What does your passport color say about your nation?


A passport can be a ticket to salvation or vacation. What does your passport mean to you? Source: Shutterstock.com

EVER wondered why your fellow passengers often have a different-colored passport?

The airport can be a mind-boggling place, prompting a wild sense of curiosity for things that don’t normally enter your everyday thoughts. This often includes an inquisitiveness as to why passports are different colors.

There is more to it than just a flamboyant designer having some fun, we can assure you.

According to Hrant Boghossian, the vice president of the interactive passport database Passport Index by Arton Group, all passports are derived from just four colors: red, green, blue and black.

However, “within each color hue, we see vast variations,” he told The Telegraph. “There are in fact many passport colors.”

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) dictates the format of a passport, such as size, but governments can choose the color, images and inscriptions. In most cases, the color doesn’t represent strict rules, but rather a country’s religious ideologies or a symbolization of its history.

For example, predominantly Muslim countries such as Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have green passports as it is a significant factor in the Islamic religion, and is believed to be Prophet Mohammed’s favorite color. It also symbolizes nature and life and features on the Afghanistani and Iranian national flags.

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Most European countries go for deep reds, such as burgundy or scarlet, to indicate their unification. Turkey recently rebranded to a burgundy passport in the hope of becoming a member of the European Union, much like a teenager dyeing their hair to keep up with social trends.

Soon, the UK will be changing back to blue passports for the first time since 1988 as it leaves the European Union.

Other nations, such as Singapore and Switzerland, want their citizens to stand out in the security line with their bright red passports, while Canada issues a white temporary travelers book to those who have misplaced or had their official documents stolen.

Blue passports, held by US citizens, supposedly represent the New World, but it hasn’t always been the case. The US has had a series of different colors, which is normally dictated by the color of the card available at the passport manufacturers. Since there are very few passport makers in the world, the color of the identification documents is subject to change.

A blue passport may seem like a powerful thing as US citizens can access 158 countries without a visa, but Syrians, who also obtain a blue passport, can only travel to 32 countries visa-free.

As of 2018, possessing a German passport will allow you into 161 countries without a visa, making it the most powerful passport in the world.

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Aside from power and substance, which passport is the most stylish?

Recently, Norway completely redesigned its passport and is now respected as the world’s sleekest and most beautiful passport.

Each page has been thoughtfully designed by Neue Design Studio, to make it relevant and rather remarkable. A choice of three colors, from turquoise, white or subtle red, give the passports a calm and less serious image.

The design is based on the Norwegian landscape, so holders, border controllers, and admirers can expect to see mountainous ranges and the elusive Northern Lights within the pages. The center page also glows under UV light, for an extra special touch.