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26 Sep 20237 min readin Forensics & authentication

The 12 Most Beautiful Passports in the World: Regula’s Pick

A passport, the pass to global exploration, isn't just a travel document; sometimes, it's a work of art. After some spirited yet amusing debates among the team that curates Regula’s database of identity document templates, we came up with this list of our favorite passports.

Disclaimer: These ratings are purely subjective, biased, and done mostly for fun. The nominees are positioned in alphabetical order. We dearly love all of the documents in the world, so don’t take it seriously if you don't find your passport on the list.

Without further ado, let's get started.

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1. Bahraini passport: The pearl of the Gulf

Bahrain passport personal data page under UV light

Bahrain's passport is a visual journey through time and space. While having recognizable Middle East vibes with a galloping horse and a falcon, it has its own unparalleled style. 

The Bahraini passport pays homage to its history as a pearl trading hub and showcases the country’s modern achievements, such as the oil derricks that have eventually replaced those pearl divers.

pearl divers and oil derricks in the Bahraini passport

The center spread is illustrated by the Bab Al Bahrain, a historical building and monument that serves as the entrance to the Manama souq (marketplace).

But there's more to discover within these pages. What we especially loved about the design is its gentle celestial touch. 

The UV visa pages reveal important astronomical features visible from the territory of Bahrain: the Aquarius and Pisces constellations, highlighting the Sadalsuud, Al Rescha, and the Canopus stars, symbolizing the country's connection to the cosmos.

Bahraini passport under UV light

Castellations in Bahreini passport visible under UV light.

2. Belgian passport: Artistry unveiled

Belgian passport personal data page under UV light

Belgium’s passport made it into the list of the most beautiful passports by the team’s unanimous decision as a celebration of art and modern design. Each page within tells a story, showcasing famous Belgian comic strip characters: Tintin, Smurfs, Lucky Luke, Spirou and Fantasio, Largo Winch, and others.

Belgian passport under UV light

Beyond their artistic charm, these unique illustrations are a robust security measure. Designs with meticulous hard-to-replicate details naturally deter forgery. Under UV light, the passport's images reveal plenty of easter eggs that exemplify the nation's culture, humor, and distinct pride in a truly unparalleled travel document. And after all, who doesn’t like Smurfs?

You can see all the pages in the official video published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium:

3. Canadian passport: A symphony of nature

Canada’s passport takes you on a visual expedition through its breathtaking landscapes throughout all four seasons. The pages burst with vibrant images of the country’s diverse ecosystems, from the pristine lakes and forests to the awe-inspiring northern lights.

Although there’s some criticism of the updated passport on the web, calling it a children’s coloring book, we believe this new design is not only beautiful but also great from a security perspective. The unique illustrations with numerous details and intricate patterns in five-color UV printing make it extremely difficult for fraudsters to tamper with the pages. 

Plus, the new Canadian passport has advanced perforations that leverage square and triangle holes in addition to conventional round ones, which also provides extra protection.

4. Estonian passport: “Listen, dear, how the trees rustle”

Estonian passport personal data page under UV light

Estonia’s passport design is a mesmerizing tribute to the nation’s natural heritage that paints a vivid picture of the country's connection to its flora and fauna. The illustrations feature national symbols that hold deep significance in Estonia, including the wolf, the swallow, and the mighty oak tree.

We decided to include the Estonian passport in our list of the most beautiful passports because it not only demonstrates their national symbols, but does it with good taste. Every element is in harmony with the others, creating a full-fledged work of art among passports.

Estonian passport under UV light

Hidden forests and lakes visible under UV light.

We encourage you to have a look at the official video (sound on); it’s as calming and beautiful as the passport design:

5. Finnish passport: A visit to the Archipelago Sea

Finnish passport personal data page

Although the Finnish passport is pretty nice in general, there was a single detail that made all the difference and brought it to the list: a cute animated seal.

the seal in the Finnish passport

The new design was inspired by the Finnish Archipelago Sea, which takes center stage in the new passport. As you flip through its pages, you'll embark on a journey through this mesmerizing nature wonderland, enjoying pristine islands, serene waters, and the changing seasons.

Finnish passport under UV light

6. Hong Kong passport: Fusion of Tradition & Modernity

Tsing Ma Bridge in the Hong Kong passport personal data page

Hong Kong's passport reflects the city's unique blend of old-world traditions and futuristic skyline, showcasing the harmony between the past and present. Each page invites you to explore the vibrant culture of this metropolis.

We love the creativity of the designers, who used bright colors that create a full-page panoramic view that combines contemporary architecture with traditional bauhinia flowers and flying butterflies.

Hong Kong visa page under UV light
Hong Kong passport under UV light

You can see the Great Wall of China, which transforms into the northern part of the island of Hong Kong under UV light.

7. Macanese passport: East-meets-West elegance

Macao passport personal data page

Macao, often referred to as the "Las Vegas of Asia," is a special administrative region of China that seamlessly blends Chinese and Portuguese influences. It has a passport to match!

While the Macanese passport shares some visual elements with the Hong Kong passport, Macao's document transforms them into colorful panoramas that are distinctly Macanese, thus deserving its place on our list of the most beautiful passports.

Macao passport visa page under UV light
Macao passport pages under UV light

One of the pages features the Guia Lighthouse, protected by UNESCO.

8. New Zealand passport: The spirit of explorers

New Zealand passport personal data page

The New Zealand passport is a visual tribute to the nation’s rich history of exploration. Adorned with artwork that celebrates the early explorers who first navigated New Zealand's shores, it invites us to follow in their footsteps, tracing a journey from the northern reaches to the southern landscapes.

New Zealand passport visa pages under UV light put it on the list of the most beautiful passports

The passport elegantly incorporates indigenous symbols into its design, featuring the iconic fern leaf and intricate Maori patterns. These elements pay homage to New Zealand's culture and heritage, adding a layer of cultural richness to the document. 

Alongside these traditional symbols, the passport features a chronological progression of navigation tools used throughout the ages. From the early sextants to the latest cutting-edge instruments, they serve as a reminder of the country's rich history of exploration and discovery.

New Zealand passport pages under UV light

A star map in the New Zealand passport visible under UV light.

9. Swedish passport: The elegance of minimalism

Swedish passport personal data page

Sweden's passport embraces the Scandinavian ethos of clean, minimalist design. Inside, you'll find illustrations of Swedish culture and landscapes, reflecting the nation's understated elegance.

The passport employs a poignant symbol—migratory birds—to encapsulate the fundamental human right of free movement. These avian wanderers represent human mobility, gracefully traversing the nation’s borders through air, water, or on foot, much like the people they symbolize. This design element underscores Sweden's commitment to the principles of freedom and open horizons.

Swedish passport pages under UV light.

Is it an homage to the Wonderful Adventures of Nils?

10. Swiss passport: Alpine aesthetics

Swiss passport personal data page

Let us confess: we discussed the idea of not mentioning the new Swiss passport only to see how many people were outraged in the comments because of this fact. 

Jokes aside, their new design is stunning!

Swiss passport visa pages under UV light
Swiss passport pages under UV light

Each page is dedicated to a specific region of Switzerland, known as a canton.

Switzerland's passport mirrors its reputation for precision and breathtaking landscapes. As compared to its Nordic neighbors in this list, the Swiss design is much bolder in colors and visual elements. 

Inspired by rural scenes, it offers us a virtual journey across Switzerland's 26 cantons, from the towering Alpine peaks to the tranquil valleys below. Water and mountains, the passport's two main design themes, symbolize the dual forces that shape Switzerland's picturesque terrain. 

Enjoy all the pages in their official video:

11. US passport: An ode to the nation

The USA passport personal data page

The American passport is a testament to the nation’s founding principles and history. Inside, historical quotes and iconic landmarks serve as a reminder of the country’s journey and values, making it more than just an identification document but a tribute to the American spirit.

Actually, we loved how the personal data page design became simpler and cleaner after the recent update. The thing is that a colorful background may create challenges for OCR engines. Now the data is easier to read, while the passport still looks great.

American passport visa pages under UV light
American passport pages under UV light

12. Turkish passport: A tribute to heritage

Turkey passport personal data page

Turkey's passport reflects its geographical and cultural diversity. The cover elegantly combines traditional Ottoman motifs with modern design elements, symbolizing the country’s bridge between East and West. 

The passport's design draws inspiration from Turkey’s deep-rooted traditions and historical significance. It features intricate patterns and motifs reminiscent of the country’s ancient architecture and artistry. Each page of the passport showcases famous Turkish landmarks, such as the majestic Hagia Sophia or Habib-i Neccar Mosque.

Turkish passport visa pages under UV light
Turkish passport pages under UV light

Besides historical monuments, the Turkish passport features many flowers which one can find in the country.

Conclusion

That’s it! As we wrote earlier, we love all of the passports, and our database experts are always on the lookout for new rare and hard-to-get templates, regardless of whether they have fancy imagery or not.

We even launched a series of posts about tricky aspects of document processing in different countries. Check out Thailand and Ethiopia.

Now, we’d like to hear from you. 

Which passport design did you like most? Which one would you include in the list of the coolest-looking passports as well? Don’t hesitate to share what you think with us in Regula’s LinkedIn group.

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