Revealed: The hidden codes of passports

Revealed: The hidden codes of passports

Apart from the confusing border stamps, passports are full of weird, hidden codes.

From its colour to the rectangle on the front and even the size, passports a full of secret symbols.


But what does it all mean?

Well, that Aboriginal flag-looking symbol on the front of Aussie passports is not, in fact, an Aboriginal flag.

It’s actually the code to indicate the passport is an ePassport.

We know, we’ve been wrong this whole time too.

But what about the colours?

Turns out, there’s a reason passports are either blue, red, green and sometimes black.

And it’s not because the passport printer ran out of ink.

According to a recent article from, the colours signify go well beyond the printing process.

The colour of your passports can be influenced by political, geographical and even religious reasons.

As per, “It’s mainly because passports reflect national identity, says Hrant Boghossian, the vice president of marketing at financial advisory firm Arton Capital, which runs the Passport Index website”.

Blue passports

Front cover of an Australian passport.

Some of the countries with blue passports:

  • Australia
  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong

According to Boghossian, blue passports might be indicative of “New World” countries.

Boghossian also said it was important to notice the different shades of blue, as most “blue passports” are darker, though countries like Fiji have a bright blue colour, possibly reflecting the country’s flag.

America also changed its passport colour from green to blue in 1976, also similiar to the nation’s flag colours.

Red passports

China passport closeup

Some of the countries with red passports:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Turkey
  • Singapore
  • Cyprus

“Some could argue that the burgundy red is due to a past communist history,” Boghossian said.

In December, the UK said it would be changing the current red passport back to the original blue to represent its exit from the EU.

Theresa May said it would be an “expression of [Britain’s] independence and sovereignty” away from the union.

Green passports

Mexican passport

Some of the countries with green passports:

  • Egypt
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Zimbabwe
  • Ivory Coast

Countries including Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Pakistan and Burkina Faso have green passports for religious reasons as the colour is believed to have been a favourite colour of the Prophet Mohammed

“Most Islamic states use green passports because of the importance of the colour in their religion,” Boghossian said.

Black passports

New and old New Zealand passports

Some of the countries with black passports:

  • New Zealand
  • Palestine
  • India
  • Croatia
  • Greece

According to, “While less common, no-nonsense black is the colour adopted for passports in a handful of countries including the Palestinian Territories and New Zealand, where black is a colour of national significance”.

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