This Is The World’s Rarest Passport
And you thought getting a U.S. passport was tough.
Passports—their size, stamps, color, and capabilities—run the gamut. There is the world’s most powerful passport, a future fraud-proof version, and what your red, green, black, or blue passport says about you. It should come as no surprise, then, that there are also passports that are extremely rare.
The world’s most obscure? That one is thought to be from the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which only issues three “ordinary” passports, maximum, at a time: one to its Grand Master, who is elected for life, another to the Grand Commander, and another to the Grand Chancellor. Diplomatic passports of the Sovereign Order of Malta are more common, and number in the 400s. Despite its associations with the country of Malta, the SMOM is today headquartered in Palazzo Malta in Rome and is a separate entity from the Mediterranean island nation.
As a Catholic order, the SMOM primarily operates as a charitable organization offering medical aid across the world. It controls no territory, but has diplomatic relations with more than 100 states, and also has observer status at the United Nations. It has 13,500 knights, dames, and chaplains, 80,000 permanent volunteers. and 25,000 employees. It also has its own constitution, passports, and stamps. Not everyone embraces the Order’s passports, however: only 12 of the 26 Schengen member states recognize the passport, and the United States and New Zealand also refuse to accept them.
Other passports around the world that are obscure include Aboriginal passports, ones from the Vatican, and diplomatic courier passports from the Corps of Queen’s Messengers, who are tasked with hand-carrying sensitive documents to British embassies and consulates around the world. So while you may bemoan the arduous, and sometimes lengthy, process to apply for (or renew) a passport, just remember that it probably is easier to get than one of these.