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What Secrets is My Passport Hiding?

Passport Security

Today, electronic passports are increasingly including more sophisticated features to ward off counterfeiters and impostors. This is a good thing. Here is a look at some of the most modern security features. Read on to find out what secrets your passport is hiding.


Holograms are a basic feature of today’s passports. These are also some of the most recognizable as they are visible to the naked eye. These three-dimensional images are normally on various pages of a passport. Holograms contain verifiable information which can be ready by a machine for authentication purposes.

Electronic chip 

E-passports (or electronic passports) feature a chip which contains identification data along with a photo of the passport holder. This chip is normally found on the last page of the passport.

UV Dull Paper

UV dull paper is a kind of paper which does not reflect UV light. It’s to say that UV ink on this paper can only be viewed under a blacklight.


Watermarks are typically tonal gradations formed in paper and are visible when held up to a light. Different pages within a passport may contain different watermarks.

Anti-Scam Pattern 

Anti-scam patterns are images made of fine lines in various angles in the background of the passport paper itself. This is normally not visible to the naked eye but is visible when photocopied.


Modern passports are usually printed with special fonts and font sizes. They normally include deliberate errors so are difficult to replicate. Some fonts are so small they are only visible under a microscope.

Encoded Data

E-passports may contain encoded data not visible by the naked eye. An example may be that the passport number may be encoded. It would be stored on security threads contained within the passport that can only be decoded with special readers. This adds an extra layer of security.

Chemical Sensitizers

Chemical sensitizers are special chemical mixes. They are used in passports to prevent tampering. An example would be if a solvent like bleach is poured on a passport to alter it, irreversible colours will develop on the pages.

Tactile Feature 

Tactile features are only noticeable through touch. They give the document a certain feel via their texture.

Authorities are encouraged to use a combination of security features when manufacturing passports in order to make them impossible (or at least extremely difficult) to reproduce.

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