How Is Snowden Traveling Without a Passport? Ecuador has issued him a special refugee visa By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Jun 25, 2013 9:30 AM CDT 24 comments Comments You don't strictly need one of these to travel, but it sure helps. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Edward Snowden is quite the jet-setter these days (when he shows up for his flight anyway)—even though the State Department has revoked his passport. How is that possible? It's because he is, at least as far as Ecuador is concerned, a refugee. Passports, the BBC explains, are really only necessary if the receiving nation demands them; refugees are often accepted with alternative documents, or in some cases no documents at all. The US, for instance, accepts about 60,000 refugees a year; they're vetted by Homeland Security and then issued an I-94 document that will give them passage through any intervening nations. Snowden reportedly traveled from Hong Kong to Moscow on his US passport, but Ecuador has now issued him a "special refugee travel document," according to Julian Assange, which should be enough to get him there.