PASSPORTS

ABOUT PASSPORTimages-7

 

EUROPEAN UNION PASSPORT

This is Passport issued by European Economic Area member states (the European Union, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) or Switzerland that can be used by citizens to exercise the right of free movement within the European Economic Area and Switzerland without applying for a Visa. This EU Passport is limited to travel freely without a Visa just within the 28 European Union Member states.

 
The European Union itself does not issue ordinary passports, but ordinary passport booklets issued by its 28 member states share a common format. This common format features burgundy-coloured covers (with the exception of Croatia) emblazoned—in the official language(s) of the issuing country (and sometimes its translation into English and French)—with the title “European Union”, followed by the name(s) of the member state, its coat of arms, the word “PASSPORT”, together with the biometric passport symbol at the bottom centre of the front cover.
 
USE : 
With a valid passport, EU citizens are entitled to exercise the right of free movement (meaning they do not need a visa) in the European Economic Area (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and Switzerland.
 
When going through border controls to enter an EEA country, EU citizens possessing valid biometric passports are sometimes able to use automated gates instead of immigration counters. For example, when entering the United Kingdom, at major airports, adult holders of EU biometric passports can use ePassport gates, whilst all other EU citizens (such as those using a national identity card or a non-biometric passport) and non-EEA citizens must use an immigration counter. Anyone travelling with children must also use an immigration counter.
 

As an alternative to holding a passport, EU citizens can also use a valid national identity card to exercise their right of free movement within the EEA and Switzerland. Strictly speaking, it is not necessary for an EU citizen to possess a valid passport or national identity card to enter the EEA or Switzerland. In theory, if an EU citizen outside of both the EEA and Switzerland can prove his/her nationality by any other means (e.g. by presenting an expired passport or national identity card, or a citizenship certificate), he/she must be permitted to enter the EEA or Switzerland. An EU citizen who is unable to demonstrate his/her nationality satisfactorily must nonetheless be given ‘every reasonable opportunity’ to obtain the necessary documents or to have them delivered within a reasonable period of time.

 

 

COMMON DESIGN FEATURES

While considerable progress has been made in harmonising some features, the data page can be at the front or at the back of an EU passport booklet and there are still significant design differences throughout to indicate which member state is the issuer.

 

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Only British and Irish passports are not obliged by EU law to contain fingerprint information in their chip. With the exception of passports issued by Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, all EU citizens applying for a new ordinary passport or passport renewal by 28 August 2006 (for facial images) and 28 June 28 2009 (for fingerprints) should have been biometrically enrolled. This is a consequence of Regulation (EC) 2252/2004 in combination with two follow-up decisions by the European Commission.

 
Non-standard types of passports, such as passport cards (Ireland is still the only EU country to issue a passport in card format), diplomatic, service and emergency passports have not yet been harmonised but, since the 1980s, European Union member states have started to harmonise the following aspects of the designs of their ordinary passport booklets
 

 

  • Paper size B7 (ISO/IEC 7810 ID-3, 88 mm × 125 mm)
  • 32 pages (passports with more pages can be issued to frequent travellers)
  • Colour of cover: burgundy red (with the exception of Croatia)

COVER

 

Information on the cover, in this order, in the language(s) of the issuing state:

 
  • The words “EUROPEAN UNION” (before 1997: “EUROPEAN COMMUNITY”)
  • Name of the issuing state (similar typeface as “EUROPEAN UNION”)
  • Emblem of the state
  • The word “PASSPORT”
  • The Biometric Passport symbol

 

FIRST PAGE

 

Information on the first page, in one or more of the languages of the European Union:

 
  • The words “EUROPEAN UNION”
  • Name of the issuing state (similar typeface to that of “European Union”)
  • The word “PASSPORT”
  • Serial number (may also be repeated on the other pages).

IDENTIFICATION PAGE

 

Information on the (possibly laminated) identification page, in the languages of the issuing state plus English and French, accompanied by numbers that refer to an index that lists the meaning of these fields in all official EU languages:

 
1. Surname            2. Forename(s)
3. Nationality         4. Date of birth
5. Sex                   6. Place of birth
7. Date of issue         8. Date of expiry
9. Authority            10. Signature of holder
 

On the top of the identification page there is the code “P” for passport, the code (ISO 3166-1 alpha-3) for the issuing country, and the passport number. On the left side there is the photo. On other places there might optionally be a national identification number, the height and security features.

 
MACHINE-READABLE ZONE
 

Like all biometric passports, the newer EU passports contain a Machine-readable zone, which contains the name, nationality and most other information from the identification page. It is designed in a way so that computers can fairly easily read the information, although it still human

readable, since it contains only letters (A–Z), digits and “<” as space character, but no bar graph or similar.

PERSONAL NAME SPELLING DIFFERENCES
 

Names containing non-English letters are usually spelled in the correct way in the non-machine-readable zone of the passport, but are mapped according to the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the machine-readable zone. For example, the German umlauts (ä, ö, ü) and the letter ß are mapped as AE / OE / UE and SS, so Müller becomes MUELLER, Groß becomes GROSS, and Gößmann becomes GOESSMANN.

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The ICAO mapping is mostly used for computer-generated and internationally used documents such as air tickets, but sometimes (like in US visas) also simple letters are used (MULLER, GOSSMANN). German credit cards use in their non-machine-readable zone either the correct or the mapped spelling.
 
Some German names are always spelled with “old” spelling, such as the poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or the Third-Reich politician Paul Joseph Goebbels; however, in the name of the German football player Ulrich Hoeneß, the umlaut is spelled “old”, but the letter ß is not (the spelling in the machine-readable passport zone is HOENESS, the ß being mapped here).
 
The three possible spelling variants of the same name (e.g. Müller / Mueller / Muller) in different documents sometimes lead to confusion, and the use of two different spellings within the same document (like in the passports of German-speaking countries) may give people who are unfamiliar with the foreign orthography the impression that the document is a forgery.
 
The Austrian passport can (but does not always) contain a note in German, English, and French that AE / OE/ UE / SS are the common mappings of Ä / Ö / Ü / ß.
 
Names originally written in a non-Latin writing system may pose another problem if there are various internationally recognized transcription standards. For example, the Russian surname ???????? is transcribed
 
  • “Gorbachev” in English,
  • “Gorbatschow” in German,
  • “Gorbatchov” in French,
  • “Gorbachov” in Spanish,
  • “Gorbaczow” in Polish, and so on.
 
The machine-readable zone contains the name transliterated in a standardized (English-based) way, defined by the standard for machine readable travel documents (ICAO 9303). ???????? would be written GORBACHEV.
 
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