On the surface, passports are fairly simple, little books identifying you and with pages for visas. Inside though there are a lot of little secrets. These are 10 passport secrets you might not know about.

1. Passport Blues

The standard United States passport wasn’t always blue. This change happened in 1976 and before that were red, then green. The British passport was blue until 1988, when it became burgundy, the preferred color of European nations.

2. Color Choices

Passport national colors don’t have any international standard and countries can choose the color they prefer and often reflect cultural identity. Predominantly Muslim countries prefer green, but Turkey has a burgundy passport, closer to the European standard. Switzerland has a bright red passport.

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passports

3. More Colors


The colors of passports within a given country go vary however and can denote diplomatic or refugee status.

4. Holograms

Holograms in passports are used because they are difficult to forge and the machines to print them aren’t easy to come by.

5. Complicated Configuration

U.S. passports are printed at the U.S. Government Printing Office using 60 different materials.

6. Special Inks

Many passports contain special inks, that change color when heated or cooled, or otherwise might dissolve when tampered with. Your passport likely also has UV inks, visible under UV lights only.

7. Light And Angles

What’s known as optically variable inks are also used, meaning they shift colors depending on the angle you’re viewing them at.

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8. Anti-Scan Technology

Also invisible to the naked eye are anti-scan patterns that prevent you from scanning or photocopying a passport without those patterns being added.

9. Small Text

Some of the text on your passport can be as small as a micron.

10. RFID Embedded

You’re probably familiar with this logo for radio-frequency identification or RFID chips which can be scanned.

passport RFID

You can learn more about your passport secrets in this video!