Along with other advanced document security features, William Shakespeare is helping ensure the new U.K. secure passport is protected against criminals bent on exploiting the travel identity document for terrorism and other nefarious purposes. The bard appears as a three-dimensional watermark on the document, one of the various security features that the British government highlights in a report describing the passport’s new look.
The secure passport features include a continuous personal details page, which is a method of construction that has never previously been seen
The HM Passport Office report—“Introducing the New UK Passport Design”—maintains that the new travel identity document “uses the latest and most secure printing and design techniques.
This includes advances in security printing, inks, watermarks and holograms, alongside a continuous personal details page, which is a method of construction that has never previously been seen.”
U.K. secure passport embeds advanced document security features
Those new security features include:
- Using a “continuous sheet of paper” for the laminated personal details page, through to the page that is adjoined to the back cover. “This construction is designed to cause irreparable damage if tampered with, which would be obvious to any person who may need to check the document,” the passport office says.
- Embedding into the passport a chip that contains the digital image of the passport holder.
- On page three of the passport, a secondary image of the holder of the travel identity document. “When magnified you will see that this image is constructed from the letters and numbers that make up the passport holder’s surname and date of birth,” the passport office says.
- That Shakespeare watermark. Not only does the secure passport include the three-dimensional portrait of the playwright and poet, but a “two dimensional watermark of a writer’s scroll, a quill and the corresponding page number.” Additionally, the passport’s personal details page includes a “three-dimensional watermark of the Gipsy Moth IV boat as well as the four floral motifs that represent the U.K—the rose for England, daffodil for Wales, thistle for Scotland, and shamrock for Northern Ireland.” (Gipsy Moth IV is a ketch on which a single British skipper sailed around the world via the route used by old-time clipper ships.)
To further secure the travel identity document, the new U.K. passport design includes “perfect alignment of invisible inks which can be seen using ultraviolet (UV) light with their visible counterparts,” along with the use of other security inks Gemini, Intaglio and infrared. Beyond that, the travel identity documents include embedded security fibers and a red, white and blue security thread that bounds the passport and which fluoresces under UV light.