Are Red Passports Still Being Issued? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been busy planning your next exciting vacation somewhere exotic, but before you pack your bags, there’s something you should know. Are red passports still being issued? That’s right, the classic red passport used to signify a country’s status as a member of the European Union. However, with Brexit in full swing, many people are left wondering – is the red passport still a valid travel document?

Despite the UK’s split from the EU, the truth is that red passports are still being issued, but why? Well, the classic burgundy passport will continue to be issued until the current stock runs out. However, new UK passports have already started to be issued, and they will return to the original blue design that was used up until 1988. So, if you’re planning on travelling, you will need to double-check which passport you’re carrying, as the older bordeaux version will not allow you to travel in the same way the newly issued blue British passport would.

So, there you have it – despite the UK leaving the EU, the classic red passport is still being issued, but only until existing stocks run out. The new blue passport is making its debut and already being issued, ready for travel in the post-Brexit era. So, when planning your next getaway, just make sure to check which UK passport you have, as it’s the perfect time to start travelling again. Happy adventures!

The History of Passport Colors

The history of passport colors can be traced back to early European passports. The first known passport was issued in 1414 by King Henry V of England, and it was written in Latin. From the 15th century to the mid-19th century, passports were issued as handwritten letters, and they were generally used by diplomats and government officials for official business.

Passports became more standardized in the mid-19th century, and they began to incorporate photographs of the passport holder. It was during this time that passport colors also began to differentiate between different types of passports and their holders.

  • The first passport color to be used was brown in 1920 by the British Empire. British passports were brown until 1988 when they were changed to blue.
  • Germany also issued brown passports during World War II.
  • Green passports were used by several Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
  • Red passports were used by several socialist countries, including the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union. They were also used by member countries of the East African Community.
  • Blue passports were introduced by the United States in 1976 and many European countries followed suit, including France, Italy, and Spain. Blue passports are also used by the European Union.

The use of passport colors has continued to evolve in recent years. For example, in 2020, the United Kingdom introduced a new blue passport to replace its burgundy-colored EU passport. The blue color, while a nod to the UK’s past passport, was selected because it is associated with safety, security and confidence.

Overall, passport colors play an important role in identifying the issuing country and the status of the passport holder. Understanding the history and significance of passport colors can provide insights into the development of international travel and the role of passports in modern society.

Passport colors and their meanings

Passports come in a variety of colors, ranging from red to green to blue. Each color has its own meaning and significance, and can even say something about the citizenship of the passport holder. Here is a breakdown of the different passport colors and what they represent.

Passport colors around the world

  • Red: The most common color for passports, red is symbolic of power and strength. Red passports are typically issued by countries with a long history of democracy and political stability, such as the United States and Switzerland.
  • Blue: Blue passports are the second most common and are issued by many countries. Blue is often associated with freedom and stability, and many European Union countries have adopted blue passports to represent their membership in the bloc. The United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia also issue blue passports.
  • Green: Green passports are commonly issued by countries with a predominantly Muslim population, including Morocco, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Green represents the importance of Islam and the religion’s historical significance in Muslim countries.
  • Black: Black passports are the rarest, and are only issued by a handful of countries, including New Zealand and Zambia. Black is a symbol of power and authority, and these passports often come with special privileges, such as easier entrance into certain countries.

Passport colors and their meanings by citizenship

In addition to the country issuing the passport, the color of a passport can also indicate the citizenship of the holder. For example, a red passport issued by the United States is often associated with American citizenship, while a red passport issued by Serbia is associated with Serbian citizenship. Similarly, a green passport issued by Pakistan is primarily reserved for Pakistani citizens, while a green passport issued by Sierra Leone represents Sierra Leonean citizenship.

Passport covers and the illusion of security

While passport colors can provide an insight into a country’s history and culture, they also carry a certain amount of symbolic weight. Some people may attach greater importance to the color of their passport, believing that having a certain color will afford them greater security when traveling. However, it is important to remember that the real factors in determining security are the information contained within the passport and the traveler’s behavior and intent.

Passport color Associated countries Citizenship associations
Red United States, Switzerland, China, India American, Swiss, Chinese, Indian, Serbian, Macedonian
Blue United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, European Union countries British, Australian, Canadian, EU Member State
Green Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia Pakistani, Moroccan, Saudi Arabian, Sierra Leonean
Black New Zealand, Zambia New Zealander, Zambian

Overall, passport colors can be an interesting footnote to a travel document, but travelers should not place too much emphasis on their passport’s color or design. The real value of a passport lies in the information contained within it, such as the traveler’s identity, nationality, and other important personal details.

The Controversy of Red Passports

Red passports have become a topic of controversy in recent years. Some countries have stopped issuing these passports altogether, while others continue to do so. The controversy arises from several factors, including:

  • Political implications: Some people believe that the use of red passports denotes political affiliations or allegiances. In the United States, for example, only select individuals are given red passports, such as government officials and diplomats. This has led to some speculation that having a red passport may be seen as a status symbol or a sign of privilege.
  • Security concerns: The use of red passports has also raised concerns about security. Some countries believe that having different colored passports makes it easier to identify potential threats to national security. However, opponents argue that terrorists could easily obtain red passports, making the color coding system ineffective in preventing security threats.
  • Cultural connotations: In some cultures, the use of red is associated with danger or warning. This has led to some individuals feeling uneasy about carrying a red passport, as it may give off the wrong impression. Some countries have even opted to switch to a different color for their passports in order to avoid any cultural misunderstandings.


The controversy surrounding red passports is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. While some countries have stopped issuing these passports, others continue to use them. Ultimately, the decision to use a red passport comes down to political, cultural, and security considerations, each with its own set of pros and cons. Regardless of the color, passports remain an important tool for international travel and identification.

Countries that issue red passports

Red passports, also known as diplomatic passports, are issued to government officials and diplomats who are traveling on official business. These passports grant them special privileges and immunities when they enter foreign countries and are recognized as a symbol of diplomatic status by immigration officials. Here are some of the countries that issue red passports:

  • United States – Red passports are issued to diplomats and high-ranking government officials such as the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and Federal Judges.
  • United Kingdom – Red passports are issued to British diplomats, consuls, and high-ranking officials in Her Majesty’s Civil Service. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family also have red passports.
  • India – Red passports are issued to Indian diplomats and government officials who are traveling on official business.
  • China – Red passports are issued to high-ranking government officials and diplomats, as well as delegations representing the country in international events.

It’s important to note that not all countries issue red passports to their diplomats. Some countries, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, issue blue passports to their government officials and diplomats. However, the privileges and immunities granted to these officials are similar to those granted to holders of red passports.

Here is a table of countries that issue diplomatic passports:

Country Passport Color Issued to
United States Red Diplomats, high-ranking officials
United Kingdom Red British diplomats, consuls, high-ranking officials in Her Majesty’s Civil Service, members of the Royal Family
India Red Indian diplomats, government officials
China Red High-ranking officials, diplomats, delegations representing the country in international events

In conclusion, red passports are still being issued by several countries to their government officials and diplomats. These passports provide special privileges and immunities when traveling on official business and are recognized as a symbol of diplomatic status. If you are traveling and encounter someone with a red passport, it’s important to treat them with the respect and courtesy that their status deserves.

Differences between regular and diplomatic red passports

Red passports are often associated with individuals representing their respective countries, such as diplomats and government officials. However, there are also regular red passports that can be issued to ordinary citizens. Here are some key differences between the two:

  • Validity: Diplomatic red passports are typically valid for the duration of the individual’s term in office or assignment. Regular red passports, on the other hand, are valid for a set number of years, depending on the country.
  • Immunity: Diplomatic red passport holders are often granted diplomatic immunity, which means they are exempt from certain laws and can’t be prosecuted in the host country. Regular red passport holders do not have this privilege.
  • Function: Diplomatic red passports are primarily used for official travel and represent the individual’s role as a representative of their country. Regular red passports are used for personal travel and identification purposes.

In addition to these differences, there may also be variations in appearance and security features between regular and diplomatic red passports. For example, some countries may include additional pages or markings on diplomatic passports to indicate a higher level of authority. Similarly, diplomatic passports may have more robust security features to prevent forgery and tampering.

Common Features of Red Passports

While red passports may differ in terms of their intended use, there are some common features that can be found across different countries:

  • Color: The most obvious commonality is the red color, which is meant to signify the official nature of the document and the importance of the individual carrying it.
  • Biographical information: All red passports will include basic identifying information such as name, date of birth, and photograph.
  • Security features: To prevent fraud and ensure authenticity, red passports will typically include a variety of security features such as watermarks, holograms, and microprinting.

Examples of Red Passports Around the World

While many countries issue red passports to diplomats, only a select few also offer them to regular citizens. Here are a few examples:

Country Type of Red Passport
China Regular and Diplomatic
Russia Regular and Diplomatic
Turkey Regular
Vietnam Regular

It’s worth noting that the specific design and security features of these passports may vary depending on the issuing country. However, the common thread of the red cover and identifying biographical information remains constant.

The Process of Obtaining a Red Passport

If you’re a traveler with a sense of adventure, the red passport might be just what you need to spice up your trips. This type of passport is different from the typical blue cover that most citizens hold; it’s issued to diplomats, government agencies, and other officials who travel on official business. But how can a regular traveler obtain this unique passport? Let’s dive deeper.

First, it’s important to note that red passports are not available to the public. They are issued only to individuals who meet specific criteria and fulfill certain requirements. However, if you work for the government or are part of an organization that requires one, you may be able to obtain a red passport.

  • Step One: Determine if you Qualify
  • Before you apply for a red passport, take the time to research whether you qualify for one. These passports are typically issued to people who travel frequently on official government business. Embassy staff, federal agents, and other government officials are just some of the types of people who may be eligible.

  • Step Two: Obtain a Letter of Authorization
  • If you are part of an organization that requires a red passport, you will need to request a letter of authorization from your employer. This letter will explain why you need a red passport and will give the State Department the necessary information to process your application.

  • Step Three: Fill out the DS-82 Form
  • Once you have determined that you qualify for a red passport and have obtained your letter of authorization, you will need to fill out a DS-82 form. This form is used for passport renewals and name changes, but can also be used to apply for an official or diplomatic passport. Be sure to fill out the form completely and accurately, and provide any additional documentation required.

  • Step Four: Submit your Application
  • When you have filled out your DS-82 form and gathered all necessary documentation, you’re ready to submit your application. You can do this in person at a passport agency or acceptance facility or by mail. If you’re applying by mail, make sure you use a secure delivery method to minimize the risk of your passport being lost in transit.

Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will receive your red passport in the mail. It’s important to note that the processing time for red passports is longer than for regular blue passports, so be sure to allow plenty of time before your next trip. Additionally, red passports generally have fewer pages than blue passports, so if you are a frequent traveler, you may need to obtain additional pages or renew your passport more frequently.

Pros of a Red Passport Cons of a Red Passport
Less crowded passport lines at customs May attract unwanted attention from some countries
Extra pages can be added for frequent travelers Longer processing time than regular blue passports
May make a traveler feel more elite or important Not available to the general public

Overall, obtaining a red passport is a process that requires a bit of work, but it can be a worthwhile investment if you travel frequently for government business or are part of a qualified organization. Just be sure to research the criteria for eligibility and allow plenty of time for processing before your next adventure.

Security features of red passports

Red passports, also known as diplomatic passports, are the highest level of passport issued by a country’s government. These passports are reserved for diplomats and other government officials who need to travel internationally for official purposes. One of the key features of red passports is their security features, which are designed to prevent fraud and unauthorized use of the passport. Here are some of the key security features of red passports:

  • Optical Variable Ink (OVI): Red passports use OVI to create a holographic image on the passport’s data page. This image is designed to be difficult to replicate, and helps prevent counterfeiting.
  • Machine Readable Zone (MRZ): All passports have an MRZ, which contains the passport holder’s personal information in a machine-readable format. Red passports also include an MRZ on the back cover of the passport, which helps prevent fraudulent use of the passport.
  • Microprinting: Microprinting is used on the data page of red passports, which makes it difficult to replicate the passport without detection. Microprinting consists of tiny text that is difficult to read without a magnifying glass.

In addition to these security features, red passports also include a number of other security measures. Here are some of the additional security measures that are used to prevent fraud and unauthorized use of the passport:

  • Secure lamination: Red passports are laminated with a special material that makes it difficult to alter or remove the passport’s information without detection.
  • Various security features: These include watermarks, security threads, and other features that are designed to make it difficult to alter or replicate the passport without detection.
  • Bio-metrics: Many red passports now include biometric features, such as facial recognition or fingerprints, which help prevent fraudulent use of the passport.


Overall, red passports contain a range of security features designed to prevent fraud and unauthorized use of the passport. These features include optical variable ink, machine-readable zones, microprinting, secure lamination, and various other security features. By using these features, governments can ensure that only authorized individuals are able to use red passports for official purposes.

Are Red Passports Still Being Issued FAQs

Q1: What are red passports?
A1: Red passports are traditional passports that the UK government phased out in 1988 and replaced them with burgundy-colored ones.

Q2: Why were red passports replaced?
A2: The UK government made the decision to replace red passports with burgundy ones to conform to the European Union’s standard color for passports.

Q3: Are red passports still valid?
A3: No, red passports are no longer valid as they have been replaced by burgundy ones.

Q4: Can I apply for a red passport?
A4: No, you cannot apply for a red passport as they are no longer issued by the UK government.

Q5: Are there any exceptions for red passports?
A5: No, there are no exceptions for red passports. They have been fully phased out and replaced with burgundy passports.

Q6: Can I still travel with my red passport?
A6: No, you cannot travel with a red passport as it is no longer valid.

Q7: How long have burgundy passports been in use?
A7: Burgundy passports have been in use since 1988, when they were introduced to replace red passports.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading our article about are red passports still being issued. We hope that we’ve been able to clarify any questions you may have had about this topic. Remember, red passports are no longer issued and have been replaced with burgundy ones. Please visit us again for more informative articles!