cons. We also love the zippered pocket for coins and the see-through window for an ID. 

The Details: Full grain leather | 9 x 1 x 4.75 inches

Travel + Leisure / Morgan Ashley Parker

Best Organization

Smythson marshall travel wallet in panama.

This sleek, stylish wallet is made of durable crossgrain leather with three labeled compartments. 

The lightweight, flexible leather will last for the long run — but note that it’s priced accordingly.

Navigating airports and busy train stations can be stressful enough as is — keeping track of your essential documents shouldn’t be another worry on your list. This elegant wallet will help you stay organized in style. While it comes at a steep price, it’s backed by the trusted reputation of Smythson, a British luxury leather goods brand that’s repeatedly proven the staying power of its pieces over the past 130 years. 

Crafted from lightweight calfskin crossgrain leather, it’s both flexible and durable, promising to safely store your belongings through years of travel. A zip compartment allows you to separate out coins and bills, while a boarding pass slot and a roomy pocket with three labeled compartments offers space to tuck your tickets, passport, and more. The flap closure, while stylish, is slightly less secure than a zipper, although the snap hardware is quite durable. Choose from six shades like classic black or navy, or a cheery peony pink. 

The Details: Crossgrain calf leather | 9.5 x 5 inches

Best AirTag Compatible

Normest airtag travel wallet.

This super-slim wallet manages to fit several credit cards and your passport — and it ensures you’ll never lose any of them thanks to a slot for an AirTag. 

Normest claims the wallet holds up to 12 cards, but if you pack too many in, they tend to slide out. 

Anyone who’s prone to misplacing their belongings — or just appreciates the peace of mind of knowing where they are at all times — will love the Normest Airtag Travel Wallet. It’s compatible with Apple AirTags, which enable you to use your phone to track down your belongings. An AirTag holder is a huge bonus feature and we loved that this one was easy to use. 

The RFID-blocking leather wallet is ultra slim and lightweight (just 1.9 ounces), but can hold up to 12 cards in its three credit card slots, and there’s a vertical slip pocket for currency or a vaccine card, plus a pocket for easy access to your passport. Note that you won’t want to overstuff the wallet with cards, as you might stretch the pockets and in turn find that cards fall out more easily. We found that our cards and passport fit snugly inside, but not so tightly that they were difficult to remove. We were even able to fit two passports inside, although the clip was then harder to close (but still possible). 

The Details: Leather | 5.5 x 0.4 x 4 inches

Travel + Leisure / Dylan Thompson

Best for Phone

Bandolier mila magsafe charging crossbody.

Beyond its convenient hands-free crossbody design, this case also wirelessly charges your phone.

It’s only compatible with iPhones.

We wish this case was compatible with every type of smartphone, because it’s a true game changer. Made of luxe pebbled leather, it’s a travel wallet with a drop-proof case for your iPhone included (but you’ll likely still want to invest in a glass screen protector to keep your tech safe). The attached card portion has two slots, each of which can accommodate 3-4 cards, and it doubles as a phone stand when flipped open. The phone case itself is MagSafe-compatible which is a huge bonus while traveling so you don’t need to remove the phone from this wallet case for charging. 

It’s extremely chic and hangs securely from a detachable crossbody strap that’s extendable from 48-54 inches, so you can adjust it to whatever length suits you best. Choose from a black case with gold, pewter, or silver accents to suit your personal style.

The Details: Pebble leather | iPhone 12 to 15 Pro Max

Best Continental

Tumi voyageur zip-around continental wallet.

The zip-around closure offers maximum security for your belongings, plus the long external pocket is great for easy boarding pass access.

It’s not quite big enough to fit a passport.

Tumi is one of the most trusted brands in long-lasting luggage and travel accessories, and this continental wallet is a perfect example of why. Outfitted with a sturdy zip-around closure, it offers the highest protection for your valuables, ensuring nothing falls out even when tossed around in your bag. We love that there’s a front zip pocket as well as a back slip pocket, allowing you to quickly access your essentials without ever even opening your wallet. Inside the accordion-style wallet, there are ample compartments for your belongings, with 12 card slots, two slip pockets and three gusseted sections. It also features a two-year warranty for added peace of mind.  

Price at time of publish: $225

The Details: Leather | 2.56 x 0.59 x 3.74 inches

Best Wristlet

Athleta coffee run clutch.

It’s super sleek and the material is easy to clean. 

It’s larger than it looks in the photos.

This slim wristlet lays flat when empty, but can fit just about everything you need for a day on the go. At 8 inches long, it’s large enough to accommodate your phone, earbuds, credit cards, car keys, and passport — and, even if it looks a little bulky when all packed up, it still feels secure on your wrist. The strap and carabiner which attaches it are sturdy enough to be tossed around a fair amount, and the recycled nylon that makes up the wallet itself is durable and water-resistant. The main zippered pocket is a safe space for your phone and cash, while the front snap-closure pocket fits a passport. The interior credit card slots are also RFID protected. 

The Details: Recycled nylon | 8 x 0.5 x 4.5 inches

Best Designer

Bottega veneta passport case.

The contrast lining offers a bold and unexpected surprise that’s sure to impress.

There’s no zippered pocket or snap closure, so you won’t be able to carry coins. 

This bifold wallet is so buttery soft that you’ll find yourself constantly reaching into your pocket — not to check if it’s there, but just to enjoy the feel of it. It’s understated yet classic, with Bottega Veneta’s instantly-recognizable Intrecciato (interwoven) calfskin leather. While it’s available in three neutral shades, we love that the smooth leather lining comes in a contrasting color, creating a delightfully unexpected interplay when you open the black case to reveal the brand’s iconic bright green interior. Minimalists will appreciate the subtlety of the design, which features five card slots and two large pockets to tuck away your passport and other documents. While this is perhaps the most stylish pick on this list, it isn’t the most secure — there’s no closure, so you’ll want to take good care to keep it safe. 

The Details: Intrecciato calfskin leather | 3.7 x 5.2 inches

Best Water-resistant

Monos metro folio kit.

This beautifully designed kit can accommodate an eReader as well as your passport and travel essentials. 

It’s fairly bulky to use as an everyday wallet. 

We’ll come right out and say it: we’re obsessed with the Monos Metro Folio Kit. While it feels a bit large to tote around on its own, it’s built with a QuickSnap attachment, so that it can be easily attached to the brand’s Metro Backpack or Metro Duffel for convenient carrying. Inside, it's got a spot for everything you could possibly need. One side features 7 elastic loops, which can be used to secure anything from pens and charging cords to lip balms and earbud cases. The other side boasts a zippered pocket for coins, a key ring, 4 card slots, a small pocket for an SD card, plus two larger pockets for currency, your passport, or an eReader. It’s made from a gorgeous and highly water-resistant vegan leather — just note that it’s not fully waterproof. There are 9 colors to choose from, with classics like black and ivory or a more playful purple. 

The Details: Vegan leather | 9 x 7 x 1.5 inches

Dagne Dover Accordion Travel Wallet

Even when full, this little wallet never feels bulky. 

You may want to treat your leather before use in order to protect it and extend its lifespan. 

At just 0.2 pounds, this pocket-sized wallet is ideal for minimalists who are looking for a place to stash their passport without all the bells and whistles of some larger models. The luxurious crafted pebble leather is designed to last a lifetime, particularly if you treat it with a waterproofing product first. We appreciate the nod towards sustainability too, as the lining is made of 55 percent recycled Repreve, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. Inside, there are two larger pockets for your passport and currency, plus six card slots (and one more external card slot). The magnetic closure is powerful, but may not offer enough peace of mind for more anxious travelers. 

The Details: Pebble leather, recycled plastic | 6.75 x 0.5 x 4.25 inches 

Best Money Belt

Raytix rfid money belt.

It’s made of a moisture-wicking fabric that helps avoid sweat build-up when worn around your waist.

It isn’t completely invisible beneath tighter clothes, especially if packed to capacity.  

At just 1.13 ounces, this is an ultra-lightweight and reliable money belt option you can wear all day long without fuss. It features two zippered pockets in the front, which are spacious enough to hold your passport, IDs, cards, and currency, plus other travel essentials like train tickets and boarding passes. There’s also a back open mesh pocket and two small inner mesh pouches, which allow you to separate out currency to stay organized on the go. The product also comes with a large packing pad and pen, which we found superfluous as the pad doesn’t fit inside the pouch. 

Made from a hardy nylon ripstop fabric, this feels sturdy enough to perform well over time. The moisture-wicking, breathable back panel keeps you cool and doesn’t trap sweat, plus the built-in belt is made from flexible elastic that is designed for a 27- to 41-inch waist, but can stretch to accommodate a bit more. We found the waist clip easy to adjust and very secure, which is a major factor in choosing a reliable money belt. It also felt soft against our skin throughout the day thanks to the padded mesh backing. If you’re worried about it being seen through your clothes, opt for looser garments or only toss in the essentials. 

The Details: Nylon ripstop | 11.5 x 5.5 inches 

Travel + Leisure / Jessica Juliao

Best Armband

Flexx id wrist wallet.

It offers quick and easy access to your belongings, while keeping them securely on your person. 

It isn’t machine washable, so you’ll have to spot treat it with a leather cleaner or mild soap.

If you’re a smartwatch fan, you’ll love the Flexx ID Trekk Wearable Wallet, which similarly allows you to streamline all of your essentials into one convenient and always-visible place: your wrist! Unlike wearing your heart on your sleeve, this is an almost risk-free option for keeping your valuables safe from theft or misplacement. While it doesn’t have as much capacity as other travel wallets, it still manages to fit up to five cards. The front pocket is perfect for work IDs or hotel key cards that you typically need to remove and scan, as you can hold your arm up to a scanner without removing them and enter hands free. There’s also a back zippered pocket for added convenience, which fits small essentials like keys or cash. Note that it’s not super breathable, so it can get a bit moist in warm weather or if wearing it while working out. It’s also only available in one size, which fits wrists that are 6.5 to 7.5 inches — but other styles from the brand (like the Pro or Monty models) offer various sizes. 

The Details: Leather, spandex, polyester, cotton | 5.51 x 3.94 x 0.79 inches 

Best Convertible

Veci 2-in-1 magsafe compatible bifold wallet.

This wallet comes with a MagSafe detachable card case that attaches to your iPhone. 

While the detachable card case can be used by anyone, the MagSafe feature only works with iPhones.

This ultra-slim bifold is perfectly pocket sized, making it a great choice for those who prefer to keep the bare essentials on them at all times. It features two compartments for all types of currency, plus 8 total card slots — two of which are horizontal and hidden. The best thing about this wallet is that you can detach a portion of it whenever you want to pare down to just 2 or 3 cards — but be warned that there’s a brief learning curve on figuring out how much pressure to apply to do so. The removable card case is MagSafe compatible, which means it uses a strong magnet to secure itself to your iPhone. The wallet also has magnetic shielding, in order to protect your cards from damage.  

Best RFID-blocking

Zero grid travel neck wallet with rfid blocking.

It comes with 7 removable RFID-blocking sleeves, which can be used even if you take your belongings out of the wallet. 

It’s a bit long and bulky.

While neck wallets aren’t for everyone, they are excellent at providing the highest level of security for your belongings. You can keep your most precious items — your passport, currency, phone, and other small items — close to your chest, wearing them discreetly beneath your clothes or on top of them. The Zero Grid Travel Neck Wallet has three zippered closures for maximum protection of your valuables with removable RFID-blocking sleeves. Made from water-resistant, ripstop nylon, this durable wallet comes with a number of additional features which we appreciate, including recovery tags and travel insurance that covers up to $300 if anything is ever stolen from your pouch. 

The Details: Nylon | 7.5 x 5.7 inches

Travel + Leisure / Alexander Huang

Best Budget

Zoppen passport holder travel wallet.

It’s budget-friendly but still has slots for everything you could need on your trip.

The faux leather doesn’t look as chic as pure leather alternatives.

Constructed from RFID-blocking vegan leather, The Zoppen Passport Holder Travel Wallet has consistently topped our favorite travel wallet lists over the years. It’s slim yet sturdy, with compartments for everything from credit cards and currency to a small smartphone (a rare feature — it accommodates anything under 5.8 inches long). This is truly a small storage miracle, with over 10 slots for hotel keys, transit passes, IDs, and more to help keep even the messiest among us organized on the go. Use the large slip pocket to keep track of your vaccine card and up to two passports (a particularly handy feature for parents traveling with kids), while the extended zippered pocket keeps various types of currency secure.

It’s also one of the more affordable options that made our list, and it’s definitely the best value purchase. It comes with a wristlet attachment, which is another convenient carrying option — although it becomes a bit unwieldy to use when the wallet is full. We love that it’s available in 18 vibrant colors, from cherry red to a scholarly brown. However, note that it features a snap closure, which doesn’t offer as much protection for your belongings as a zipper. 

The Details: PU leather and aluminum | 5 x 7.7 x 1 inches

Best for Families

Valante travel document organizer.

There’s ample space to store the whole family’s passports and documents, plus it boasts versatile carrying options. 

It’s extremely capacious which may be excessive if you’re only traveling with two passports and no change.

If you’re toting your entire family’s passports around, it’s imperative that you can rely on your passport case to keep your documents both organized and secure. We love the Valate RFID Passport Holder Wallet for its spacious interior, which can fit six passports and boasts four credit card slots, a zippered coin pouch, two large zippered pockets for bills, two stash pockets for other documents, and more. There’s even an external zip pocket that we found large enough to fit an iPhone, plus two more external slots to store boarding passes. We were able to fit everything we needed and more, which left us wishing that the wallet was slightly more compact. However, we appreciated the variety of carrying options, including a strap to wear it around your neck if you’ve got your hands full with the kids. Plus, it’s made out of moisture-resistant polyester, which is a breeze to spot clean in case of accidental spills. 

The Details: Polyester | 10.2 x 6.1 inches

Travel + Leisure / Michael Navarro

Best Colors

Lucrin geneva passport travel wallet.

It’s fashionable enough to use as your everyday wallet, and comes in five types of leather and dozens of rich tones.

It's fairly long.

We’re obsessed with the all-in-one design of this minimalist case, which offers 13 regular card slots, 3 larger card slots, a roomy zippered pocket for cash or important documents, plus two stash pockets for your passport and boarding pass. We tried it out on several flights and found the design to be intuitive, functional, and stylish, helping us to stay organized without sacrificing our style. Plus, the durable zippered pouch and button latch helped to secure everything inside. 

While it’s on the larger size, it never felt cumbersome — we love that it’s stylish enough to double as an evening clutch for a night out, and that it can be comfortably packed into a backpack or larger purse while traveling. The price feels like a worthwhile investment, given the high-quality leather, which comes in smooth, granulated, square granulated, vegetable tanned, and crocodile-style calfskin options. You can completely personalize your pick by choosing from a rainbow of over two dozen shades, like cherry red or classic tan — making it a wonderful gift option for yourself or a fellow jetsetter.

The Details: Leather or calfskin | 9.8 x 4.9 inches

Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp

Tips for Buying a Travel Wallet

Decide how many compartments you need.

When purchasing a travel wallet, make sure it has enough slots for all of your travel needs. If you’re a frequent international flier, you might want to prioritize space for a passport, or something large enough to accommodate various currencies (and a coin pouch for countries in which coins are commonly used). If you’re looking for something more minimalist, you might want to opt for a wallet with a detachable card case as well, so that you can truly pare down to the basics. 

Durability is key

A wallet that falls apart mid-trip is not just annoying, but potentially disastrous — especially if it’s housing your passport. Investing in a piece that’s well-made and ideally water-resistant is of the utmost importance for protecting your belongings. Leather (or high-quality vegan leather) and ripstop nylon are some of the sturdiest options for keeping your things secure. 

Prioritize safety features

While zip closures aren’t necessary, they do offer the highest protection, as they secure your belongings from slipping out. Ideally, look for a wallet with at least one zippered pocket, to tuck away any small valuables. Hidden pockets for cards or cash are also important to help avoid flashing how much cash you’re carrying while you’re out and about. Easy access pockets on the exterior are additionally handy for quickly grabbing essentials like keys or public transit cards.

Travel wallets are typically larger in size than everyday or small wallets , as they’re designed to accommodate passports and other travel essentials, like boarding passes or train tickets. Most also have a pen loop, so you can store a writing utensil for easy access when filling out customs forms. Travel wallets may also feature more unique additions, like organizational tabs or attachable tracking capabilities. 

RFID-blocking (radio frequency identification) wallets add an extra layer of protection for travelers who are concerned about the potential of someone wirelessly accessing the information stored in your credit cards. While this is a rare form of theft, it can’t hurt to opt for a wallet that offers the extra shield — although, unfortunately, there’s no way to tell if it’s actually working. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure?

For this story, T+L contributor Sophie Dodd researched a wide variety of travel wallets, prizing organizational features, capacity, portability, and more. She also updated this piece with our testing insights, after we tested dozens of wallets in our lab and on actual travel days to see how they held up. She then used her expertise as a traveler and commerce writer to curate a list of the best travel wallets on the market, for every type of trip and budget. 

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Related Articles

Best travel wallet 2024: document holders for those on the go

How to choose a sophisticated travel wallet to keep you safe and sorted on the road

  • 1. Best overall travel wallet
  • 2. Best versatile travel wallet
  • 3. Best smart travel wallet
  • 4. Best practical travel wallet
  • 5. Best cheap travel wallet
  • 6. Best minimalist travel wallet
  • 7. Best travel wallet for RFID protection
  • 8. Best waterproof travel wallet
  • 9. Best compact travel wallet
  • 10. Best multi pocket travel wallet

Best travel wallet 2024: Jump Menu

best travel wallet

00. T3's top 3 ↴ 01. Best overall : Fjallraven Travel Wallet 02. Best versatile : Zoppen Travel Wallet 03. Best smart : Ekster Parliament Slim Leather Wallet 04. Best practical : Snugpak Grab A5 05. Best cheap : CampTeck Travel Wallet & Organiser Pouch 06. Best minimalist : Travando Slim Wallet 07. Best for RFID protection : Pacsafe RFIDsafe V200 Travel Wallet 08. Best waterproof : Lifeventure RFID Protected Document Wallet 09. Best compact : LifeVenture RFiD Mini Travel Wallet 10. Best multi pocket : Go Travel Document Organiser

Whether you’re travelling for business or leisure, keeping track of your passport, plane tickets, credit cards are coins can be a pain. Cue the best travel wallets or best travel document holders, which are a handy way to keep all your documents in one place.

It's one of those things that you never knew you needed until you spend your entire time at an airport constantly patting down your pockets and searching through bags and rucksacks for that elusive piece of the jigsaw – passport, boarding pass, money hotel details – until you drive yourself insane. 

With a simple flick through the pockets if a good travel wallet you find everything you need, allowing you to breeze through airports worry-free, leaving you to concentrate on relaxing (or maybe visiting the duty-free) before a flight. Whether you're a frequent flyer or you take a holiday once a year, you can be sure that there’s a travel wallet for you on our list for the best travel wallets in 2024.

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest Home news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.

Fjallraven Travel Wallet

The best overall travel wallet

Made from Fjallraven’s own blend of incredibly durable G-1000 fabric, this travel wallet is no exception to their commitment to producing quality outdoor and travel gear; and the reviewers certainly agree, with many of them commenting on the toughness of the fabric. The only negative is the price - but let’s not forget you get what you pay for. 

Read more below

Zoppen Travel Wallet

The best versatile travel wallet

If you’re looking for a travel wallet that blends style with substance, we think we’ve found the one. Yes, it’s PU leather not real leather and that slight disappointment is reflected in the reviews, but if you take a look at its neat envelope design and its variety of pockets, you’ll find that there isn’t too much to complain about. 

Ekster Parliament Slim Leather Wallet

The best smart travel wallet

Ekster makes a line of voice-activated wallets, including this relatively traditional-looking credit card holder. However, beneath the handcrafted leather look is some serious tech. It's also compatible with Alexa and Google Home, which using a Chipolo tag can make your wallet emit a ring when you ‘say “where’s my wallet?” - pretty cool right!

Best travel wallets ranking 2024

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test .

Fjallraven Travel Wallet

1. Fjallraven Travel Wallet

Specifications, reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

Made from Fjallraven’s own blend of incredibly durable G-1000 fabric, this travel wallet is no exception to their commitment to producing quality outdoor and travel gear; and the reviewers certainly agree, with many of them commenting on the toughness of the fabric. 

Inside the nifty travel wallet, passports, boarding passes, cash, cards and even a pen can all be safely tucked away. The only negative is the price - but let’s not forget you get what you pay for. 

  • Back to the top ⤴

2. Zoppen Travel Wallet

Your passport, boarding passes, money, phone and even your foreign sim card will be kept safe in its pockets, which, although for some, are on the tight side, will fit all your essentials for a compact travel companion. 

3. Ekster Parliament Slim Leather Wallet

Losing your valuables is one of the biggest fears while travelling. Can technology help? Ekster makes a line of voice-activated wallets, including this relatively traditional-looking credit card holder. However, beneath the handcrafted leather look is some serious tech; as well as space for nine cards, six of which can be protected by a layer of RFID-block, but the wallet is also compatible with Alexa and Google Home, which using a Chipolo tag can make your wallet emit a ring when you ‘say “where’s my wallet?”

Funded within three hours on Kickstarter, this Ekster wallet also offers worldwide traceability via a smart card so you can tell you where it was last seen on a map. That’s the same technology used by FedEx to track its containers. What’s more, it’s all solar-powered and doesn’t run out of charge for two months.

The best practical travel wallet

Snugpak Grab A5

4. Snugpak Grab A5

If you’re an outdoors type who’s just as likely to find themselves in the wild as in an airport, you’re going to want a travel document holder with special skills. Cue the Grab A5 from sleeping bag-maker Snugpak. As well as documents, the Grab A5 – with is, naturally, the size of A5 paper, so fairly compact – has room for a pen holder and many other items in its small pockets (there’s even a dedicated phone pocket). The document storage section has a waterproof cover, which will add peace of mind if you go out on a hike. Zipped all around, it’s also got a small carry handle. 

The best cheap travel wallet

CampTeck Travel Wallet & Organiser Pouch

5. CampTeck Travel Wallet & Organiser Pouch

Thoroughly affordable and with plenty of storage, this travel passport wallet can fit four passports and up to six cards, and is plenty big enough for storing boarding passes, too. Unlike most of its rivals, this product includes space for extras; inside are two pen holders, a zippered mesh pocket for notes and coins, and even a tab for attaching keys. It's also got RFID-blocking technology built-in to protect everything inside the wallet, which zips shut along three sides. It’s not particularly stylish, but it is very cheap. 

The best minimalist travel wallet

Travando Slim Wallet

6. Travando Slim Wallet

This clever bi-fold wallet is crafted in Germany, and it shows. It’s organised so well; there are seven card slots – six on the inside and one on the outside – but despite that it’s a mere 11.9x8.3x1.6 cm. Unlike most modern travel wallets, it’s designed to carry cash, with a stainless steel money clip integrated into the interior that securely grasps bank notes. The Travando is also constructed to protect against data theft by RFiD scanners.

The best travel wallet for RFID protection

Pacsafe RFIDsafe V200 Travel Wallet

7. Pacsafe RFIDsafe V200 Travel Wallet

If you’re looking for a no frills travel wallet that that keeps your cards, cash and receipts safe, this Pacsafe wallet could serve you well. While you can see from the design that there is room enough for up to 8 cards, there’s also a window pocket each for your passport and driver’s license and plenty of room for loose change. 

The manufacturer promises protection against identity theft, while the bracelet with its handy loop acts as a handy mechanism to prevent you from dropping it in the middle of the airport concourse. 

The best waterproof travel wallet

Lifeventure RFID Protected Document Wallet

8. Lifeventure RFID Protected Document Wallet

RFID protected and featuring waterproof fabric and zip, this lifeproof travel document holder is the perfect practical solution to carrying around your documents. One side of the wallet is dedicated to travel money and cards, with 9 slots providing enough room for IDs, credit cards, debit cards and travel money cards. 

Thanks to its RFID protection, you don’t need to worry about identity fraud, especially if you’re travelling to areas where that kind of thing is rife, and with a smartphone stash pocket, too, you can make sure all of your necessities are safely tucked away, yet completely accessible for when you need them. 

The best compact travel wallet

LifeVenture RFiD Mini Travel Wallet

9. LifeVenture RFiD Mini Travel Wallet

When you’re travelling, you’re going to be on a budget and if you’re planning on backpacking off the beaten track, Lifeventure has made sure this travel wallet is prepared for all circumstances. 

Find yourself waist deep in a river? It’s waterproof. Find yourself going through some sketchy looking areas? It protects against Radio-Frequency Identification devices. It boasts pockets for your passport, boarding passes, cash, cards and even your smartphone. It's the perfect compact travel wallet and for the price, and reviewers agree, you can’t beat it.

The best multi pocket travel wallet

Go Travel Document Organiser

10. Go Travel Document Organiser

This travel document holder is the perfect contender for the most amount of pockets featured in a small space competition. There’s several card slots, an ID slot, a travel money zipped pocket, a slot to put your boarding passes and enough slots for several passports, if you’re travelling as a family. 

It’s also good to note that this travel wallet provides RFID protection, so you can be completely sure that your identification is safe. Comments suggest that it’s fairly bulky in size, and therefore needs a large pocket for storing it away, aside from that, it’s the perfect practical travel companion. 

How to buy the best travel wallet for you

Your choice of travel wallet will partly depend on style. Leather screams ‘sophisticated businessman’, while durable, waterproof materials will appeal to those who only entertain travel-grade products that will last much longer than the air miles you collect. 

Having space for passports and cards is standard, but not all travel document holders have space for keys, pens, and cash, and even some electronics. 

You can find small travel wallets for single travellers, slightly bigger versions for couples, and whopping great A4-sized versions for large families and tour group leaders. They can be pocket-sized, or rucksack-sized, depending on your requirements. There are other things to think about, too.

Another aspect to consider is whether you want your travel wallet to provide protection against Radio-Frequency Identification devices (RFiD). Although rare, identification theft is an issue, and something you may or may not be worried out. Some of the best travel wallets block these devices, while others don’t, so it’s worth bearing it in mind when choosing. Ditto worldwide tracking, which adds even more peace of mind in case of theft. 

When it comes to the best travel wallets, you get what you pay for. There’s nothing wrong with being cheap and cheerful, but if you want a wallet to become your faithful travel companion, you’re going to have to stretch that budget.  

If you have a travel document holder, it's usefulness can spread beyond airports. Always take the same credit card when you travel? If you do have cards and documents that you only use when you travel – principally your passport, of course – a travel document holder is the ideal place to store them all when you are at home. Ditto emergency cash; no-one should go anywhere without at least US$50 in emergency cash (dollars are always better than pounds, especially when travelling outside Europe), and a travel document holder is the ideal place to keep it when you're at home as well as on your travels.

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Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.

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6 best travel wallets for organising passports and holiday documents

Prepare for your next trip, with top-rated wallets that will keep your essentials safe, article bookmarked.

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We looked for stylish travel wallets with room for all the essentials, as well as those that reduce the risk of identity fraud

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From passports to visas, the paperwork is all important when it comes to jetting from one country to another, which is why it’s worth investing in one of the best travel wallets, to keep all your documents safe and ready to access when you need them.

Luckily, some of our favourite travel accessory brands have risen to the challenge, producing fantastic travel wallets that not only have room for all the essentials but look incredibly stylish and reduce the risk of identity fraud, too.

We strongly recommend opting for RFID (radio-frequency identification) wallets, which use nickel and copper-coated material (usually polyester) to reduce the risk of identity fraud, by blocking the electromagnetic signals emitted from your bank cards.

Take the time to think about what you’re going to be using your wallet for – if you’re going to fill it to capacity, we’d recommend opting for a zip closure, but if easy access is a priority, don’t write off the humble magnet or press-stud closure.

We’re also huge fans of wallets that have clamshell openings – ones that open fully, like a book , rather than requiring you to extract your essentials through tiny openings.

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How we tested the best travel wallets

Our recent trips involved a lot of paperwork (such as visas), currency in various denominations as well as essentials such as our passport (obviously), boarding passes and bank cards. We had plenty of opportunities to put a range of travel wallets to the test during these trips, whether it was before we’d even entered the airport (in India, all passengers must produce airplane tickets before being allowed into the terminal) or at visa checkpoints. In a nutshell? We truly put these wallets through their paces, and they all passed with flying colours. That said, certain ones have been clearly designed with specific additional purposes in mind, which is why we’ve highlighted the areas in which they excel below. Happy travels!

The best travel wallets for 2024 are:

  • Best travel wallet overall – Lifeventure RFID mini travel wallet: £24.94,
  • Best budget travel wallet – Go Travel RFID organiser: £19.99,
  • Best compact travel wallet – Jack Wolfskin cashbag wallet: £24,
  • Best for simplicity – Keela travel ID wallet: £24.95,
  • Best large travel wallet – House of Disaster animal-print travel wallet: £29.99,

Lifeventure RFID mini travel wallet

  • Best : Travel wallet overall
  • Material : Nickel- and copper-coated polyester
  • Handy transparent pockets
  • Can also store your phone
  • Good choice of colours

This wallet has seven card pockets, including one covered by transparent plastic. Our advice? Use this one to stash ID cards, such as a driver’s licence – you can flash it without having to remove it from the wallet.

Larger slip pockets – placed beneath the smaller ones – are ideal for boarding passes and passports, and we used the pocket made from mesh to stash our iPhone. It’s another RFID wallet, which relies on nickel- and copper-coated polyester fabric to reduce the risk of identity theft.

Call us fickle but we loved the choice of four colourways, too.

Go Travel RFID organiser

best travel wallets

  • Best : Budget travel wallet
  • Material : Polyester
  • Great price
  • Slim but stuffed with pockets
  • Easy to access

Identity theft is no longer an invisible threat that brands merely use to convince us to part with extra cash. Well, some brands might still take this approach but Go Travel, which is known for its top-quality RFID travel wallets, definitely isn’t one of them, and this wallet is a case in point.

Despite its slimline design, it’s stuffed with pockets, to hold everything from passports (our rigorous testing proved that there was more than enough room for four) to boarding passes, which we placed in the extra-wide pockets beneath the ones designed to hold passports.

Unlike with similar products, the RFID tech has added minimal bulk, and its clamshell design, with zips that opened on three sides of each half of the wallet, meant refreshingly easy access to the contents.

Fjällräven kånken travel wallet

best travel wallet

  • Best : Travel wallet for easy access
  • Material : 65 per cent polyester, 35 per cent cotton
  • Extra-wide pockets
  • Tough and water-resistant

How Fjällräven managed to squeeze so many pockets into such a compact wallet, we’ll never know. We had plenty of room for our passport, vaccination documentation and foreign currency, which we placed inside the wallet, while we kept our boarding passes in the extra-wide exterior pocket on the wallet’s rear.

There’s an incredible sense of toughness to the kånken (thanks, partly, to the water-resistant G-1000 fabric), and we loved how the concertina-like strip of material between the wallet’s two halves meant we could open the wallet fully – no fumbling around through narrow openings to extricate essential documents.

Keela travel ID wallet

best travel wallet

  • Best : For simplicity
  • Material : Unspecified
  • Can be worn under garments
  • Great for easy access
  • No bells an whistles

To begin with, we were sceptical about the simplicity of this wallet but we’re now total converts. In recent years, partly because of the extra documentation required for travel (whether it’s vaccination paperwork or visa forms, much of which isn’t required to check in for a flight), we’ve taken to carrying our passport in a separate wallet, simply so we can produce it without riffling through irrelevant paperwork. Our top tip? Before entering the airport, place your boarding pass and passport in this transparent wallet (which slips neatly under jackets or T-shirts) and simply whip them out as and when required.

Jack Wolfskin cashbag wallet

best travel wallets

  • Best : Compact travel wallet
  • Material : Shell: 100 per cent polyamide; lining: 100 per cent polyester
  • Great for thick wads of cash
  • Small and easy to carry around

We love the name of this RFID wallet – if only because it brings to mind an accessory stuffed with thick wads of cash. That wasn’t the case where we were concerned, to be clear, although, we did find the extra-wide pocket useful for quickly stashing a wad of 1,000 Indian Rupees (don’t get excited – this equates to about £10).

It’s one of the smallest travel wallets in our selection, but that’s precisely why we love it – although it might not be large enough for your passport, it’s got more than enough room for currency, boarding passes and paperwork, and its size means it slips easily into pockets.

House of Disaster animal-print travel wallet

  • Best : Large travel wallet
  • Material : Vegan-friendly ‘leather’, faux cheetah fur, cotton lining
  • Funky, stylish design
  • Labelled compartments

We were instantly smitten with the flash of pink against the animal print, but the interior of this wallet was just as impressive. A zippered pocket was perfect for stashing loose change, while we used the shallow card pockets for hotel room keys and business cards. The highlight, however, was the main compartment, with its four dividers, clearly labelled (in chic golden font, no less) to indicate separate pockets for passports, tickets, documents and ‘other’.

Full disclosure, we were initially concerned by its larger size but a trip to India, which involved multiple internal flights (read: lots of tickets), visas and vaccination documentation, meant we easily filled this particular wallet.

It’s also available in a leopard-print design (£29.99, ).

The verdict: Travel wallets

If you want a wallet with all the bells and whistles, the Lifeventure RFID mini travel wallet is an absolute essential for jet-setters. It’s a great example of a product that proves opting for extra security doesn’t require going down the supersized route. Meanwhile, Fjällräven’s kånken travel wallet is a sturdy, stylish piece of kit that stands up to serious amounts of wear and tear. If you like to stand out from the crowd, however, the House of Disaster animal-print travel wallet offers a dose of dopamine-boosting design.

Preparing for your next trip just got a whole lot easier, thanks to our pick of the best packing cubes to keep your suitcase organised

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These are the pocket folders used by travel agents:

Organized travel documents mean happy travelers..

Help your clients keep their tickets, passports, maps, and travel documents organized from the moment they book their vacation. Whether you own a travel agency or work for a tour group company, travel document folders are a must-have for your customers.

Give your clients travel-size folders and document pouches.

Our mini pocket folders fit perfectly in a purse or suitcase without taking up much space. Brochures, airline tickets, and passports easily fit in any of our small folder styles. You might also be interested in a custom printed document pouch with an envelope-style flap to keep travelers' documents nice and safe.

A few travel folder design tips!

Your folder design doesn't have to be complex. An easy-to-make, effective design could just have your logo and contact information imprinted on the folder or pouch. Consider adding a phrase like "Your Travel Documents" or "Happy Travels" If you're not sure where to get started, < a href="/contact-us/">contact us and we'll be happy to help.

Why use paper travel document holders instead of plastic?

  • Paper is really lightweight. It costs less to ship it to you, and it won't add much weight in your clients' travels.
  • Paper can be printed, foil stamped, or embossed. Personalize your pocket folders however you want.
  • Paper is easy to recycle. Vinyl or clear pouches can be difficult—if not impossible—to recycle. All of our paper pocket folders and document holders can be recycled.

What goes in a travel document folder for clients?

Tickets & Itineraries Plane tickets, amusement park passes, passports, and daily itineraries and schedules.

Travel Brochures Include some tri-fold brochures of local events, attractions, festivals, and theme parks.

Paper Maps Though most people use their phones, include some paper maps of destination cities and attractions.

How to Order Custom Travel Document Folders

Custom presentation folders with company logos on the front covers

Choose your pocket folder size.

We have three standard pocket folder sizes: mini , 9" x 12" , and legal .

If you're looking for a different kind of branded supply item, we also offer document pouches and custom notepads .

How do you want your logo put on the folder?

Our most popular finishes are printed folders and foil stamped. But if you want something really unique, check out our embossed folders .

Custom printed and foil stamped pocket folders

Choose your folder paper color & texture.

Glossy, texture, recycled, and more. We have a collection of standard papers for custom folders. Need something different? Check out our entire folder paper collection .

Add your business logo.

Upload your logo or branding, or tell us what you want your folder to say.

Need help designing custom folders? Let's chat.

Custom presentation folder with company logo

Your personalization options: Print, Foil Stamp, or Emboss

Custom printed presentation folder with company logo

Printed Folders

We use ink offset printing on 9" x 12" and legal folders for clean, crisp images. For mini folders we use digital printing for low order minimums.

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Black pocket folder with foil stamped logo

Foil Stamped Folders

Imprint your logo in brilliant metallic or non-metallic foil, available in 23 colors.

Shown: Foil Stamped 9" x 12" Folder (Black Smooth Paper with Copper Foil imprint)

Custom embossed pocket folder

Embossed Folders

Add your logo with subtle blind embossing. Great for any industry, this artistic finishing technique is a sophisticated way to enforce your brand.

Shown: Blue linen paper. Get a quote.

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Visa & entry requirements for moscow.

Do you know which documents you'll need to travel to Russia ? Plan ahead and find out if you need your passport, visa, national ID or all of the above!

Russian Visa

Citizens of most countries require a visa to enter Russia, for which the application should be made  at least a month before your trip . For most travellers a tourist visa will be sufficient: these allow a stay of up to 30 days with one or two entries within that period. If you are planning to stay for longer than a month, there are business and other types of visas available. If you're just passing through, it's possible to get a transit visa, but as these allow limited time in the country and are the same price as a regular tourist visa, it's usually best to go for that option.

What will I need for the visa?

  • Passport  valid for at least six months after your return date.
  • Visa invitation letter  (known as a "visa support") provided by your hotel or hostel (sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee), or if you're not staying in one of these, they can be bought from travel or visa agencies (prices vary).
  • Completed application form  including everywhere you've visited over the past 10 years: make sure to fill it in carefully! Find the electronic visa application form at the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation  and make sure to keep a note of the identity number given to you.
  • Handling fee  (amount varies depending on visa type, how you quickly you need it and the agency used to acquire your visa).
  • One or two  passport-sized p hotos .

How do I get the visa?

With all of your necessary documentation, you'll then need to go to your Russian embassy or dedicated visa agency: when you first visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website linked above, the Contacts link under your selected country will show the official offices for visa applications. You may also be asked to bring bank statements, birth certificates of children travelling with you and proof of travel insurance , so make sure to double check what you need in advance.

What happens when I arrive?

On arrival in Russia, you'll be given an  immigration form  produced electronically at passport control.  Make sure to hold on to this  as you'll need it both to  register your stay  and to  leave the country .

Register your visa : every visitor to Russia must register their visa within seven business days of arrival. If you're in Moscow for less than seven business days, you are exempt, and if you leave Moscow, you must register again in any city where you stay seven days or longer. It is your accommodation  that is obligated to register your visa  for you: whether this is your hotel, hostel, landlord, friend or family. Commonly, you'll give up your passport and visa on check in for your hotel to register you with the local visa office.

You may also be interested in

Learn what currency to buy, whether you need a visa, what time you can visit the shops and museums, what to pack for the weather, and answers to many other questions you may have about your trip to Moscow.

The official language of Russia is Russian. This article is full of helpful advice and basic phrases you can use to make your trip to Moscow easier.

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  • K-1 Fiance(e) Visa Process & Procedures

Translation of Documents for Moscow

By bertal November 15, 2012 in K-1 Fiance(e) Visa Process & Procedures

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4 posts in this topic

Recommended posts, bertal   0.

I have another question. I'm getting conflicting information. Moscow consulate posted that Russian issued documents do not need to be translated, however, when I called the service desk, they said that they absolutely must be translated. They also said, that they can only be translated by an accredited agency. However, they do not need to be notarized. My fiancee's son's military ID is 28 pages. He never served, and most of these pages are blank. The service desk said that every page must be translated, even the blank ones.

Did anybody have to deal with something like this? Agencies charge around $50 per page. That's insane.

This doesn't make sense.

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Nathan&Elena   1

I have another question. I'm getting conflicting information. Moscow consulate posted that Russian issued documents do not need to be translated, however, when I called the service desk, they said that they absolutely must be translated. They also said, that they can only be translated by an accredited agency. However, they do not need to be notarized. My fiancee's son's military ID is 28 pages. He never served, and most of these pages are blank. The service desk said that every page must be translated, even the blank ones. Did anybody have to deal with something like this? Agencies charge around $50 per page. That's insane. This doesn't make sense. Thanks. Hello! I believe, you didn't search very well, because I, russian citizen, K-1 holder, found BUNCH of agencies who offer translation of my papers. And it was 200-250 rubles for each paper, not even each page. I strongly recommend you to ask your fiancee for help finding translating agency at her city. And military ID is requested to be translated, that is shown at the site :

baron555   934

I have another question. I'm getting conflicting information. Moscow consulate posted that Russian issued documents do not need to be translated, however, when I called the service desk, they said that they absolutely must be translated. They also said, that they can only be translated by an accredited agency. However, they do not need to be notarized. My fiancee's son's military ID is 28 pages. He never served, and most of these pages are blank. The service desk said that every page must be translated, even the blank ones. Did anybody have to deal with something like this? Agencies charge around $50 per page. That's insane. This doesn't make sense. Thanks.

Follow the agency.....Moscow does not require translations if the documents are in Russian.......

What the service desk may have been talking about is that any of those same documents that may be needed for AOS or ROC or Naturalization, once he is here in the US.....then those must be translated.....

....but....they don't need to be translated by any special agency. Anyone, anybody, can translate those documents as long as that person certifies on their own and writes the same on the documents that they are proficient in translation and has translated them in good faith and experience.

Phil (Lockport, near Chicago) and Alla (Lobnya, near Moscow)

As of Dec 7, 2009, now Zero miles apart (literally)!


P A U L   14

if you absolutely want to have them translated, or want another opinion... ask this lady:


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Hungary Will Not Support NATO Becoming 'Anti-China' Bloc, Minister Says

Hungary Will Not Support NATO Becoming 'Anti-China' Bloc, Minister Says


FILE PHOTO: Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto attends a press conference of Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban following their meeting in Moscow, Russia July 5, 2024. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary does not want NATO to become an "anti-China" bloc, and will not support it doing so, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Thursday.

In comments on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Washington, he also said Ukraine's admission to the military alliance would weaken unity in the group.

A draft summit communique described China as a decisive enabler of Russia's war effort in Ukraine, and said Beijing continues to pose systemic challenges to Europe and to security. China said the communique was biased and "sowing discord".

"NATO is a defence alliance... we can't organise it into an anti-China bloc," Szijjarto told Hungarian state television in response to a question about NATO's alliance-building efforts in the Indo-Pacific.

China is an important trade and investment partner for Hungary. Other European Union member states are seeking to become less dependent on Beijing.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday to discuss a potential Ukraine peace deal following visits to Kyiv and Moscow.

His talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin angered some EU leaders as the bloc is seeking to avoid high-level contacts with Moscow over its war in Ukraine.

At the NATO summit, leaders have pledged their support for Ukraine, and the draft communique reiterated support for Ukraine on its path to NATO membership.

"Ukraine's admission wouldn't strengthen but weaken the unity's alliance, as there are completely different viewpoints on their membership," Szijjarto said.

"Ukraine's NATO membership would not strengthen the alliance's defence character as well because, in practice, it would create a risk of open conflict between Russia and NATO."

(This story has been refiled to remove the repeated word 'China' in paragraph 5)

(Reporting by Boldizsar Gyori and Anita Komuves, Editing by Jason Hovet and Timothy Heritage)

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters .

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NATO-Russia charter 1997 was “forced step,” said Yeltsin


U.S. President Bill Clinton shakes hands with Russian President Boris Yeltsin during the signing ceremony of the NATO-Russia Founding Act in Paris on May 27, 1997, as French President Jacques Chirac looks on. (Luke Frazza, AFP/Getty Images)

Partnership for Peace alternative, which included Russia and Ukraine, only a holding pattern

NATO enlargement waited for Clinton and Yeltsin re-elections 1996

Clinton’s parallel tracks of NATO enlargement and Russia engagement depended on Yeltsin personally, often collided, often won cooperation

Washington, D.C., July 9, 2024 - Hailed at the time as an historic change “burying” a Cold War rivalry, the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 was privately characterized as a “forced step” by Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who told U.S. President Bill Clinton that he opposed NATO expansion but saw no alternative to signing the accord. Yeltsin’s blunt admission is one of several revelations from a new set of declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive to mark the NATO 75th Anniversary Summit in Washington.

The documents show that the Clinton administration’s policy in the 1990s emphasizing two tracks of both NATO enlargement and Russian engagement often collided, leaving lasting scars on Yeltsin, who constantly sought what he called partnership with the U.S. But as early as fall 1994, according to the documents, the Partnership for Peace alternative security structure for Europe, which included both Russia and Ukraine, was de-emphasized by U.S. policymakers, who only delayed NATO enlargement until both Clinton and Yeltsin could get through their re-elections in 1996.

Yeltsin and his foreign minister in 1997, Yevgeny Primakov, provided the Americans neither the “grudging endorsement” of NATO expansion that the U.S. hoped for nor even the “acquiescence” that subsequent American memoirs claimed. Rather, as Yeltsin told Clinton personally at Helsinki in March 1997: “Our position has not changed. It remains a mistake for NATO to move eastward. But I need to take steps to alleviate the negative consequences of this for Russia. I am prepared to enter into an agreement with NATO, not because I want to but because it is a forced step. There is no other solution for today.”

The newly declassified documents also show that Yeltsin and his top officials continued to cooperate with NATO on more flexible arrangements under the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty (CFE) even while NATO was bombing Belgrade during the Kosovo crisis of March-April 1999.

These newly published records come from the Clinton Presidential Library and are the result of Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) requests filed by the Archive and other researchers and a successful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the Archive against the State Department to open the files of Strobe Talbott, who was a top adviser on Russian affairs (1992-1993) and Deputy Secretary of State (1994-2001) during the Clinton administration.

The documents include internal National Security Council memos read and annotated by President Clinton, never-before-published notes from Vice President Al Gore’s dramatic face-to-face session with Yeltsin in his hospital suite in December 1994 (the “spaceships docking” conversation), Talbott’s detailed “framework” memos from 1996, including direct quotes from Primakov and his deputy Yuri Mamedov, a candid British assessment from 2000 of Moscow’s attitudes towards NATO enlargement, and Talbott’s conclusion that a second wave of NATO expansion would actually be easier under Vladimir Putin.

For thousands of additional declassified documents covering U.S.-Russian relations in the 1990s, see the new reference collection in the Digital National Security Archive series published by ProQuest and edited by Svetlana Savranskaya,  U.S.-Russia Relations: From the Fall of the Soviet Union to the Rise of Putin, 1991-2000 . These documents provide essential historical context on the primary challenges facing NATO today: addressing Russia ’ s invasion of Ukraine and working out new European security arrangements that would help to prevent such conflicts in the future.

This research was supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The Documents

doc 1

Clinton Presidential Library. Mandatory Review 2016-0118-M1

The Secretary General of NATO visits Washington on March 1-3, 1993, early in the Clinton administration, and meets with President Clinton, National Security Adviser Anthony Lake and Secretary of State Warren Christopher. This cable summarizing the Christopher-Woerner conversation is declassified in full and gives good insight into the topics that Woerner discussed with the President and the National Security Adviser. The NATO SYG had three major items on the agenda: calling a NATO summit for the fall of 1993, strengthening NATO outreach to East Europeans, and asking for more money from the United States for NATO infrastructure and travel funds for North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) members.

Woerner reminded Christopher that President George H. W. Bush used a NATO summit in May 1989 to establish his leadership and that it would be good for the Clinton administration to hold a NATO summit to “determine the course of NATO’s development.” The main idea behind the need for the NATO summit is the future security arrangements in Europe at a time when many people questioned the rationale for NATO’s existence after the Cold War. Woerner encourages Christopher to look more closely at the East European countries and to think about how to integrate them into European security structures. This cable is one of the first documents from the Clinton administration that explicitly raises the issue of NATO expansion: “Woerner urged the Secretary to start considering possible timeframes, candidates and criteria for membership expansion.” He says that East European leaders are less concerned about the military threat from Russia and rather hope that “NATO membership can help stave off the return of authoritarian forces” in their own countries.

Woerner is pessimistic about CSCE and thinks that it would not survive. In his telling, East European leaders “had more trust in NATO than CSCE, since NATO is an organization with power.” To integrate Eastern Europe, Woerner believes the U.S should provide more funding for travel and per diem for visits from NACC representatives and other outreach and cooperative activities.

What is strangely not mentioned in this conversation is Woerner’s and other NATO representatives’ very active interaction and cooperation with Russian representatives throughout 1992 and Woerner’s assurances to his Russian counterparts regarding NATO’s sensitivities about Russian security concerns (see previously published documents: Document 1 , in “NATO Expansion: What Yeltsin Heard,” and Document 1 in “The Short-Lived NATO-Russia Honeymoon”) regarding possible NATO expansion.

doc 2

Clinton Presidential Library, Mandatory Review 2015-0772-M

The White House staff secretary (Podesta) and his deputy (Stern) in the first Clinton term worked to bring order to the paper flow to and from President Clinton. Here the pair summarize key memoranda from National Security Adviser Anthony Lake (one of which is included here) that crystallize the policy debate in the fall of 1993 between those favoring rapid NATO expansion (such as Undersecretary of State Lynn Davis and her top aide Stephen Flanagan) and those proposing a go-slow policy that would include Russia (and Ukraine) in new cooperative arrangements led by the Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs head Gen. John Shalikashvili. (See Documents 2 and 3 in “ NATO Expansion: What Yeltsin Heard .”)

The debate results in a compromise by the NSC Principals Committee: on the one hand, a NATO statement of principle that NATO will expand (but without specific criteria or a timetable), and on the other hand, a “Partnership for Peace” that would engage all of the “new and aspiring democracies in Europe’s east” in an “evolutionary movement” towards full NATO membership. The core reasoning, according to Lake’s memo: “All your advisers agree that doing anything at this stage to indicate that NATO’s border will move closer to Russia and Ukraine without at the same time including those two states would have major negative consequences within both. That could, inter alia, make the Central Europeans less secure.”

President Clinton approved this memo with a handwritten “OK.” When Secretary of State Warren Christopher briefed Russian president Boris Yeltsin on the Partnership for Peace a week later, Yeltsin called it “genius,” thinking that the Partnership was instead of expansion, while the Americans considered it a precursor. (See Document 8 in “NATO Expansion: What Yeltsin Heard” for the actual U.S. memcon in which Christopher misleadingly says new NATO members would be “a longer term eventuality.”)

doc 3

Almost exactly a year after the Principals agreed to the October 1993 compromise, this policy paper from the NSC staff, led by Anthony Lake and addressed to the Principals, shows that the NATO expanders are now in charge of U.S. policy, not the Defense Department proponents of the Partnership for Peace. The title of the paper, “Moving Toward NATO Expansion,” belies the subsequent rhetoric about an “integrated and inclusive security system for Europe.” This paper contains perhaps the clearest statement of the “Insurance Policy” rationale for NATO expansion, also known as the “strategic hedge.” This memo says this “(i.e. neo-containment of Russia) will be kept in the background only, rarely articulated. On the contrary, the possibility of membership in the long term for a democratic Russia should not be ruled out explicitly, as the President and Yeltsin agreed ( pace Volker Ruhe)” (referring to the German defense minister who publicly ruled it out). At the same time, the memo anticipates “earliest explicit NATO decision on new members to be taken no sooner than first half of second Clinton term” – in other words, after both Yeltsin and Clinton have been re-elected. Not said but implicit here is that to make such explicit statements before then would have highly negative effects on Russian politics. The document also mentions the parallel track policy wherein NATO (and the U.S.) expand their relationships with Russia, “implicitly foreshadowing ‘alliance with the Alliance’ as alternative to membership track” for Russia.

doc 4

Department of State, National Security Archive Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit

This detailed readout of the dramatic hospital conversation between an ailing but recovering Yeltsin and U.S. Vice President Al Gore provides a kind of memcon of the talks and was apparently written up by Strobe Talbott from his debriefing of Gore on Air Force Two upon leaving Moscow. Gore went to Moscow as part of his joint commission with the Russian the prime minister, Victor Chernomyrdin, but also, and most importantly, to mend fences with Yeltsin after the Budapest “blow up” at the beginning of December. Yeltsin, at Budapest and in front of Clinton, accused the U.S. President of creating a “cold peace” by speeding up NATO expansion. Budapest was where the two tracks of Clinton’s policy, NATO enlargement and Russia engagement, collided. (See the detailed discussion in “ NATO Expansion – The Budapest Blow Up ”) Gore wanted to reassure Yeltsin that the communiqué from NATO that Yeltsin heard as breaking Clinton’s promises actually did not represent a change and that no expansion would take place before Russian Duma elections in 1995 and Russian presidential elections in 1996. The metaphor Gore uses for the US-Russia and NATO-Russia relationships, of two spaceships carefully docking and proceeding on parallel tracks, resonates with Yeltsin, invoking Russian prowess in space, Russian parity and cooperation with the U.S.

doc 5

This briefing memo for Clinton tees up Vice President Gore’s debriefing on his trip to Moscow and his hospital conversation with Yeltsin. At the top right is the marking “President Has Seen.” The memo summarizes Gore’s conclusion that Yeltsin had simply “misunderstood” the NATO announcements about studying expansion in 1995, and that discussions with the Russians “could extend beyond your first term in office.” No memcon for the discussion apparently exists, and two very different versions of this meeting appear in the memoirs.

Strobe Talbott in The Russia Hand (p. 146) renders the discussion as a consensus with everyone concurring on no NATO expansion before Yeltsin’s re-election challenge in 1996, just as Clinton had promised. Talbott describes Secretary of Defense Bill Perry arguing for that delay and for giving the Partnership for Peace “at least a year” before any final decision on expansion took place. Perry’s own account in My Journey at the Nuclear Brink presents the discussion very differently, with the Defense Secretary arguing for much more than a year’s delay, more like a decade, before any NATO expansion, because the importance of controlling nuclear risk – jointly with the Russians – was an existential challenge, far more important than a form of European integration that would exclude Russia. Perry writes that this was the meeting where he realized the train had left the station, that the President and the Vice President had decided to pursue NATO expansion rather than the Partnership for Peace as soon as they and Yeltsin got through the 1996 elections. Perry apparently even considered resigning after this meeting.

doc 6

Just a day after the White House debriefing of Vice President Gore, the NSC staff group driving the NATO expansion policy produces this new version of their key policy document. Reflecting the ongoing ripples from the Budapest blow-up, Vershbow, et al. change their title from “Moving Toward NATO Expansion” to the more inclusive notion of “Building Europe’s New Security Architecture.” Yet much of the content is the same, just with more detail and more attention to the Russia issue.

Toned down somewhat is the “insurance policy” bullet point, this time just saying the “hedge” against Russia “should not be emphasized in public diplomacy, with focus instead on goal of building inclusive European security architecture in which a democratic Russia will be a major partner.” The paper drafts talking points for Secretary of State Christopher to use with the Russian foreign minister in their upcoming meeting, emphasizing “sensitivity to Russian elections in 1995-96” while rejecting any “joint decision-making about NATO expansion.” The paper shows the more confident U.S. approach after Gore’s reassurance of Yeltsin, here recommending that the U.S. “insist on end to public charges from Russians. As long as Russians do likewise, avoid use of challenging public language (e.g. no Russian veto), but be careful not to allow Russians to confuse serious dialogue with right of joint decisions or veto.” [italics in original]

doc 7

Featuring a thick black checkmark (Clinton was left-handed) and scrawled notes from Clinton, this memo from the national security adviser gives the President some bad news: “hardening Russian opposition to NATO enlargement, unease among some West Europeans and still-uncertain Congressional support pose a challenge to our policy.” Clinton wrote the next day, “I think we need to discuss how the Europeans feel [underlined] about this and what they are likely to do.”

The timing here is important. Two months earlier, Clinton had attended Victory Day (May 9) in Moscow, commemorating the Soviet victory over Hitler, as a personal favor to Yeltsin, only to hear the Russian president yell at him that NATO expansion represents “nothing but humiliation for Russia.” Clinton promised Yeltsin again that no action on NATO expansion would happen in 1995 or 1996. Here, Lake tries to present the forthcoming study on the “how and why” of NATO expansion” as one that “should reassure the Russians on stationing of nuclear and major conventional forces on new members’ territory. NATO reserves the right to do so but sees no reason to undertake such deployments at present, particularly with respect to its nuclear posture.”

But the memo goes on to describe in detail the “hardening” opposition among Russia’s elites: “Russian opposition to NATO enlargement is unlikely to yield in the near or medium term to some kind of grudging endorsement; Russia’s opposition is deep and profound. For the period ahead, the Russian leadership will do its level best to derail our policy, given its conviction that any eastward expansion of NATO is at root antithetical to Russia’s long-term interests.” The best the U.S. can do, Lake concludes, is just to achieve a “muted reaction in a context of broader cooperation.”

doc 8

This briefing memo from NSC staff to the national security adviser prepares him for his upcoming sit-down with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, who it says is “doing an outstanding job, fully vindicating our decision to support him for the post.” The timing is exactly between the first and second rounds of the Russian presidential elections, where Yeltsin edged his Communist challenger in the first round, co-opted the third place finisher, General Lebed, with a job chairing the Russian security council, and seemed poised to win the second round outright.

The key assessment comes in the section titled “NATO Enlargement,” where the author suggests that Solana could help “get discussions going with the Russians on building a NATO-Russia relationship. With Yeltsin newly re-elected, Lebed not opposed, and Primakov appearing increasingly disposed to discuss the terms rather than the fact of enlargement, the Russians may be more receptive.” That comment presages several months of intensive work on the U.S. side, led by Strobe Talbott engaging with the Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov and his deputy, Yuri Mamedov, to work out the “terms” that would ultimately lead, in May 1997, to the signing of the NATO-Russia Founding Act.

doc 9

State Department, National Security Archive Freedom of Information Lawsuit

After Yeltsin was re-elected in the second round of voting in early July 1996, the Clinton administration launched an active process of consideration of NATO expansion while trying to keep its relationship with Russia from going into a drastic decline. In July and August 1996, the State Department went through many versions of a draft document on the future of NATO-Russia relations in the context of the coming NATO expansion and in preparation for negotiations with Russia. Along the way, the more explicit “NATO enlargement” terminology was changed to “European Security structures,” which was more palatable to Russia.

This concise memo from Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs John Kornblum outlines the key dimensions of the relationship and the foundational principles of NATO-Russia negotiations. Kornblum starts by describing Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov’s strategy as consisting of two elements: efforts “to delay – or even prevent – NATO enlargement” and “simultaneously establishing the NATO-Russia dialog.” He mentions Primakov’s proposed “eight areas of exploration,” of which the most important are the Russian desire to “prevent the movement of NATO ‘infrastructure’ (especially nuclear weapons) onto the territory of new allies,” drawing red lines around the Baltics and Ukraine and the need to “establish some sort of binding mechanism for Russia to influence NATO and European decision making.” Kornblum warns that these stipulations should not be seen as the Russian price for agreeing to NATO expansion.

Instead, the United States should outline a clear foundation for a dialog with Russia with the goals of “the most cooperative possible security relationship with Russia,” where Russia will be “integrated in a new sort of European security community” so that “Russia’s voice [would] be heard in European security councils.” He lists all previous U.S.-Russian understandings and joint statements that would constitute the foundation for Russia-NATO negotiations with the goal “to find the widest possible consensus with the Russians on the outlines of new security structures in Europe,” not just NATO enlargement.

The key issues in preparation of this work program “will be handled between Deputy Secretary Talbott and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov.”

doc 10

Document 10

This 30-page memorandum drafted by Strobe Talbott pulls together all the key issues in the current negotiations between Russia and the United States on NATO expansion and European security structures in preparations for a new round of Talbott-Mamedov talks. Scheduled to start at the end of August, the talks are expected to lead to a NATO ministerial scheduled for December 1996 in Brussels that would set a date for a NATO summit in 1997, at which NATO would extend invitations to the first prospective new members and sign documents with Russia on the deepening of NATO-Russia relationship.

The document outlines in detail the U.S. and Russian positions, emphasizing key issues, concerns and red lines, and areas open for compromise. The document is supported with extensive quotes from all the actors involved, including a “completely private paper” that NATO SYG Javier Solana sent to Talbott on July 11, 1996. Talbott incorporates language from earlier drafts prepared by State Department experts and from memcons of his and Christopher’s meetings with Russian officials, mainly Primakov and Mamedov. He outlines the “eight areas of exploration” proposed by Primakov and U.S. positions on all these areas, most importantly the issue of NATO infrastructure moving closer to the Russian borders and the issue of Russian consultation with NATO, warning that it should never give Russia a veto over NATO decisions.

doc 11

Document 11

This is a draft response from Talbott to the letter Kennan sent to him on January 31 expressing his opposition to NATO expansion. [1] In the letter, Kennan calls the decision to expand NATO “the greatest mistake of Western policy in the entire post-Cold War era,” which, in his view, would undermine the building of Russian democracy and lead to the rise of nationalistic forces.

In response, after profoundly thanking Kennan for his wisdom and contribution to U.S. foreign policy for many years, Talbott explains President Clinton’s thinking about NATO and his efforts to assure Russia that the newly transformed NATO would not be a security threat to Russian interests. Drawing on examples from the 19th century, Talbott notes that alliances are not just directed at defending against an enemy, but that they also have important political functions, including to “manage relations between their member states and restrain and control the policies of alliance members themselves.” In this sense, the enlarged NATO would enhance stability and security in Europe and provide support for the democratic development of new members, but would also be ready to defend if danger arises. As Talbott summarizes it, “The essence of strategy as I see it is to prepare for the worst while trying to bring about the best.”

Addressing the concern about the negative reaction in Russia, Talbott says that [the President] continues to believe that the arguments in favor of enlargement were sufficiently compelling to outweigh the negative of opposition in Russia (including, as you say, on the part of most Russian reformers and democrats).”

doc 12

Document 12

Veteran foreign service officer Dennis Ross, who had extensive experience negotiating the end of the Cold War as Baker’s top assistant and who developed a close relationship with Eduard Shevardnadze’s top aid, Tarasenko, writes a memo to Talbott just as the U.S. and Russia enter an intense stage of negotiations on the wording of the NATO-Russia Charter and on the future of NATO-Russia cooperation. In his astute and empathetic analysis, Ross vividly explains how the Russians feel about NATO expansion, especially given their experience with assurances given by the West during the process of German unification in 1990 and 1991. Viewed through Russian eyes, Ross says, NATO expansion “tends to confirm the imagery that they lost the Cold War, their status as a great power is collapsing, they continue to be humiliated, and worse, they will face potential threats closer to their borders.” Bringing up the historical context, Ross bluntly says that the Russians “feel they were snookered at the time of German unification. As you noted with me, Baker’s promises on not extending NATO military presence into what was East Germany were part of a perceived commitment not to expand the Alliance eastward.” Ross adds that “the 1991 promise to transform NATO from a military alliance into a political alliance was part of a Soviet explanation for accepting unified Germany in NATO” (Talbott put a question mark next to this passage). As a result, he writes, the Russians want more formal and more well-defined promises “of a binding and precise character.”

While outlining the Russian position on NATO expansion, Ross concludes that the “worst outcome for Yeltsin is NATO enlargement and no Russian-NATO deal. Nothing could further demonstrate Russian weakness and irrelevance.” This reality gives the United States certain leverage in negotiations, which Ross advises Talbott to put to use. He suggests that the U.S. team should make sure Russia could not deal separately with allies, but at the same time give Yeltsin a seat at the table by making Russia a member of the G-8 at the next summit in Denver. He also advises him to keep some substantive elements of the NATO-Russia package in reserve and really invest in a process of negotiations “that permits Yeltsin to show that Russia shaped the outcome.”

doc 13

Document 13

This is one of numerous drafts that were circulated within the Clinton administration in February-March 1997 in preparation for the signing of the NATO-Russia Charter at the Paris summit in April 1997. The language was gradually refined and included wording responsive to Russian security concerns that were raised in the Albright-Primakov and Talbott-Mamedov channels. Negotiations were surprisingly productive and collegial even as Russia publicly protested the NATO expansion and as opposition organized the biggest faction in the Russian Duma.

This draft is interesting because it contains numerous changes and edits made by NATO Secretary General Solana (in bold italic) which clearly address the most important Russian concerns, such as the following example: “ The members of NATO reaffirm their position that NATO has no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of any new member state nor does it foresee any future need to do so .”

doc 14

Document 14

Clinton Presidential Library, Mandatory Review 2015-0782-M-2

This candid conversation at the Clinton-Yeltsin summit in Finland in March 1997 provides the clearest expression on the Russian side of their motivations for negotiating what would become the NATO-Russia Founding Act in May 1997. Far from the “grudging endorsement” of NATO enlargement that the Americans hoped for, and far even from the “acquiescence” that the Americans later claimed in their own memoirs, Yeltsin describes his engagement on the NATO-Russian relationship as “a forced step.” The full quotation is worth emphasizing: “Our position has not changed. It remains a mistake for NATO to move eastward. But I need to take steps to alleviate the negative consequences of this for Russia. I am prepared to enter into an agreement with NATO, not because I want to but because it is a forced step. There is no other solution for today.”

In exchange, Yeltsin asks for a secret “gentlemen’s agreement – we would not write it down in the statement – that no former Soviet republics would enter NATO.” Clinton demurs, making multiple arguments against Yeltsin’s idea: that no such secret deal could be kept secret, that such a statement would be “bad for Russia” since it would say “we have still got an empire but it just can’t reach as far West,” that it would alarm the Baltics and undermine the Partnership for Peace, and even offend their summit hosts in Finland. Besides, Clinton says, “you have talked to Helmut [Kohl] and Jacques [Chirac], you know their thinking – no one is talking about a massive, all out, accelerated expansion.” Eventually, more than halfway through the conversation, the two presidents agree to move on to arms control issues.

doc 15

Document 15

Talbott thanks his main Russian counterpart for helping the U.S. delegation during their trip to Moscow to discuss cooperation with NATO and progress on the amended Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty among other issues. On CFE, the Americans feel that the Russian positions had hardened, especially regarding new NATO members. Talbott writes that there “seems to be a desire on your side to create a different set of rules for the new NATO members than those that apply to the rest of the Alliance.” The issue pertains specifically to troop levels and levels of temporary deployments in the new NATO members. Russia wants to revise the treaty to make these understandings binding. Talbott suggests that the U.S. would see it as a “red line” or an attempt to create a new treaty, rather than leaving it to individual countries to make commitments on the levels of troops and ammunition. The Deputy Secretary of State also suggests that the best way for Russia to go would be to negotiate with individual NATO members, such as Turkey and Norway, and to show restraint in its own deployment in Kaliningrad.

doc 16

Document 16

This is the first conversation between the Russian and American leaders since the start of the NATO bombing campaign of Belgrade. Clinton calls his Russian counterpart to appeal for cooperation in Yugoslavia and to assure him that “Russia in central in implementing a solution.” Clinton proposes a direct confidential channel for negotiations, naming Talbott on the U.S. side and suggesting Viktor Chernomyrdin on the Russian side—showing the U.S. grudging respect for the Russian prime minister whom the Clinton people initially considered a former communist apparatchik. Now, Clinton says, “we respect him and think he is a problem solver.” In fact, Chernomyrdin showed himself indispensable for U.S.-Russian relations in the 1990s in the framework of the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission.

Yeltsin agrees that the U.S. and Russia need to cooperate to find a solution to the Kosovo conflict, where, in his opinion, the NATO bombing created “a giant humanitarian catastrophe” and had done “significant damage” to U.S.-Russian relations. The bombing followed soon after the admission of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to NATO and was directed against a Russian ally that did not attack any NATO members. Furthermore, Russia was not consulted or even informed beforehand. Yeltsin tells Clinton that “NATO have made a big mistake” and that “quite frankly, […] the anti-American and anti-NATO sentiment in Russia keeps growing like an avalanche.” Yeltsin is under great pressure domestically to help Yugoslavia and tells Clinton that he is doing his best to keep Russia out of the conflict but his “ability to counteract those demands are [sic] limited.”

Amazingly, the conversation ends on a very cooperative, even warm, note, with Yeltsin confiding in Clinton that he is being “subjected to violent attacks and being assailed by the Communists” who want Russia to send weapons, intervene militarily and even start “a European and world-wide war.” Yeltsin says he “is absolutely opposed to that” and will cooperate with the United States on the resolution.

doc 17

Document 17

This memorandum describes the outcome of the agreement between Yeltsin and Clinton (see document above) to use the Talbott-Chernomyrdin channel to find a way out of the Kosovo debacle. Talbott reports from his meetings in Moscow where he is trying to find a resolution to the Kosovo crisis without completely damaging NATO relations with Russia. He summarizes numerous meetings he had in Moscow, including the most important one, with Chernomyrdin at a state dacha, which lasted six hours and during which Chernomyrdin gave his “grudging acceptance” that “NATO must be at the core at KFOR” and that Milosevic would accept resolution on NATO’s terms. Chernomyrdin had just come back from Belgrade where, in the course of a seven-hour meeting with Milosevic, he extracted the latter’s commitment to accept NATO as the core of KFOR. Now, Chernomyrdin was prepared to travel to negotiate the Kosovo endgame with former president of Finland Marti Ahtisaari, essentially on the basis of the NATO platform.

At the same time, Talbott expresses doubts that the Russian government and the military would accept these conditions even though they were negotiated by Chernomyrdin. (He turns out to be right. The Russian military launched an unauthorized attack and temporarily seized the Pristina airport in advance of the NATO deployment on June 12, 1999, after the formal end of the NATO operation.) Talbot cheers the fact that Chernomyrdin accepted the NATO conditions but warns the top Clinton administration officials that they should not do anything to “expose the Russians publicly,” such as making the concession on “NATO-at-the-core,” which would produce a serious domestic backlash, especially among the Russian military.

doc 18

Document 18

During the 40-minute meeting, Strobe Talbott and David Manning discuss Manning’s recent trip to Moscow and his impressions of the new Putin administration. During the meeting at the Russian Defense Ministry, Manning says “no one talked about partnership” and a lot of people exhibited old thinking. However, he also expresses his hope that “the Russians would realize that dealing constructively on NMD and NATO enlargement was in their interest.” Talbott countered that “the West might now be paying a price for seven years of successfully turning Yeltsin’s big ‘Nyet’s’ into grudging OK’s.” Turning to Putin, Talbott suggested that “the next round of NATO enlargement might be easier under Putin” compared to the experience they had with the Yeltsin administration. In his view, “while the former Russian president saw NATO in symbolic, even emotional terms, the current president appears to think more in terms of a hard-headed concept of Russia’s principal threats, namely Islamic extremism and the Chinese.”

[1] Text of letter in Frank Costigliola, “Kennan’s Warning on Ukraine: Ambition, Insecurity and Perils of Independence,” in Foreign Affairs , January 27, 2023.

Joe Biden mistakes Zelenskyy for Putin and Kamala Harris for Donald Trump in NATO gaffes

In a news conference meant to dispel questions about his fitness for office, President Biden confused his vice president for the former president.

Friday 12 July 2024 02:41, UK

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  • Biden mistakenly refers to Zelenskyy as 'President Putin'
  • James Matthews analysis: Biden blew it with his 'meme-tastic' Putin moment
  • Zelenskyy urges Biden to lift 'all limitations' on weapons
  • What's included in latest US aid package for Ukraine?
  • Russia to develop 'military response' to US missiles in Germany
  • Ivor Bennett analysis:  Deep concern in Russian coverage of NATO summit
  • Your questions answered: Has the West been honest about Ukraine's failures? | Is Kyiv next?
  • Listen to the Daily podcast above and  tap here  to follow wherever you get your podcasts

The Democrat congressman becomes the second senior lawmaker to call for Biden to stand down following his latest gaffes.

Analysis by James Matthews, US correspondent

It was Biden’s big screen test but, in truth, he rather blew it before it began.

A couple of hours before he took the stage, the president had a "Putin" moment – mistakenly introducing Ukraine's President Zelenskyy as "President Putin".

It was already the gaffe of the day.

Biden might have led a successful NATO conference but it was a meme-tastic moment to define his performance for the screen-scrolling generation, the very one he needs onside.

Joe Biden spoke economy, foreign policy and "domestic division" as he rolled out his record. 

His difficulty, by now, is an audience that can't hear one sentence for the anticipation of what he'll say next.

He was asked about Kamala Harris and he mistakenly called her "vice-president Trump".

Like the "Putin" gaffe, it was a mistake that anyone could make.  If Biden himself had made it a couple of years ago, it would have gone unnoticed.

His problem now is that every sign of infirmity, large or small, feeds into an established narrative – one that tells the story of a stubborn old president, cosseted by a government machine not listening to a growing crescendo of concern for his mental fitness.

Over the course of the news conference lasting an hour, he did actually hold it together. 

As a politician talking politics, he sounded as comfortable as it gets at the age of 81.  On the subject matter, he sounded across his brief and finished with the certainty that he was the "best qualified to govern and to win".

The uncertainty is, was it good enough?

Not for Jim Himes, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee, who called for the president to step down within minutes of the news conference ending.

On the night of the big news conference, the big question is now: how many will follow?

Joe Biden is asked what qualities his vice president has for the top job and he replies: "I wouldn't have picked her unless she was qualified to be president. From the very beginning, I made no bones about that. She's qualified to be president."

The President - in the very first question he took from the media at the NATO conference - confused Kamala Harris with Donald Trump.

When asked if he had any doubts about her ability to take the top job, he said: "I wouldn't have picked Vice President Trump to be vice president if she wasn't qualified to be president."

Joe Biden begins his closely watched solo press conference as he faces growing calls to withdraw from presidential race.

It comes shortly after a gaffe when he introduced the Ukrainian leader as "President Putin".

Sky's US correspondent James Matthews says NATO's long-term support for Ukraine is in doubt because Joe Biden's health is in doubt and that questions over his capability increase the chances of a Donald Trump presidency.

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