While checking in at an airport, we often come across passports of different colors belonging to different nations. The order of events before a flight at an airport are interesting enough to suppress our curiosity to know the reason behind our colorful passport.
The color of your passport though, has a lot more to it than you think. The passports of 193 different UN member countries are basically of four primary colors. Shades may vary but the base remains one of red, blue, green or black. The rules that determine the appearance of passports are issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The choice of passport color by a country also varies. Every country has a different reason for selecting the colour of their passport. We have tried to explain the reason as to why the color of your passport is the way it is.
Red is the most common passport color across the globe. It is common amongst the member nations of the European Union (EU). The red cover is argued to be chosen by a country because of its past communist history or a present communist system. Regular EU passports are burgundy red while that of Switzerland stands out as bright red. Turkey, changed its passport color to burgundy with a hope of joining the EU. The other significant countries that have a red passport include China, Serbia, Russia, Poland and Colombia.
The second most common color for a passport cover is blue. From America to India, many countries prefer a blue cover for their national passport. The 15 Caribbean countries of the CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) too prefer a blue passport. The blue color symbolises the New World and thus the countries that support the New World use a blue passport. Also, a group of South American countries including Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay use a blue passport to show their connection with Mercosur, a trade union.
Green colored passports are common for Islamic countries. These include Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Green is believed to be the favorite color of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and is also considered to be a symbol of nature and peace. That is also one of the reasons why many Muslim countries have that color on their flags too. Apart from that, a group of African countries including Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Senegal have a green passport to show their allegiance to ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).
The rarest passports are the ones with a black cover. Not many countries prefer a black color because of different reasons. The countries that do use black passports include a few African nations like Zambia, Congo, Chad, Malawi and others. New Zealand uses black passports as it is the country’s national color.
Here is a world map painted according to the color of passport issued in each country.
Now Indian passport comes in DARK NAVY BLUE color so don’t confuse it with BLACK
It should also be noted that a single country can issue differently colored passports to differentiate civilians, officials and diplomats. For example, the Indian Government issues passports in three different colors; blue for regular passport, white for official passport and maroon for a diplomatic passport. In Turkey, a green passport is issued to people who are allowed to travel visa free to a few countries.
Apart from the reasons mentioned above, the passports are of the four colors because of their availability and durability. Wasn’t that an interesting piece of information? Do let us know your views about the colorful existence of passports in our comments section below.