Ever wondered why your passport is the colour it is? Do the colours mean something? Is there a political reason? They can only ever be a shade of four sombre colours. Read on to find out about passport colours around the world.
Quick facts about passports
- The Norwegian passport displays the Northern Lights under a UV light.
- Queen Elizabeth II does not have a passport.
- The Pope carries Vatican Passport No. 1, alought The Vatican has no immigration control.
- The Nicaraguan passport is the least forgeable with 89 security features.
- Passports only needed photographs after WW1.
What are the passport colours around the world?
The main colours are blue, red, green and black. For example, the Albanian passport is a burgundy, with the Estonian passport more of a conventional red colour.
How many passports are there of each colour?
The most common is blue, with 83 countries either blue or shaded blue. Next is red with 67 countries, followed by green with 42 countries, and black with only seven countries belonging to this group.
Why are these colours chosen?
The reason is quite simply that they hide dirt and damage. Plus, they look more official too.
Are all passports the same size?
While The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommends a size of 125mm x 88mm, there is no formal size requirement.
Are passports made of the same material?
Requirements include that a passport must not be a made of rigid material, they need to bend so they can be read by machines in temperatures from -10C to 50C and between 5% and 95% humidity.
Do countries in specific regions use the same passport colour?
Yes. The European Union uses red, or a shade of red, except Croatia which uses blue. Many Islamic countries favour green for religious reasons, and as a colour of nature and life.
Do countries change their passport colours?
Yes. Since March 2020, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland passport changed from burgundy to navy blue. The design change rolled out over several months, and all newly issued passports are navy blue.
Conversely, Turkey changed its passport from black to burgundy in 2010, in readiness for when they join the EU. The US passport has been three out of the four colours. Firstly red, then green and in 1976 changed to blue.
Do any countries have exactly the same passport colour?
No. The passport colours differ for each country. While they might look the same to the naked eye, they are different colour shades.
More information on passport colours around the world
The Passport Index – for all the passport colours around the world.
With you passport in one hand, read our post on the others things you need to travel comfortably.