by Lauren Brown November 10, 2017

A passport is a document issued by a government to allow a citizen to travel to different countries. Depending on where you’re from, a passport can say a lot about your country and your personal photo taking skills. Let’s face it; taking a nice passport photo is tough!

Passports must be in regulation in terms of size, format, layout, technology, and issued by the government. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) sets the passport standards. Each country may design their national passport and pick a color.


Passport colors are typically a shade of red, black, green, and blue. Passports from the European Union are typically a red or burgundy color and passports from the Caribbean are usually a shade of blue. This could be for geographical reasons or perhaps political reasons too. Other passports are a certain color due to religious significance. Several Muslim countries have passports that are various shades of green. Green is believed to have been one of Prophet Muhammad’s favorite colors that symbolize nature and life. Singapore has a very bright orange passport that perhaps just stands out from other countries. The United States bears a navy blue passport cover since 1976 to match the American flag. The first US passport was red and since then it was once green, burgundy, and black.

Interestingly, only a few companies produce passports. The hard cardstock used for passports comes from a third party and only is produced in certain colors in order to meet each government’s regulations. Finland designs their cardstock so that when you flip through the book quickly you will see a reindeer running.

While the shade of the passport may be simple or even dull, each country has special designs imbedded into the passport. Several countries even have artwork that only appears under a UV light for added security. On the front cover of the American passport is the Coat of Arms with “PASSPORT” written at the top and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” is written at the bottom. A passport will also have the words “OFFICIAL” or “DIPLOMATIC” if relatable written at the very top. In 2007 the United States added 13 quotes within the 28-page passport all with a variety of patriotic symbols on the backgrounds of the pages.

On the inside of the passport, there is a visual zone that has a machine-readable area. The information included is a photograph, the type of document, code, passport number, surname, first name, nationality, date of birth, place of birth, sex, date of issue, date of expiration, authority, and endorsements.

The colors and designs might be pretty, but what really matters is where the passport is issued from. Both the United States and Syria have blue passports yet Syria is ranked as one of the worst in terms of only allowing citizens access to 32 countries without a visa. Afghanistan is the worst passport to carry since it only allows citizens to go to 25 countries. Pakistan allows citizens to go to 29 countries and Iraq allows for citizens to go to 30 countries. The United States along with 6 other countries comes in third in the world. These 7 countries allow for citizens to enter 175 countries. Sweden and Singapore allow for citizens to enter 176 countries. Germany takes the gold allowing citizens to enter 177 countries without a visa.

When entering or exiting a country, passport stamps are placed on a page in the book. Some countries use stickers while most countries use ink. Some countries such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom only stamp passports upon entry. Typically at airports and actual borders you come across immigration control or customs in order to cross into another country. From cruise ships you typically don’t require a passport stamp since you are already cleared into port.

Whether traveling by air, boat, car, or foot, make sure to read up on your countries latest regulations as far as passports are concerned and always make sure to renew your passport so that it does not expire.



Lauren Brown

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