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The World's Most Beautiful Passports (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 26/02/2016 Travel + Leisure

Before passports became the world standard in identification, they were simpler, uglier things: essentially stamp pads for customs officials. Today, government agencies are working to stay ahead of counterfeiters by making it prohibitively difficult and expensive to forge documents. A single modern passport might utilize 30 different materials from 60 manufacturers. ​The books contain microchips, are made from special materials, and are packed with sophisticated visual features that are tough to copy--and that some countries are using to intriguing, even inspiring, effect.

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Multivariate ink changes colors when viewed from different angles, and tiny fluorescent fibers or spots on the paper can glow beneath a customs official's blacklight. Wavy intaglio-printed background designs provide a visual mesh in which microprinting and nanoprinting can hide tiny, perfectly formed, raised letters and numbers invisible to the naked eye. Holograms offer shifting three-dimensional images; embossed items and "hot foil stamping" can add bumpy texture to a flat page. Even the string binding your passport together may be microbraided with multiple colors and fluoresce under UV light. Blend these high-tech features with creativity and a dose of national pride, and you get passport books populated with animated animals, blossoming with flowers, and concealing special secret images.

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Here are some of the more beautiful, fun, and surprising passports around the world.
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