Colour, colour, what colour?

about 2 years ago
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Have you ever wondered why your passport is of the colour and size that it is? Why wasn’t it made like a longish brochure or fatter like a notebook? Or for that matter, why is the color blue? Why did we not choose a rainbow hue or the colours of our flag?

Well, we did some reading and found some interesting stuff. So it seems the size and format is as same worldover, as stipulated by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines. But the colour? The ICAO has given a choice of four colours only – blue, green, red and black.

Green is a color most preferred by Islamic countries as green is the colour of their religion. So Morocco, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have green passports.  And some countries, due to their identity being linked with Economic Community of West African States also use the green colour, like Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal.

Coming to red, those in the EU have a passport which is more burgundy than red and even countries which joined later, changed their passport colour to burgundy like Turkey, Macedonia, Albania. Interestingly, those with a communist past or present have a red colour - Slovenia, China, Serbia, Latvia, Romania, Poland, Georgia all have red passports.  Countries in Nordic region too have red passports to denote their Viking past.

Blue is a very mediating colour, depicting no religion or affiliation to any religion or ideal. Some use the colour blue to denote their location in the middle of the ocean like the Caribbean islands. USA, till 1976 had a green passport but changed it to blue to match the shade in the American flag.  South American countries too have a blue colour passport due to their affiliation with Mercosur, a customs union.

And last comes the colour black. It is used by very few countries - Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Botswana, Burundi, Gabon, Angola, Malawi. Black is the national colour of New Zealand and thus its passport is black too. Some US passports are black – denoting diplomatic immunity status.

Thank God our Indian Govt has not yet thought of changing the Indian passport colour!

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