15 Fascinating Things You Didn’t Know About Your British Passport
|July 6, 2018||Posted by admin under Uncategorized|
The passport, as we know it today, has a very rich and diverse history attached to it. Today, passports are used as identity proofs for international travel purposes all over the world.
These unassuming jacketed pocket-books are issued by individual governments and are in strict accordance with a country’s compliance. Countries can choose their own guidance, however it needs to be in accordance with set global compliance and standards.
Passports are useful for people who wish to travel on vacation and business to another country. The holding of a passport does not give a person the right to visit another country. There are many countries that need pre-approved visas for travel.
However, the real importance of a passport is seen when people want to migrate from one country to another. The migration history from UK to Australia is a prime example of the critical part that a passport plays in the migration process.
British Passport: An overview
There are many facts about migration and the United Kingdom that many people are not aware. For example, the fact that the first passport ever to be used was designed by King Henry V to ensure that his subjects could prove their identity and were not harassed while in foreign lands.
The 1414 Act of Parliament has multiple references to this effect. Since then passports have become largely sophisticated and complex.
There have been multiple passport issuances made in the United Kingdom. However, the latest is the Biometric passport or e-Passport. The growing counterfeit market makes it necessary for the British government to take aggressive counter measures. The first e-Passport was introduced in 2010 while series B e-Passport was rolled out in 2015.
These are the latest in machine readable travel documents and can be compared to the technology prevalent in smartcards. These contain tiny RFID computer chips that store biometric data consisting of critical information. These new passport are currently authenticated with an embedded contactless chip that holds a digital signature. This ensures the integrity of both biometric and passport data.
12 Captivating Facts about the British Passport
Here are a few interesting facts that you probably did not know about a British Passport:
1. No passport for the Queen
This is probably one of the most stupendous facts that become obvious if you understand the reason behind it. The Queen issues all the passports to British Nationals and hence, does not need one herself. However, rest of the Royal Family requires a valid passport to travel.
2. Double Passports
The United Kingdom is among the very few countries that understands the citizens’ need for a second passport. However, valid supporting documents needs to be shown under such contexts. For example, a person who travels often on business might require a second passport while one is in the visa office awaiting approval.
In this instance a letter from employer and other proofs might validate as supporting documentation. This is among the lesser known facts about migration and United Kingdom.
3. Variety of Passports
The United Kingdom has a rich colonial history which has led to many classes of United Kingdom nationality. The passports issued to these different classes are similar in appearance; however, vary as per the different nationality status. As a result foreign governments establish different entry requirements for different British passport holders.
4. Passports Only To British Nationals
Generally passports are for all citizens of a country. However, due to the complex British nationality laws there is a difference between a British National and a British Citizen. Passports are only issued to British Nationals and do not include British Overseas Citizens, British Protected Persons, British Subjects, etc.
5. Spain’s Non-acceptance
If you have read UK migration facts then you probably know that Spain does not believe the Government of Gibraltar to be a competent passport issuing authority. Therefore, Spain does not accept British passports that are issued in Gibraltar. Nowadays, passports issued in Gibraltar have ‘Gibraltar’ mentioned on the passports under United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
6. Renew in Advance
It is possible for you to renew your about-to expire passport in advance and actually buy more time in the process. How? If your passport is about to expire in the month of October and you get it renewed in the month of January before, then your new renewal date will be October with a new year of expiry. Such facts about migration and United Kingdom can prove to be extremely beneficial.
7. Access Denied
It is possible that you will be denied entry to a country if your passport has not expired but is about to. Different countries have separate rules around the validity remaining on your British passport. This is especially critical if you are planning an emigration from UK. Make sure that you have minimum of 9 months validity on your passport.
8. Queen’s Messenger Passport
These are among the rarest passports in the world used by official diplomatic couriers of the Queen. In fact the case they carry cannot be scrutinized by security as well and comes complete with a diplomatic seal and separate passport. The messenger and his/her personal effects are subjected to security checks.
9. Foreign-born Have British Passports
As per a 2011 census, almost 45.6% of the usual residents who were born outside of the UK carry a British passport. This figure states that 3.4 million people out of the foreign born population of 7.5 million people hold a British passport. There are multiple debates on UK immigration card regarding the same.
10. Physical Appearance
Currently, the British passport is a rich burgundy color with the center having a logo emblazoned on it in gold color. However, this is only until the 2019 when Brexit takes place. There are three types of cover to all British passports and depends on the type of nationality. All passports are printed and issued by HMPO (Her Majesty’s Passport Office) except the ones issued by British Diplomatic Missions.
11. Blue Is Coming
Brexit has a tremendous effect on push and pull factors of immigration from UK. It has a critical effect on the current passports as well. After much debate it was clarified by the Immigration Minister that Blue and Gold Passports will return once United Kingdom makes a clean exit from the European Union. This was stated after much debate on the matter.
12. Quick Printing
Facts about migration and United Kingdom state that UK is among the top countries where people migrate to. However, there are many reasons why people migrate from the UK; Brexit being the prime reason. The people in England want their country to remain English speaking, Christian and Democratic oriented – with so many people pouring in from North Africa and the Middle East into countries like Germany and Sweden, certain areas have been changed. The people in the UK don’t want that.
Even after many people leaving UK as per migration facts, there is a new passport printed every 2.5 seconds. The answer behind why do people migrate can be dubious but the reason for an increase in passports is clear: more opportunities.
Fascinating Passport Facts from Across the Globe
British passport is not the only one with quirky facts. There are many countries that trump the United Kingdom where passports are concerned. Here are a few:
1. Shed Weight – Get a New Passport
There are many countries that insist on corrections to be made into the passport when the passport holder undergoes any drastic changes like massive weight loss or weight gain. It is necessary to get a new passport even in the case of surgeries or face lifts. On top of this, if the passport bearer has undergone any piercings (or removals) and tattoos on the face then a new passport might be needed.
2. No-Selfie Passports
Smiling was once allowed in Passport photos until 2004. However, there are several strict measures in place today with many countries dictating the type of clothing and background color in the photos. Long fringes and head coverings are also banned by majority of countries in passport photos.
3. Special Passports for Presidents
Presidents, immediate family members and certain diplomats of a country can be issued special passport with privileges. The benefits can range from no security checks to visa free entry into other countries. Travel upgrades and VIP treatment is also part of the bonus with such passports. Needless to say the passports need to be returned once the holder steps down from the office.
4. Biblical Proportions
Many people claim that the earliest known reference of a passport is found in the Bible. In the book of Nehemiah, ‘travel document’ is mentioned in regards to a Persian official provided by King Artaxerxes I of Persia.
The king in this mention requests the governors beyond the river to allow safe passage of the holder. Majority of passports except Finland, Switzerland and Austria display a similar message on their current passports.
5. Least Powerful Passport
Syrians have one of the least powerful passports. The most important powering factor in a passport is determined by the number of countries a passport holder can visit without a visa. Syria along with Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan can travel visa-free to fewer than 30 countries. Interestingly, facts about Migration and United Kingdomstate that majority of immigration requests are from these countries and others.
6. Israeli are Banned
There are 16 countries in the world including Iran, Yemen, Libya and Sudan who do not let Israeli passport holders enter their country. Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iraq among others do not allow passports with an Israeli visa enter their country. In return, Israelis have banned their passport holders from visiting countries such as Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan among others.
7. Hardest to Forge
With forgery and the counterfeit market doubling the efforts to oppose them, there is an increase in the counterfeit passport sector. Nicaragua passports are among the most difficult to forge on a global level. They make use of more than 89 security features that includes watermarks, holograms, and bio-dimensional barcodes.
8. Passport Fee
There is no set guideline for the amount a government can charge from its nationals to acquire a passport. Swaziland is the foremost in this factor with the cheapest passport fee at just £2.50. You would have to pay the most if you were in Turkey with fee as high as £215.
Lately, Turkey has also changed its passport jacket color to burgundy. The facts on migration suggest that this is because Turkey wants to be a part of EU where Passports jackets are burgundy in color.
9. Language Feature
It is a given that a country will feature its national language on the passport. Wrong! Belgium features three languages on its passport cover namely Dutch, French, and German. This is in respect to the diverse population of this country where Wallcons, Flemish, and a small German speaking group co-reside.
10. Tonga Sells Passports
The country of Tonga sells Tongan Protected Person passports to people who are not from Tonga. These are issued to individuals who are refugees, stateless, or are not under any other passport issuing authority. This was created in a bid to increase Tonga revenue. There are over 111 countries that accept the Tonga passport. However out of these many countries and regions like Hong Kong do not accept Tongan Protected Person passports and deny entry.
Revealed: World’s Most 10 Powerful Passports for 2018
A passport is ranked powerful on basis of the number of countries a passport holder can travel visa free. Visa on arrival and countries with acceptable and easy visas are also factored to calculate the end score. The rankings by ‘Henley and Partners’ has come up with new research this year that has toppled Germany from its throne.
Germany used to be the most powerful passport in recent years. However, with time and globalization today, Japan is on the number one spot. Japanese passport has a powerful score of 180 that is more than any other country and can travel without visa or on arrival to a record 189 country. Uzbekistan is the latest addition to the Japanese travel list.
Singapore shares the second spot with Germany at a score of 179. However, Singapore trumps Germany with 127 visa free countries as compared with 126 of Germany. Visa qualifications have always been among the crucial reasons why people migrate to another country.
Schengen Areavs. Asian Countries
The years saw Schengen Areasto top the Visa charts with their lax policies and open access to Europe. However, the recent years have seen many Asian countries feature among the top ranks because of increased globalization, diplomatic relations and strong international trade.
Where Does Britain Stand?
The United Kingdom passport is ranked as 4th with 5 other countries. There are around 186 countries that Britons can access without a visa or get visa on arrival.
UAE is the fastest climbing country in terms of visa ranking. In just a matter of 10 years this country has ascended 38 places to rank at 23 today. It has garnered the largest number of visa exemptions in this period as compared with any other country.
There are many countries in the top 10 passport position as many ranks are shared by different countries. The noteworthy countries are Finland, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, South Korea and Sweden sharing 3rd rank with Austria, Portugal, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Norway on 4th. United States, Canada, and Ireland share their spot with Switzerland at 5th place.
Countries like Belgium, Iceland, Latvia, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, Malta etc. are among the top 10 passports as well.
10 Most FAQs about New UK Passport
With Brexit around the corner there are a number of questions regarding Blue passport. Here are a few of them answered.
The physical appearance of the new passports shall completely change. From the existing burgundy color the passports shall change to a blue color with golden emblazoned logo. However, from the existing EU logo it will change to the British coat of arms.
There shall be other security features added to make it the most high tech passport in the world. Currently, the cost of renewing a standard first adult passport is £72.50 and £46 for passport holders under the age of 16.
In October 2019 the British passports will get a glossy makeover. This is the first change in the overall appearance in the last 30 years. Brexit is due to take place on 29 March 2019 and passports shall continue to be Burgundy in color until October of 2019. However, EU logo shall be replaced by Britain’s Coat of Arms.
The big travel companies like TUI, Jet2, Thomas Cook, etc., are selling packages with a condition that no compensation shall be granted if any change needs to be made due to closure of air space. However, Expedia has put a hold on selling packages post 29 March 2019 as they believe airlines shall be subject to EU regulations and be impacted.
Currently UK Passport holders enjoy many benefits from European Union. The chief benefit being visa-free access to many other European nations. This might not be important while planning a travel vacation. However, visa-free access is critical to many businesses currently functioning in the United Kingdom.
Your current passport will be valid after Brexit till it does not expire. You will have to get a new passport only when the validity of your passport nears its end. However, after the United Kingdom separates from the European Union you will not be able to enjoy the same privileges.
There is no government mandate yet seeking people to renew their passports before time. You should renew your passports only when it is time for their renewal. It is advisable to renew your passport at least 9 months before the expiry.
You should get a passport only if you are seeking to travel to another country or require a passport in any other way. You do not have to specifically get a passport because of Brexit even though it does have a specific impact of migration from UK.
The new Blue and Gold passports shall be issued only from October 2019 once the current passport contract is over. During the period after Brexit until October 2019 if you seek a renewal, you shall be issued Burgundy colored passport. However, the cover shall bear a different logo.
Yes, your passports shall be valid until the validation date mentioned on it. You do not have to specifically go for a renewal before time because of Brexit.
No, the value of your passport will change after Brexit since the UK was part of EU and hence enjoyed visa free access to many countries. After Brexit there will be certain changes to the diplomatic relations. For instance you might not have visa-free access to other EU countries.
Brexit Impact on British Passport Holders
It is quite unlikely that UK passport holders will need to change their passport because of Brexit. All new British passports shall be introduced in October 2019 with special security features and enhanced tech.
However, it is possible that UK passport holders might not be able to enjoy the same amount of worry free travel that they are accustomed to. The custom officials might conduct strict scrutiny at passport control. However, there is no definite statement to the level of security expected right now.
There might also be a financial impact especially for those who are planning to travel since the pound is worth less than the euro.
In addition, it is possible that many businesses might be affected with the loss of their EU passport. Currently, a company registered in any country in the EU can conduct business across other EU nations. There might be some losses that can accrue to businesses but the negatives being linked to the EU are just too profound.