Without a passport, its virtually impossible to travel beyond your own borders these days. When standing in the passport control queue, I often glance around the room and lock on to the passport of other passengers which are held tightly in their hands, as they shuffle ever closer to the immigration counter.
Generally speaking, passports are available in four standard colors, represented as blue, green, red or black according to Arton Capital, an organization which operates the interactive passport database Passport Index. It's the number of shades which comprise the main variation in passport covers around the world today, and there are many shades indeed.
Why Are Passports A Particular Color?
The reasons behind a country selecting one particular cover over another can vary for a number of reasons. There may be geographical and political motives for using certain colors. For example those with a red cover may be representative of former communist nations, while a passport in a shade of blue may be linked to those symbolizing the new world, including Australia, North and South America.
Most Islamic nations are represented by a green passport, which may be a reflection of the importance of the color in their religion, as the color green is thought to have been the Prophet Muhammad's favorite color. Green is also considered to be a symbol of nature and life in Islamic culture.
Other nations offer up a more modern design approach to the design of their passports, reflecting a unique identity in the world, such as Switzerland, whose passport is bright red in color.
What Is A Passport's Value?
The actual value of a passport for travelers is considered to be calculated around it's 'visa-free score' status, meaning the number of countries that allow the holder of that passport entry to other countries without requiring a visa.
In 2017, the top 6 groups are ranked as follows by the Global Passport Index which show the number of countries a passport holder of the respective country can enter visa free.
- Germany (visa-free score: 159)
- Sweden, Singapore (158)
- Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Norway, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States of America (157)
- Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Japan (156)
- Malaysia, Ireland, Canada (155)
- Greece, New Zealand, Australia (154)
Who Prints Your Passport?
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for printing your nations passport? Passport printing is a high stakes job, with only the most secure companies and facilities up to the task. There are a number of security features the go into the manufacture of a passport including special holograms, fibers, tamper proof materials and electronic information, making it almost to impossible to forge or counterfeit.
The unique manufacturing specifications used for the production of passports around the world, are set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, however each country can select which security features to include, or exclude in its passport. In Australia for example, passports are printed by Fujitsu Australia, in Germany, Bundesdruckerei and in the United Kingdom its De La Rue.