Passport Colors: Influence of History and Politics

Passports are more than just a travel document; they are a symbol of national sovereignty and a claim to statehood. While their design and security features have undergone significant changes over the years, one aspect that remains constant is the color of the passport cover. The color of a passport can signify a lot about a country, its culture, and its relationship with other nations. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at passport colors, their significance, and why they matter. passport colors matter

The Influence of History and Politics

Passports have been around for centuries, but the standardization of their design and format is a relatively recent development. The idea of harmonizing passports across countries is a sign of cooperation and can be a slow process. The European Union, for example, took years to settle on the color of its passport cover, which is now burgundy red.

In South Sudan, the national coat of arms resembles the Great Seal of the United States, and its passport cover is blue and eagle-crested, similar to the American travel document. This may be a gesture of gratitude for America’s support during South Sudan’s struggle for independence. Similarly, America’s first passport cover was beige in 1918, but it changed colors several times over the years. It turned blue in 1976, matching the shade in the American flag.

Colors That Reflect Culture and Religion  passport colors matter

Countries often choose passport colors that reflect their culture or religion. Islamic countries typically have green passport covers, although Germany’s passport used to be that color, as are those of members of the Economic Community of West African States. Countries like Japan and Turkey have red passport covers, which are a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Australia’s passport cover is deep blue, which represents its national identity, while New Zealand’s is black, which symbolizes its cultural heritage.


Colors That Show Authority and Dignity

Dark colors are popular for passport covers because they show dirt less, heighten the contrast with the crest, and look more official. Police wear dark uniforms for similar reasons. Some countries also use dark colors to convey their authority and dignity. The Andean Community in South America, for example, favors wine-colored passports, while MERCOSUR and CARICOM prefer an American-style dark blue. passport colors matter

Colors That Are Fun and Unique

Some countries issue fun-colored passports, although they are typically reserved for emergency travel documents or for children. Sweden and the Netherlands, for example, issue pink emergency travel documents for nationals who have lost their passports. Meanwhile, the Republic of Seychelles has a turquoise passport cover that features an image of its native giant tortoise. Other unique passport covers include Norway’s, which features a moose, and Canada’s, which has a holographic maple leaf.

Conclusion passport colors matter

Passport colors may seem like a small detail, but they can carry a lot of meaning and significance. They can be a symbol of a country’s culture, religion, history, or relationship with other nations. They can convey authority and dignity, or they can be fun and unique. As passport designs and security features continue to evolve, it will be interesting to see how passport colors develop and change over time.