Since the 1980s, member states of the European Union have started to harmonise aspects of the designs of their ordinary passports (but not other types of passports, such as diplomatic, service and emergency passports), as well as common security features and biometrics.
Most passports issued by EU member states have the common recommended lay out; burgundy in colour with the words “European Union” accompanied by the name of the issuing member state printed on the cover.


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


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 stateThe word “PASSPORT”
  • The Biometric Passport symbol: EPassport logo.svg


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

  • 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)


In passports issued by the EU member states, information on the (possibly laminated) identification page, in the languages of the issuing state plus English and French, are accompanied by numbers that refer to an index that lists the meaning of these fields in all official EU languages. Passports issued in the EFTA member states do not necessarily list such references.

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. The layout of the biographical data page shall follow the specifications given in part 1 of ICAO Document 9303.


Passports and travel document shall contain a machine-readable biographical data page, which shall comply with Part 1 (machine-readable passports) of ICAO Document 9303 and the way they are issued shall comply with the specifications for machine-readable passports set out therein.

Newer EEA 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. Apostrophes and similar have to be omitted, but hyphens and spaces should be replaced by an angle bracket. Diacritical marks are not permitted in the MRZ. Even though they may be useful to distinguish names, the use of diacritical marks in the MRZ could confuse machine-reading equipment.


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.


Optional information on the following page:

11. Residence 12. Height

13. Colour of eyes    14. Extension of the passport

15. Name at birth (if now using married name or have legally changed names)


The following page is reserved for:Details concerning the spouse of the holder of the passport (where a family passport is issued)Details concerning children accompanying the holder (name, first name, date of birth, sex)Photographs of the faces of spouse and childrenThe following page is reserved for use by the issuing authoritiesThe following page carries the index that translates the field numbers into the official languages of the EU
The remaining pages are reserved for visa
The inside back cover is reserved for additional information or recommendations by the issuing state in its own official language(s)


Passports and travel documents issued by member states shall comply with the minimum security standards, and passports must incorporate a storage medium (a chip) that contains the holder’s facial image and fingerprints. This obligation does not apply to identity cards or to temporary passports and travel documents with a validity of one year or less. The United Kingdom and Ireland are not bound by the rules, whereas Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are.