A passport is your key to traveling the world and exploring other countries. When going through passport control, you’ve probably noticed how passports don’t come in all colors of the rainbow. On the other hand, passports only come in different shades of each of the four main color groups: red, blue, green and black. Somewhat surprisingly, the color of your passport follows no strict system, guidelines or regulations dictating the color of country categorization, but the colors aren’t totally random either.
There are many different reasons why countries opt for a particular color of their passport. Read the theories behind each country’s passport color choice.
Red is the most common passport color. Most countries in the European Union choose to sport a red passport. (Croatia went blue!) Current members of the Andean Community, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru, also have deep red passports.
Slovenia, Russia, Latvia, Romania, Poland, Georgia, and China also have red passports, some say it is because of their historical or current communist system.
Some nations opt for colors that reflect their individual character and identity. For example, Switzerland’s passport is a bright red, to match their flag.
Many US passport holders are familiar with deep blue shade of their passport. The second most popular passport color is said to symbolize the ‘new world’. So, 15 Caribbean countries, Canada and United States sport the blue cover.
Further down south, the South American continent, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay also use a blue passport – the cover symbolizes the connection with the Mercosur trade union.
For some countries, it’s about faith. “Most Islamic states use green passports because of the importance of the color in their religion,” said Passport Index Vice President of Marketing Hrant Boghossian. A few examples are Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.
The citizens of several West African countries, Nigeria, Niger, the Ivory Coast, also have travel documents that are various shades of green. In their case, the color indicates that they belong to ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States).
Black is the rarest of passport colors. New Zealanders sport a black passports because it is their country’s national color. A handful of African countries also chose black for their passport color, like Zambia, Angola, Congo, and Malawi. Some say, it’s because darker colors show less wear and tear and look more official and proper.
Various reasons come into play why countries opt for a particular passport color. Though culture and history can affect the color decisions, they can also be about aesthetics, or totally random like Mexico (Green) and Turkey (Red). So next time you are in an airport, take a look around and see how many different passport colors you see!