The Hidden Designs In Your Passport

Updated: Jul 31, 2018

Banknotes, driving licences, credit cards and passports all use a variety of security features to counter forgery. One commonly used by all of them is UV ink.

UK Passport under UV

UV ink allows authorities to print invisible designs within a document which only show up under light from the UV spectrum. For forgers, recreating an intricate design in print is difficult enough, but adding additional designs and features in special UV ink provides yet another hurdle to overcome.

As it is rarely seen by anyone, there is very little incentive for authorities to make the UV ink designs within official documents anything beyond just humdrum. As long as they are challenging enough for attempted forgers to reproduce, they will do the job.

UV Euros
The driving licence, bank card and bank note anti-counterfeit designs under UV.

However, in recent years, Her Majesty’s UK Passport Office have put a little more effort into their passport designs - creating beautiful and intricate artworks only visible in UV.

Below is an example from a recent UK passport. Each page of the passport features a different unique UV artwork focused on native wildlife species and, naturally for the British, the weather. When shone under a UV lamp, these invisible artworks spectacularly come into shimmering life.


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