Here’s What Your Passport Color Really Means

Take a closer look at your passport. Depending on where you’re from, it’s color could tell you a lot about the country you call home. Although there are no strict international guidelines for passport colors, the shades are by no means random. Countries typically choose colors that pay tribute to their culture, politics or faith. The United States tends to march to the beat of its own drum and its passport’s hue is no different. While the U.S. flipped between beige, green and a variety of reds into the latter half of the 20th century, it finally settled on blue in 1976. As for the shade, it matches the blue on the American flag. Smaller organizations have their own passport colors. For example, Interpol provides its members with black passports, while the UN passport’s pacific blue matches the helmets of its peacekeeping force. Why the dark shades? That’s because darker colors can hide dirt, provide a nice contrast with the crest, and appear more official. Of course, there are exceptions. If you’re a Swedish national whose lost your passport, the country will send you an emergency passport — in pink.