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Q: Colors of passport covers ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Colors of passport covers
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: zhiwenchong-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 19 Aug 2002 11:09 PDT
Expires: 18 Sep 2002 11:09 PDT
Question ID: 56262
I have always wondered if there's any special significance attached
to colors of passports covers e.g. black for the U.S. (though I've
seen dark green ones), red or black for Japan etc.

Is there?
Subject: Re: Colors of passport covers
Answered By: knowledge_seeker-ga on 19 Aug 2002 14:27 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

The short answer to your question is YES there is special significance
to different colors of passports.  The colors vary between countries
allowing for quick identification of nationality. Also, colors vary
within countries depending on the passport holder's status.

Below are some sample links describing the colors and roles of various
passports ---

The red passport is issued ‘only to government officials’ visiting
abroad on a diplomatic mission or an important programme. There are at
least 5,000 such passport holders who have been found misusing them, a
government official said Monday on condition of anonymity.


Civilian employees of the U.S. and family members are not exempt from
passport requirements.   .. DOD civilian employees and family members
who do not possess either the official (red) passport or a "no fee"
passport must have a tourist passport when traveling between

If grantee is already a holder of an official (red) passport, he/she
shall submit it to the DFA for revalidation.

If you had a red passport, you barely had to stop.  I fell under
"other nationals" with my blue US passport and stood in the short line
to speak with UK immigration.

"That same year, the Canadian Citizenship Act, which stipulates that
only Canadian citizens are eligible for a Canadian passport, came into
effect. The familiar blue passport booklet with pale pink pages
similar to the booklets with blue pages issued to British subjects
appeared at that time."

" Sergei Zaletin, the commander of the last mission to Mir, had also
been slated to go on this mission, but was unable to because of
bureaucratic difficulties. Russian citizens have three types of
passports: green (diplomatic), blue (business) and red (regular).
Cosmonaut Zaletin, like all members of the Russian military, has a
blue passport. Blue passport holders can only get visas through the
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- a lengthy and complicated

13.4. Renewal of Blue Passport for Refugees and Persons without

For further information, follow my search strategy for other colors
besides red and blue.

US  "BLUE passport"
US "Red passport"

Note: I found that if I used a country abbreviation (UK or UK) in my
search terms I got better results. There are too many products called
"Passport" that come in various colors.  :-):

Thanks for an interesting question --

zhiwenchong-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
thank you for your answer. thanks to others who added comments.

Subject: Re: Colors of passport covers
From: iaint-ga on 19 Aug 2002 11:32 PDT
Hi zhiwenchong

I haven't done any formal research on this one way or another, so I'm
just jotting a bit of information down here about the United Kingdom
passport, as a comment.

The UK passport used to be a dark blue colour until 1988, when as a
result of two things, the International Civil Aviation Authority's new
international standard for machine-readable passports, and the
decision of the EU to introduce a common passport format for its
member states, the UK passport was changed to a purpley-red colour.
The change in colour had no bearing on the status of the passport
itself (it's still a British passport, not a European one), so I
suspect that globally passport colours are chosen merely for local
reasons, and not as part of some grand significant plan.

A full history of the British passport can be found at (and links
from that page).


Google search criteria used:
UK passport blue red
Subject: Re: Colors of passport covers
From: blazius-ga on 19 Aug 2002 12:06 PDT
My country issues passports of (at least) three different colours: 
Ordinary passports are red, diplomatic passports are black, and
immigrant "passports" (which aren't actually passports, but identity
cards) have a blue colour.
Subject: Re: Colors of passport covers
From: mvguy-ga on 19 Aug 2002 12:22 PDT
My U.S. passport is dark blue, for whatever that's worth.
Subject: Re: Colors of passport covers
From: hipraiser-ga on 20 Aug 2002 14:19 PDT
My US Passport is dark green and I don't know why?

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