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Passports of the European Union: Wikis


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As the European Union does not issue a single common passport, Passports of the European Union refers to the different passports issued by the 27 nations of the EU. European passports share common design features[1] such as the burgundy coloured cover, the use of the words "European Union" (before 1997: "European Community") in 23 of the EU official languages on the first page, as well as common security features and biometrics.[2] Some EU countries also issue non-European passports to people whose citizenship of that country does not make them citizens of the European Union (e.g., British Overseas Territories citizens, British National (Overseas)).[3]


Common design features

Since 1980s, the European Union member states have started to harmonise the following aspects of the designs of their passports:[1]


Overall format

Cover page

Information on the cover, in this order, in the language(s) of the issuing state:

  • The words "European Union - EU" (before 1997: "European Community")
  • Name of the issuing state (similar typeface as "European Union")
  • Emblem of the state
  • The word "Passport"

First page

Information on the first page, in some of the official languages of the European Union:

  • The words "European Union"
  • Name of the issuing state (similar typeface to that of "European Union")
  • The word "Passport"
  • Serial number (may also be repeated on the other pages)

Identification page

Information on the (possibly laminated) identification page, in the languages of the issuing state plus English and French, accompanied by numbers that refer to an index that lists the meaning of these fields in all official EU languages:

1. Surname 2. Forename(s)
3. Nationality 4. Date of birth
5. Sex 6. Place of birth
7. Date of issue     8. Date of expiry
9. Authority 10. Signature of holder

Following page

Optional information on the following page (not available on all EU passports):

11. Residence 12. Height
13. Colour of eyes     14. Extension of the passport
15. Name at birth (if now using married name or have legally changed names)

Remaining pages

  • The following page is reserved for:
    • Details concerning the spouse of the holder of the passport (where a family passport is issued)
    • Details concerning children accompanying the holder (name, first name, date of birth, sex)
    • Photographs of spouse and children
  • The following page is reserved for use by the issuing authorities
  • The following page carries the index that translates the field numbers into the official languages of the EU
  • The following pages are reserved for visa
  • The inside back cover is reserved for additional information or recommendations by the issuing state in its own official language(s)

Visa-free harmonisation

Although member states issue their own passports, the EU countries in the Schengen area have a common visa policy. The EU is also working to achieve visa mutuality, respective to all member states. For example, today all EU passport holders are allowed to visit Mexico under the same conditions.

It is a political goal of the European Union to achieve freedom from visa requirements for citizens of the European Union at least in such countries the citizens of which may enter the Schengen area without visa. To this end, the European Commission negotiates with third-countries, the citizens of which do not require visas to enter the Schengen area for short-term stays, about the abolishment of visa requirements which exist for at least some EU member states. The European Commission involves the members state concerned into the negotiations, and has to frequently report on the mutuality situation to the European Parliament and the Council.[4] The Commission may recommend the temporary restoration of the visa requirement for nationals of the third country in question.

The European Commission has dealt with the question of mutuality of the abolishment of visa requirements towards third countries on the highest political level. Currently there are three countries with which mutuality has yet to be achieved : Brazil, Canada and the United States [5] With respect to the U.S. it suggests to examine the effects of new legislation enacted there, but reserves itself “the right to propose retaliatory measures”.[6]

Gallery of EU passports

Issues related to the European Passport


  1. ^ a b "Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of the European Communities, meeting within the Council of 23 June 1981". 
  2. ^ Council Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States
  3. ^ Non-European lookalike passports, UK Passport office
  4. ^ Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement, 15 March 2001.
  5. ^ Brazil requires visas by citizens of Cyprus, Malta and the 3 Baltic States, Canada by citizens of the Czech Republic, Bulgaria & Romania,the United States by citizens of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Romania
  6. ^ Third report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on certain third countries' maintenance of visa requirements in breach of the principle of reciprocity, Commission of the European Communities, COM (2007) 533, 13 September 2007.


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