Australia’s New Passports Have A World-First Security Feature

Australia’s passports are some of the world’s most advanced. The latest iteration is even more so; a world-first “floating image” — of kangaroos, naturally — means that any legitimate passport will be virtually impossible to counterfeit. The new document is printed like Australia’s polymer banknotes, too, further stymying potential forgers.

Image credit: DFAT

The world-first feature is a pair of holographic, coloured stylised kangaroo designs on the passport holder’s identification spread, “which appear to float independently above and below the page”. Designed by 3M in consultation with the Australian government, the design also changes colour under UV light. Anyone trying to recreate this illegitimately is going to have a really tough job on their hands.

The new passport’s intaglio inside cover is now printed with five colours instead of two, and is also printed in a higher resolution. This tech comes courtesy of Note Printing Australia, the government-controlled company responsible for producing the country’s polymer banknotes. Every single page of the passport, as with previous ones, is uniquely printed with scenes of Australian flora and fauna, and if you’re issued with a new passport any time soon you’ll notice the front cover has slightly changed in colour; it’s a shade of blue that more closely mimics the Australian flag.

The new P Series passports are being printed and issued now, superseding the N Series launched in 2009. Like the M Series from 2005 onwards, the new Australian passports also include an RFID chip that can be used with SmartGate terminals at Australian airports, (usually) helping speed up travelers’ Customs and Immigration checking procedures. [DFAT]