United Nations laissez-passer

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United Nations laissez-passer
The front cover of a blue United Nations Laissez-Passer machine-readable passport.
Issued by  United Nations and the International Labour Organization
Type of document Laissez-passer
Purpose Identification
Eligibility requirements UN officials and officials of certain other international organizations

A United Nations Laissez-Passer (UNLP or LP) is a travel document issued by the United Nations under the provisions of Article VII of the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations[1] in its offices in New York and Geneva, as well as by the International Labour Organization (ILO).[2] As of 30 April 2010 there were 35,577 UNLPs outstanding.[3] The UNLP is issued to UN and ILO staff as well as staff members of international organizations such as the WHO, the IAEA, the World Tourism Organization, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the World Bank. The document is written in English and French.

The UNLP is a valid travel document, which can be used like a national passport (in connection with travel on official missions only). However, UNLP holders often encounter immigration officials who are unfamiliar with the document and require them to show a national passport in addition.[4] As with national passports, some countries/regions accept it for entry without the need for a visa (e.g., Kenya, United Kingdom, Schengen Area, Lebanon, etc.), while most require a visa before it can be accepted for entry to the country. This is regardless of the nationality of the UNLP holder.

Most officials hold a blue UNLP (up to D-1 level), which is similar in legal status to a service passport (however, diplomatic status may be conferred on the holder if the visa issued in the UNLP is a diplomatic visa). A red UNLP is issued to particularly high officials (D-2 and above), and depending on their rank, this may confer diplomatic privileges and the red UNLP may therefore be similar to a diplomatic passport.

Name and signature page[edit]

A data page has a visual zone and a machine-readable zone. The visual zone has a photograph of the holder, data about the passport, and data about the LP holder much similar to a normal passport. The nationality and place of birth of the passport holder is not mentioned in a UNLP, but the UN is used in fields similar to issuing country.

  • Photograph
  • Type [of document, which is "LP" for "Laissez-Passer"]
  • Code [of the issuing organization, which is "UNO/UNA" for "United Nations Organization/Agency"]
  • Laissez-passer No.
  • Surname
  • Given Name(s)
  • Title [Job Title]
  • Date of Birth
  • Sex
  • Official of [UNO/UNA for United Nations Organization/Agency]
  • Date of Issue
  • Date of Expiry
  • Authority [United Nations/Nations Unies followed by the code of the issuing city, e.g. GVA for Geneva]
  • Signature (on the opposite page)

The first line of a machine-readable zone (which is at the bottom of the page) of the passport contains a letter to denote the type of travel document (which is despite the Laissez-passer status, it is "P" for passport), followed by the code normally used for the citizenship of the passport holder (but here: "UNO/UNA" for "United Nations Organization/Agency"), and the name (surname first, then given name or names) of the passport holder. When visa are placed in a UNLP, the same practice should be followed, and in the nationality field, UNO/UNA should be placed.[5] This guideline however is often not observed.


Effective 3 September 2012, all applicants for new LPs received by the UN Office in Geneva (UNOG) will be issued the new "e-UNLPs" and there will be no renewal of current UNLPs. The new "e-UNLP" is fully compliant with international standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These include the use of bio-chip technology, facial recognition identification and employs strict photographic standards for passport documents. All "e-UNLPS" will be issued with a five-year fixed duration, regardless of contract expiration and will not contain dependents. The validity period of the new e-UNLP cannot be extended and additional visa pages cannot be added. Existing LPs will retain the validity date stipulated in the document.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Convention on the privileges and immunities of the United Nations" (PDF). United Nations. 1946. Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  2. ^ W. Münch, G. Tang and MD. Wynes (2005). "Review of the Management of the United Nations Laissez-passer" (PDF). Joint Inspection Unit, UN. Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Munch 2011, p. 269
  4. ^ Munch 2011, p. 271
  5. ^ "Doc 9303 part 2 (visa)" (PDF). International Civil Aviation Organization.