10 Coolest Passports of the World With Unique Designs

10 Coolest Passports of the World and the Inspiration Behind Their Designs

With elegant designs and enhanced security features, these passports are the envy of all.

Many people think of passports as nothing more than legal documents that allow them to travel to other countries. But what if passports could also be considered works of art, showcasing the varied landscapes and historic landmarks that make each destination unique? Different passports can reveal not just the identity of their holders, but also how a nation wants to introduce itself to the globe. 

More than places to keep travel stamps, the coolest passports of the world carefully utilise graphic design to create a sense of pride. From the sleek cover of Norway’s passport to the psychedelic illustrations of Canada’s passport under UV lights, feast your eyes on the most beautiful passports around the world. 

Norway

Could this be the most elegant passport in the world? The latest design for the Norwegian passport features a minimalist and visually soothing cover with Norway’s coat of arms and the country’s name embossed in gold. This revamped look was created by Neue Design Studio, a company based in Oslo. 

Compared to other passport designs, Norway’s official travel document offers a modern spin with pastel shades: bright red for regular passports, turquoise for diplomatic passports, and white for emergency passports — a nod to the colours represented in Norway’s flag. The first batch of these passports was issued by the Norwegian Government on 19 Oct 2020. 

Flipping the pages of Norway’s passport, you can see illustrations that depict sweeping landscapes of fjords, mountains, lakes, forests, and rivers. Under ultraviolet lights, these pages come to life with vivid holographic images of the night skies and the Northern Lights.

“The landscapes surrounding us give a sense of belonging and pride, and fill a symbolic function for the entire nation,” Neue Design Studio says on their official website. “Images of scenery and landscape can easily become clichés, but by being widely accepted and deeply rooted in Norwegian culture, they are also very easy to identify.”

Finland

Image credit: Finnish Government 

A moose strutting through the pages of the Finnish passport is one of the best things to greet travellers as they admire their passport stamps. Opening like a flipbook, Finland’s burgundy red passport exhibits the best of Scandinavian design with out-of-the-box thinking and creativity. The moose animation is a fitting choice, especially since Finland was named a leading wildlife destination for travellers in 2019. That year, the country was praised for its stunning natural landscapes, wildlife diversity, environmental sustainability, and conservation efforts. 

For a glimpse of what the passport looks like in motion, check out the video below: 

However, this design has been replaced with images of snowflakes, scenes of Lapland, and other wintery symbols in a complete overhaul of the Finnish passport in 2017. 

Sweden

10 Coolest Passports of the World: The Best Passport Designs

Even at a glance, Sweden’s passport is easily one of the coolest passports in the world. Outfitted with a new look in 2012, Sweden’s passport features artworks of the country’s iconic landmarks and neighbourhoods, taken from a bird’s eye view. Much like Norway’s and Finland’s passports, these illustrations also glow in the most radiant way when you look at them under ultraviolet lights. 

Furthermore, Sweden has one of the most coveted passports in the world, notable for its ability to grant its citizens entry into 186 countries without a visa. Needless to say, the Scandinavians seem to have all their grounds covered when it comes to passport strength and innovative designs. 

Canada

10 Coolest Passports of the World: The Best Passport Designs

Hidden illustrations that reveal technicolour hues under UV lights is another reason why Canada has one of the best passports to show off at the customs counter. Named the fourth most powerful passport in the world for its freedom of travel, Canada’s navy blue passport is embossed with the Royal Coat of Arms of Canada and is printed in two languages: English and French. 

Take a UV light to the inside pages of the Canadian passport, and you can spot many of Canada’s national treasures and symbols lit up in neon. These include maple leaves, historical figures, ships at sea, spectacular fireworks in the capital city of Ottawa, and of course, the Niagara Falls. 

Image credit: arkitera

Aside from being aesthetically pleasing to look at, these holographic images are also a matter of security. The more complex and intricate the designs are, the harder they are to replicate.

Switzerland

10 Coolest Passports of the World: The Best Passport Designs

Image credit: SDE

Switzerland has the seventh most powerful passport in the world for its ease of travel, according to the Henley Passport Index 2020. The Swiss passport is written in the nation’s four official languages and thereby reflects the country’s linguistic diversity: German, French, Italian, Romansh (a Romance language spoken in the Swiss canton of Grisons), as well as English. 

No one can deny that Switzerland’s passport is eye-catching with its signature white cross and bright red cover, embossed with a curving pattern of Swiss crosses. Relying on bold and simple imagery to convey a message, Switzerland’s passport design is just as durable and efficient as its Swiss watches — where function meets luxury and style. 

Australia

Image credit: smartraveller.gov.au

Showcasing the beauty of wildlife can also tell a story about a country. Emblazoned at the centre of Australia’s blue passport is the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, which depicts two of Australia’s beloved native animals: the kangaroo and the emu, each supporting a shield that represents the country’s six states. 

Inside, the passport draws from the diverse fauna and flora of Australia. When you tilt the pages at a certain angle and view them under UV light, stylised images of kangaroos look as if they are floating off the page. Australia is the first country to use this 3M™ Colour Floating Image technology in their passports. 

Slovenia

Image credit: Reneturk

We can’t help but fix our eyes on the design of Slovenia’s crest, which consists of a shield with three six-pointed stars over Mount Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia. Underneath the depiction of this mountain, two curved lines represent the rivers that run throughout the country. 

Like many passports in Europe, the Slovenian passport comes with a burgundy cover. On the other hand, it also takes a page from the Finnish passport by appearing like a flipbook. Thumbing through Slovenia’s passport, you can glimpse a horse and its rider galloping across the side of the pages. 

Lebanon

Image credit: A.h. king

Cedar trees have great historical significance in Lebanon, where ancient cedar forests once thrived in abundance across Mount Lebanon. Even today, Lebanon’s cedar tree is a national symbol of longevity and a source of pride for citizens. An embossed cedar tree is the centrepiece of the Lebanese passport, which comes in navy blue to mimic the colour of the Mediterranean Sea. 

On 1 Aug 2016, the Lebanese Directorate General of General Security issued new biometric Lebanese passports that were designed by GraphicShop, a visual communications firm based in Beirut. Inside, the pages reveal illustrations of historical landmarks such as Beirut Forest, Sidon Castle, Hasbaya Shehabi Citadel, and more. 

When you flip through the pages in broad daylight, you can also see illustrations of a sun moving from the east and setting in the west; while under ultraviolet light, you can observe the rotation of the moon in reverse. 

Japan

10 Coolest Passports of the World: The Best Passport Designs

Image credit: Muttley

You wouldn’t be the first to wonder why the chrysanthemum, and not the cherry blossom, is Japan’s flower of choice in its passport — a bare-faced cover with no national coat of arms, only a gold-coloured flower on a red background. Yet the chrysanthemum flower is a symbol for autumn, harvest, nobility, and the Japanese nation as a whole. 

Throughout history, the Japanese imperial family was called the “Chrysanthemum Throne” with a stylised chrysanthemum blossom as the imperial crest. Consequently, this flower continues to represent the Japanese monarchy to this day. 

New Zealand

Not only is the New Zealand passport a powerful one, but it’s also one of the most beautiful passports of the world. Here, a black background creates a stunning contrast with the silver letterings and illustrations. Above the New Zealand Coat of Arms, the words “New Zealand Passport” in English and “Uruwhenua Aotearoa” in Māori are embossed. 

Notice the silver ferns along the side of the passport? The silver fern, which is a species of tree fern that can only be found in New Zealand, is a symbol of strength and endurance. If these plants look familiar to you, that’s because they feature prominently on the jerseys of New Zealand’s national rugby players, who have been wearing these ferns as a symbol of national pride since 1888. 

Also read: 7 Easiest Countries to Migrate to Become a Permanent Resident 

With these daring strides in graphic design, the coolest passports of the world know how to tell a story about their countries. Which of these passport designs caught your eye today? 

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer based in Manila. When she was younger, she knew she wanted to write stories or go on adventures—and now, she's learning to do both. She enjoys reading books that spark her curiosity for new places.

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