Passports of the European Union

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All ordinary passports issued by EU countries share common design elements

The European Union itself does not issue ordinary passports, but ordinary passports issued by its 28 member states share a common cover design.[1] This common design features burgundy-coloured covers emblazoned with the title "European Union" in the official language(s) of the issuing country (and, sometimes, its translation into English[2]), followed by the name(s) of the member state, its coat of arms, the word "PASSPORT" (or a translation) together with the Biometric passport symbol of EPassport logo.svg at the bottom centre of the front cover.[3][citation needed]

Some EU member states also issue non-EU passports to certain people who have a nationality which does not render them citizens of the European Union (e.g., British Overseas Territories Citizens except those with a connection to Gibraltar, British Protected Persons and British Subjects).[4]

In addition, the European Commission issues European Union Laissez-Passers to the members and certain civil servants of its institutions.[citation needed]


With a valid passport, EU citizens are entitled to exercise the right of free movement (meaning they do not need a visa) in the European Economic Area (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and Switzerland.[5]

When going through border controls to enter an EEA country, EU citizens possessing valid biometric passports are sometimes able to use automated gates instead of immigration counters. For example, when entering the United Kingdom, at major airports, adult holders of EU biometric passports can use ePassport gates, whilst all other EU citizens (such as those using a national identity card or a non-biometric passport) and non-EEA citizens must use an immigration counter. Anyone travelling with children must also use an immigration counter.[6]

As an alternative to holding a passport, EU citizens can also use a valid national identity card to exercise their right of free movement within the EEA and Switzerland.[7] Strictly speaking, it is not necessary for an EU citizen to possess a valid passport or national identity card to enter the EEA or Switzerland. In theory, if an EU citizen outside of both the EEA and Switzerland can prove his/her nationality by any other means (e.g. by presenting an expired passport or national identity card, or a citizenship certificate), he/she must be permitted to enter the EEA or Switzerland. An EU citizen who is unable to demonstrate his/her nationality satisfactorily must nonetheless be given 'every reasonable opportunity' to obtain the necessary documents or to have them delivered within a reasonable period of time.[8][9][10]

Common design features[edit]

Since the 1980s, European Union member states have started to harmonise the following aspects of the designs of their ordinary passports (but not other types of passports, such as diplomatic, service and emergency passports):[1]

Overall format[edit]

  • Paper size B7 (ISO/IEC 7810 ID-3, 88 mm × 125 mm)
  • 32 pages (passports with more pages can be issued to frequent travellers)
  • Colour of cover: burgundy red


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

  • The words "EUROPEAN UNION" (before 1997: "EUROPEAN COMMUNITY")
  • Name of the issuing state (similar typeface as "EUROPEAN UNION")
  • Emblem of the state
  • The word "PASSPORT"
  • The Biometric Passport symbol

First page[edit]

Information on the first page, in one or more of the 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[edit]

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

Different spellings of the same name within the same document[edit]

Names containing non-English letters are usually spelled in the correct way in the non-machine-readable zone of the passport, but are mapped according to the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the machine-readable zone, e.g. the German umlauts (ä, ö, ü) and the letter ß are mapped as AE / OE / UE and SS, so Müller becomes MUELLER, Groß becomes GROSS, and Gößmann becomes GOESSMANN.

The ICAO mapping is mostly used for computer-generated and internationally used documents such as air tickets, but sometimes (like in US visas) also simple letters are used (MULLER, GOSSMANN). German credit cards use in the non-machine-readable zone either the correct or the mapped spelling.

Some German names are always spelled with "old" spelling, such as the poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or the Third-Reich politician Paul Joseph Goebbels; however, in the name of the German football player Ulrich Hoeneß, the umlaut is spelled "old", but the letter ß is not (the spelling in the machine-readable passport zone is HOENESS, the ß being mapped here).

The three possible spelling variants of the same name (e.g. Müller / Mueller / Muller) in different documents sometimes lead to confusion, and the use of two different spellings within the same document (like in the passports of German-speaking countries) may give people who are unfamiliar with the foreign orthography the impression that the document is a forgery.

The Austrian passport can (but does not always) contain a note in German, English, and French that AE / OE/ UE / SS are the common mappings of Ä / Ö / Ü / ß.

Names originally written in a non-Latin writing system may pose another problem if there are various internationally recognized transcription standards. For example, the Russian surname Горбачёв is transcribed

  • "Gorbachev" in English,
  • "Gorbatschow" in German,
  • "Gorbatchov" in French,
  • "Gorbachov" in Spanish,
  • "Gorbaczow" in Polish, and so on.

Following page[edit]

Optional information on the following page:

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[edit]

  • 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 the faces 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 remaining pages are reserved for visas and entry and exit stamps
  • The inside back cover is reserved for additional information or recommendations by the issuing state in its own official language(s)

Overview of passports issued by 28 Member States[edit]

Member state Passport cover Biodata page Cost Validity Issuing authority Latest version
Austria Austria

Reisepass at.jpg

  • €75.90 (aged 12 or over)
  • €30.00 (aged 0–11)
  • Free (aged 0–2, first issue)
  • 10 years (aged 12 or over)
  • 5 years (aged 2–11)
  • 2 years (aged 0–2)
16 June 2006
Belgium Belgium

Belgian Passport 2008 cover.jpg

  • €71 (adults; 32 pages; in Belgium)
  • €41 (children; 32 pages; in Belgium)
  • €240 (adults; 64 pages; in Belgium)
  • €210 (children; 64 pages; in Belgium)
  • €79 (adults; 32 pages; overseas)
  • €35 (children; 32 pages; overseas)
  • €240 (adults; 64 pages; overseas)
  • €210 (children; 64 pages; overseas)[11]
  • 5 years
  • Communes (in Belgium)
  • Belgian embassies and consulates (overseas)
1 February 2008
Bulgaria Bulgaria Passportbg.jpg

Link to file

  • 40BGN / €20 (adults aged 14–58)
  • 20BGN / €10 (under 14)
  • 5 years

Ministry of Interior Affairs

29 March 2010
Croatia Croatia

Croatian biometric passport.jpg

Croatian passport data page.jpg

  • 390 HRK (€52)
  • 10 years (adults aged 21 or over)
  • 5 years (adults aged under 21)
  • Ministry of the Interior Affairs of the Republic of Croatia
3 August 2015
Cyprus Cyprus
  • €70
  • 10 Years
  • Civil Registry and Migration Department, Ministry of the Interior;
    Embassies and High Commissions of the Republic of Cyprus
13 December 2010
Czech Republic Czech Republic[12]

Czech passport 2007 cover.jpg

Czech passport 2006 MRZ data.jpg

  • CZK 600 (adults aged 15 or over)
  • CZK 100 (children under 15)
  • 10 years (adults aged 15 or over)
  • 5 years (children under 15)
  • the town hall of the applicant's place of permanent residence
  • abroad: consulates of the Czech Republic (except honorary consulates)
1 September 2006
Denmark Denmark

DK Passport Cover.jpg

  • DKK 625 (adults aged 18 or over; 32 pages)
  • DKK 140 (children aged under 18; 32 pages)
  • 10 years (adults)
  • 5 years (children under 18)
1 January 2012
Estonia Estonia

Eesti pass.jpg

  • €28.76
  • 5 years
1 June 2014[13]
Finland Finland

Finnish passport cover PRADO.jpg

  • €48[14]
  • €24 for veterans of Finnish wars
  • €48 temporary passport
  • €65 fast-track passport
  • €83 express passport
  • €80 emergency passport
  • €48 alien passport
21 August 2012
Åland Islands Åland Islands
  • 5 years
21 August 2012
France France
  • 10 years (adults)
  • 5 years (children under 18)
  • Préfecture offices (but forms can be addressed to any city hall)
  • French consulates (abroad)
12 April 2006
Germany Germany

Biometrie reisepass deutsch.jpg

Mustermann Reisepass 2007.jpg

  • €37.50 (applicants under 24; 32 pages)
  • €59 (aged 24 or over; 32 pages)
  • 10 years (aged 24 or over)
  • 6 years (applicants under 24)
Municipal registration office 11 November 2007
Greece Greece

Greek Passport.svg

Greek passport biodata page.png

  • €84.40 (adults)
  • €73.60 (children)
  • 5 years (applicants aged 15 or over)
  • 2 years (children under 15)
National Passport Centre ("Διεύθυνση Διαβατηρίων/Αρχηγείο Ελληνικής Αστυνομίας") 28 August 2006
Hungary Hungary

Hungarian Passport Cover.jpg

Hungarian passport biodata page.png

  • 7500 HUF (5 years)
  • 14000 HUF (10 years)
  • 5 years
  • 10 years

Registration Office (Nyilvántartó Hivatal)

1 March 2012
Republic of Ireland Ireland


  • €80 (adults 18 or over)[16]
  • €26.50 (children 3-17)
  • €16 (children under 3)
  • 10 years (adults)
  • 3 or 5 years (children)
Consular and Passport Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs 3 October 2013
Italy Italy


  • 10 years (adults aged 18 or over)
  • 5 years (applicants aged 3–17)
  • 3 years (children under 3)[18]
Minister of Foreign Affairs through
  • Local quaestor (in Italy)
  • Consulates and embassies (abroad)[19]
20 May 2010
Latvia Latvia
  • €28.46 (applicants over 20)
  • €14.23 (pensioners, disabled and aged under 20)[20]
  • 10 years (adults aged 60 or over)
  • 5 years (applicants aged 5–59)
  • 2 years (children under 5)
29 January 2015[21]
Lithuania Lithuania


Link to file

  • €48 adults
  • €24 children
  • 10 years (adults aged 16 or over)
  • 5 years (children aged 5–15)
  • 2 years (children under 5)
27 January 2011
Luxembourg Luxembourg

Link to file

  • €30 (5-year passports)
  • €20 (2-year passports)
  • 5 years (applicants aged 4 or over)
  • 2 years (applicants under 4)
Passport Office, Luxembourg 1 July 2011
Malta Malta 29 September 2008
Netherlands The Netherlands

Nederlanden paspoort 2011.jpg

  • €66,96 (maximum, all ages 34-page passport; individual municipalities determine the rate[22])
  • €84.88 (adults; 34 pages; overseas[23])
  • 10 years (applicants aged 18 and over)[24]
  • 5 years (applicants aged under 18)
  • Gemeente (Municipality)
9 March 2014
Poland Poland

Polska ePaszport.jpg

Polish passport biodata page.png

Application made within Poland:
  • 140 zł (for applicants aged between 13 and 70)
  • 30 zł (for applicants aged under 13)

Application made through a Polish consulate:

  • €106 (applicants aged between 13 and 70)
  • €36 (applicants aged under 13)

In both cases:

  • free for applicants aged 70 and over
  • certain classes of applicants qualify for a 50% discount of a relevant fee
  • 10 years (applicants aged 13 and over)
  • 5 years (applicants aged under 13)
1 January 2006
Portugal Portugal

Portuguese passport.JPG

Link to file

  • 5 years (applicants aged 5 or over)
  • 2 years (children under 5)
25 May 2009
Romania Romania

Romanian Passport.jpg

Link to file

  • 276 RON / €59 (5-year passports)
  • 116 RON / €25 (1-year passports)
  • 5 years (applicants aged 6 or over)
  • 3 years (applicants under 6)
  • 1-year (temporary passport)
Ministry of Administration and Interior (General Directorate for Passports) 26 April 2006
Slovakia Slovakia

Slovakian ePassport.jpg

  • €33/66/99 (16 or older up to 30/10/2 days processing time)
  • €13/26/39 (6-16 year olds up to 30/10/2 days)
  • €8/16/24 (6 or younger up to 30/12/2 days)
  • 50% discount exists for seriously ill applicants; 10% discount exists for applicants whose fingerprints cannot be taken and who obtain a passport valid for 1 year.
  • 10 years (adults aged 16 or over)
  • 5 years (children aged 5–15)
  • 2 years (children under 5)
15 January 2008
Slovenia Slovenia

Slovenian Passport3.jpg

  • €42,05 (adults 18 or over)
  • €35,25 (agend 3-17)
  • €31,17 (aged up to 3)[25][26]
  • Ministry of the Interior
28 August 2006
Spain Spain

Pasaporte Español 2009.jpg

  • €26.02
  • 10 years (applicants over 30)
  • 5 years (applicants between 5 and 30)
  • 2 years (applicants under 5)
2 January 2015
Sweden Sweden

Link to file

  • 350 SEK (in Sweden)
  • 1400 SEK (abroad, paid in local currency)
  • 5 years
  • Swedish Police Authority (in Sweden)
  • Swedish embassies and consulates (abroad)
2 January 2012
United Kingdom United Kingdom

British biometric passport.jpg

In the United Kingdom

  • £72.50 (adults; 32 pages)
  • £85.50 (adults; 48 pages)
  • £46 (children)

Western European Passport Service: Paris Embassy

  • €170 (exc. courier fee) (adults; 32 pages)
  • €205 (exc. courier fee) (adults; 48 pages)
  • €108 (exc. courier fee) (children)
  • 10 years (adults aged 16 or over)
  • 5 years (children under 16)
5 October 2010
Gibraltar Gibraltar

Passport of Gibraltar.jpg

  • 10 years (adults aged 16 or over)
  • 5 years (children under 16)
Civil Status and Registration Office, Gibraltar 6 September 2006

Passport rankings[edit]

Visa requirements for European Union citizens

See also: Visa requirements for European Union citizens

Passport rankings by the number of countries and territories their holders could visit without a visa or by obtaining visa on arrival in 2015 were as follows (sourced from Henley Visa Restrictions Index 2015)

By country[edit]

For details, click on the name of the country:

By rank[edit]

  • 1. Germany, United Kingdom (British Citizen Passport): 173
  • 2. Finland, Sweden: 172
  • 3. Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands: 171
  • 4. Belgium, Portugal, Spain: 170
  • 5. Austria, Ireland: 169
  • 7. Greece, Malta: 167
  • 8. Czech Republic: 164
  • 9. Hungary: 163
  • 10. Slovakia: 162
  • 11. Slovenia: 161
  • 12. Latvia: 160
  • 13. Estonia, Lithuania: 159
  • 14. Cyprus, Poland: 158
  • 18. Bulgaria: 150
  • 19. Romania: 149
  • 22. Croatia: 142

Having several passports[edit]

Several passports of the same country[edit]

Some EU countries, such as the UK, allow their citizens to have several passports at once to circumvent certain travel restrictions.

It is possible to get the Israeli entry and exit stamp on a separate piece of paper (visitors whose passports show evidence of a visit to Israel are not allowed to enter Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria and Yemen).

Dual citizenship[edit]

Each EU and EFTA country can make its own citizenship laws, so some countries allow dual citizenship without any restrictions (e.g. France, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom), some regulate/restrict it (e.g. Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain), and others allow it only in exceptional cases (e.g. Lithuania) or only for citizens by descent (e.g. Croatia, Estonia).

A citizen of an EEA or EFTA country can live and work in all other EU or EFTA countries (but not necessarily vote or work in sensitive fields, such as government, police, military where citizenship is often required). Non-citizens may not have the same rights to welfare and unemployment benefits like citizens.

For details, see Citizenship of the European Union, Multiple citizenship, and the nationality laws of the countries in question.

Emergency passports[edit]

Decision 96/409/CSFP of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States,[27] meeting within the Council of 25 June 1996 on the establishment of an emergency travel document, decided that there would be a standard emergency travel document (ETD).

ETDs are issued to European Union citizens for a single journey back to the EU country of which they are a national, to their country of permanent residence or, in exceptional cases, to another destination (inside or outside the Union). The decision does not apply to expired national passports; it is specifically confined to cases where travel documents have been lost, stolen or destroyed or are temporarily unavailable.

Embassies and consulates of EU countries different to the applicant may issue emergency travel documents if

  1. the applicant is an EU national whose passport or travel document has been lost, stolen or destroyed or is temporarily unavailable;
  2. the applicant is in a country in which the EU country of which s/he is a national has no accessible diplomatic or consular representation able to issue a travel document or in which the EU country in question is not otherwise represented;
  3. clearance from the authorities of the applicant’s country of origin has been obtained.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ in the case of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Cyprus
  3. ^ "Council Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States". 
  4. ^ Non-European lookalike passports, UK Passport office[dead link]
  5. ^ Decision of the EEA Joint Committee No 158/2007 of 7 December 2007 amending Annex V (Free movement of workers) and Annex VIII (Right of establishment) to the EEA Agreement, EUR-Lex. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  6. ^ "UK Border Agency: Using e-passport gates". 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Article 6.3.2 of the Practical Handbook for Border Guards (C (2006) 5186)
  9. ^ Judgement of the European Court of Justice of 17 February 2005, Case C 215/03, Salah Oulane vs. Minister voor Vreemdelingenzaken en Integratie
  10. ^ UK Border Force Operations Manual: Processing British and EEA Passengers without a valid Passport or Travel Document[dead link]
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Travel documents, website of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic". Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "Service prices 2014". Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  15. ^ "Passport". Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  16. ^ Department of Foreign Affairs. "Passport Fees - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  17. ^ "Il Rilascio". Retrieved 2014-08-29. 
  18. ^ "Passaporto per i minori". Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  19. ^ "Ministero degli Affari Esteri - Documenti di Viaggio - Passaporto". Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  21. ^ [2]
  22. ^ "Tarieven 2013". 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  23. ^ "Paspoort en identiteitskaart voor Nederlanders in het buitenland". Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  24. ^ "Paspoort wordt 10 jaar geldig". 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  25. ^ Izdaja potnega lista
  26. ^ Izdaja potnega lista za otroka
  27. ^ "Emergency travel document (ETD)". EUR-Lex. European Union. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 

External links[edit]