German passport

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The German passport is a travel document , the general travel of German nationals to foreign countries is issued.

A distinction must be made here between the service passport and the diplomatic passport , which are intended for travel by representatives of the issuing state in an official capacity.

The German passport is a sovereign document, the design of which is regulated in the Passport Act (PassG) and in the Passport Ordinance (PassV). In contrast to other German official documents, such as civil status documents, the Federal Republic of Germany is not completely free in the design and technical equipment of travel documents. Rather, international conventions must be observed, in particular the recommendations and guidelines issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for machine-readable travel documents . In addition, the EU member states are keen to harmonize the design of their national passports.

With the German passport you can travel to 189 countries without a visa - in the Henley Passport Index from January 2020 it was in 3rd place - after Japan and Singapore , which occupy the first two places - together with South Korea .


The passport is issued to Germans by the Federal Republic of Germany within the meaning of Article 116, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law . The legal basis for this results from the Passport Act . In accordance with Section 1 (2) PassG, the following versions of the pass are issued:

Every German can receive a passport from birth, but in the case of minors , the application requires the consent of the guardian .

According to Section 5 PassG, passport validity is based on the age of the applicant: It is valid for six years for people up to the age of 24 and ten years for older people. The main reason for the shortened validity is that the external shape changes faster in babies, children, adolescents and younger adults than in older adults. An extension of the period of validity is not permitted. Against the background of the suspension of compulsory military service, the intention to prevent unauthorized emigration of conscripts who are subject to military surveillance through short passport validities has lost importance . The issuing fee of a passport that is only valid for six years is lower than that of a passport that is valid for ten years.

The application for a passport must be made personally so that the submission of the necessary signature on the identification document can be checked by the competent authority. In addition, fingerprints are recorded with a fingerprint scanner . In addition, proof of identity and a current passport photo in the format 3.5 cm × 4.5 cm, which meet the requirements for biometric suitability, are required. The passport applicant must generally be depicted without headgear. The head must be recognizable from the chin to the forehead. The passport authority can allow exceptions to the requirement to wear a hat, especially for religious reasons and for medical reasons that are not only of a temporary nature. The height of the face must take up 70–80% of the photo. The photo can be submitted in black and white or color. The facial expression must be "neutral". The illustration of parts of the uniform is not permitted.

The passport documents remain the property of the Federal Republic of Germany even after they have been handed over to the holder ( Section 1 (4) PassG , noted on the last inside page of the passport). According to generally recognized principles of international law , it follows that other states are not entitled to dispose of passports of the Federal Republic of Germany. This also applies in reverse to the national passports of other countries.

Since July 1, 2003, frequent travelers can apply for a 48-page passport instead of the usual 32-page passport for a fee.

Due to a European agreement, it is possible to enter certain member states of the EU with a passport that has expired by up to a year . However, some airlines require you to present a valid document.

In May 2007 there were around 28.2 million German passports in circulation; around 400,000 temporary passports were issued annually during this period.

Structure of the passport


Passport card front page, execution since March 2017

The passport has a burgundy red cover with gold-colored embossing. The cover color in RAL color 4004 Bordeaux violet, which has been used since 1988, goes back to a resolution of the EU member states of 1981 (the color purple was also provided for the cover of the passport), which in turn was supplemented by a resolution on the introduction of a uniform Sample-designed passport of the representatives of the governments of the member states of the European Communities meeting in the Council of June 30, 1982. The reason for the uniform coloring within the EU is the endeavor to harmonize the passports of the EU member states "to give the nationals of the member states to every imaginable Wise to give a stronger feeling that they belong to the same community ”.

The passport includes a data page on which the personal data of the holder are entered, as well as 32 and 48 numbered pages for official and visas ( Visa ). The passport contains several security features . In German passports, the data page is a plastic card (the passport card ; also known as the human page ), which contains the paper inlay (only until the end of February 2017) and, since 2001, the Identigram feature.

The content pages of the passport, d. H. the book block or the paper pages with official notices and the pages for visas inside the German passport are provided with the serial number of the passport in the lower area. This so-called penetrating security feature is introduced by means of laser perforation. The travel document has been produced in this form in the Bundesdruckerei since January 1st, 1988 .

On February 23, 2017, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière presented a new passport under the working title Passport 3.0 , which has been issued since March 1, 2017. The extensive changes to the design include moving away from the previous hardcover to a flexible, bendable cover, as well as eliminating the laminated data page in favor of an all-plastic card made of polycarbonate . The new passport also contains numerous new security features and graphic innovations. For example, under UV light, a large-scale depiction of the Brandenburg Gate and the federal eagle based on the German national colors can be seen.

The words 'European Union', 'Federal Republic of Germany' and 'Passport' are written in the 24 official languages ​​of the European Union on the cover of the passport card (back of the passport card) . In addition, the federal eagle as well as the notes and text of the first line of the German national anthem are embossed into the polycarbonate material.

Included data

The data contained in the passport are specified in Section 4 PassG . The numbering of the information in the passport is based on Annex 11 PassV , which is based on an EU-wide convention :

  • On the data page (also called 'data card' or 'passport card'), which is designed in accordance with ICAO specifications and provided with a photo of the holder, the following information about the holder is noted:
  1. Family name , doctor's degree
    if applicable, maiden name if applicable
  2. First name (s)
  3. Birthday (until February 2017: nationality )
  4. Gender (until February 2017: birthday)
  5. Nationality (until February 2017: gender)
  6. place of birth
  7. date of issue
  8. Date of Expiry
  9. authority
  10. Signature of the holder
    Furthermore, the serial number, the type of the document (P = passport) and the code for the nationality (generally: "D") are given on the data page .
    On (following) page 1 of the pass you will find further information about the holder:
  11. place of residence
  12. size
  13. Eye color
  14. if applicable, order or stage name (previously intended for the extension of the passport)
  15. previously offered the option of entering children on page 2 of the passport (no longer applicable since November 1, 2007)
The following abbreviations:
"P" for passport,
"PC" for children's passport,
"PP" for temporary passport,
"PO" for service passport and provisional service passport and
"PD" for diplomatic passport and temporary diplomatic passport,
the abbreviation "D" for the Federal Republic of Germany as the issuing state,
the family name,
the first name (s),
Umlaut , diacritical marks , " SS " and other special characters in the name are (z. B. M in the MRZ either circumscribed ü ller → M UE NETELLER , Gro betaGRO SS ) or replaced by normal letters (eg. B. D é sir é e → D E SIR E E ). This means that the name is spelled in two ways in the document, which can cause confusion, especially abroad. The German naming rights (no. 38 NamÄndVwV) also recognizes special characters in the last name as the reason for an official name change (even a mere change of notation, z. B. of M Ü NETELLER to M UE NETELLER or WEI ß to WEI SS applies as such). On October 1, 1980 introduced the Federal Administrative Court again found that the technically caused erroneous reproduction of special characters on electronic systems can be an important reason for the change of surname (the plaintiff spelling wanted his name from G Ö TZ in G OE TZ change , but it initially failed at the registry office).
the serial number of the passport (see below)
the abbreviation "D" for the status of German or, in the case of official passports, if you have a different nationality, the corresponding abbreviation for this,
the day of birth,
the abbreviation "F" for female passport holders, "M" for male passport holders and "X" if the gender is indefinite,
the validity of the passport as well
the check digit .
  • In accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No. 2252/2004 of December 13, 2004, the following data are stored on the electronic storage medium of the passport:
    • Since November 1, 2005 the information contained in the MRZ and a digital photo of the passport holder (first generation ePassport).
    • Since November 1, 2007, additional fingerprints of the holder including the designation of the recorded fingers and information on the quality of the prints (second generation ePassport).

The electronically stored data must be secured against unauthorized reading, modification and deletion in accordance with Section 4 (3) PassG .

In October 2014, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled that the previous regulation for the specification of surnames is inadmissible. So far it has been the case that the maiden name with the abbreviation "born" in front of it is given in the last name field if it differs from the current surname. This repeatedly caused confusion abroad, as the abbreviation is not self-explanatory. A businessman from Karlsruhe wanted to apply for a passport without specifying his maiden name, which he was denied, against which he complained. In future, names must be given in such a way that the maiden name is denoted in several languages, like other fields, without any misleading abbreviations.

In particular, there are some popular misconceptions about the field “place of residence”. It is often said that when moving, it is not necessary to change the "Place of residence" field, as no exact address is entered. However, this is not correct. Although - unlike on the identity card - the passport does not contain the entire address, but only the municipality (place of residence) in which the passport holder (usually with main residence) is registered, the passport holder is nevertheless legally obliged to If you move to another city or municipality, you have to register your new place of residence, as otherwise the information in the passport would be incorrect. Failure to comply with this regulation is considered a breach of duty. Outside Germany, the place of residence is irrelevant.

At the competent authority, the previous place of residence is usually crossed out manually and the new place of residence including the city seal is entered as a stamp. The update can take place at the same time as you register with the new municipality. If you move from place A to place B, it is therefore advisable to have place B entered as the new place of residence in the passport when changing your registration as required by law.

If you move within the municipality, no change is necessary.

Serial numbers

In order to comply with the recommendation of the ICAO ( Doc 9303 ) to indicate the serial number on the documents with nine digits, the serial number on identity cards and passports has been given without a check digit and thus nine digits instead of the previous ten digits since January 2004. In the machine-readable area , however, the serial number is still shown as ten digits with a check digit.

The serial number in the passport, service passport and diplomatic passport has been alphanumeric since November 1, 2007 , i.e. H. in addition to numbers, letters are also included. The serial number is made up of

  • the four-digit authority code (alphanumeric),
  • a random five-digit alphanumeric passport number (ZAP),
  • followed by a check digit .

Further criteria were defined for the formation of the serial number:

  • The authority code (BHKZ) as part of the passport serial number must begin with a letter.
  • The passport number (five digits) as part of the serial number is generated centrally by Bundesdruckerei .
  • Only the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 as well as the letters C, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, are permitted for the serial number of the passport, P, R, T, V, W, X, Y and Z. Confusing the number “0” with the letter “O” is therefore impossible. The use of vowels (A, E, I, O, U) and certain letters (B, D, Q, S) was therefore not used to avoid meaningful words and to ensure OCR readability. In exceptional cases the serial number can only consist of letters.
  • The authority code as part of the passport serial number begins with the characters C, F, G, H, J or K; initially only the C is used.
  • This regulation does not apply to provisional passports and children's passports.

Additional security features

In November 2001, Germany introduced the Identigram as an additional security feature on the data page. Among other things, the photo and the machine-readable zone are also displayed holographically offset from the printed data. In addition, there are kinegraphic structures over the printed photo and the federal eagle is displayed in three dimensions as a hologram on the right-hand side of the front of the card .

In addition, the identigram contains a machine-recognizable authenticity feature in the form of a red dot (5 mm diameter) under the photo. All information is best seen under a point light source (such as a halogen spotlight or in direct sunlight).

Second pass

The passport law stipulates that “no one may have multiple passports of the Federal Republic of Germany”, “unless a legitimate interest in issuing multiple passports can be proven” ( Section 1 (3 ) PassG ). In justified cases, i. H. A second passport, possibly even a third passport, can only be applied for if there is a legitimate interest . Reasons would be, for example, travel routes through hostile countries that would refuse entry if there was a stamp from the other country. An Israeli stamp can be used as an example when visiting Arab countries (excluding Egypt , Jordan and the United Arab Emirates ). Professional reasons are also possible. For example, as a journalist you can rely on several passports in order to be able to move freely around the world, while the second passport is available at embassies for issuing visas . According to German regulations, in extreme cases it is possible to issue up to ten valid passports at the same time, but the additional passports are only valid for a maximum of six years.

Pass refusal and withdrawal

According to Section 7 of the Passport Act, the passport can be refused or withdrawn if there are certain reasons for this. On the one hand, this would endanger internal or external security or other significant concerns of the Federal Republic. Furthermore, the passport can be refused or withdrawn if there is a risk that one wants to evade criminal prosecution or execution by fleeing abroad.

Electronic passport with biometric data (ePassport)

History of origin

Since 1998, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a sub-organization of the United Nations , has dealt with the introduction of electronically evaluable biometric features in machine-readable travel documents .

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the USA led to Resolution 1373 of the UN Security Council on September 28, 2001, in which u. a. It was decided that "all states [...] will prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by carrying out effective border controls and controlling the issuance of identity documents and travel documents and by taking measures to prevent the counterfeiting, forgery or fraudulent use of identity documents and travel documents ".

On January 9, 2002, the Passport Act was amended in Germany with the adoption of the Anti-Terrorism Act ( BGBl. 2002 I p. 361 , ber. BGBl. 2002 I p. 3142 ) . With the entry into force of this amendment law, the passport was now allowed to contain further biometric features of the fingers or hands or face of the passport holder in addition to the photo and the signature, whereby the photo, the signature and the other biometric features could also be included in the passport in a form encrypted with security procedures .

In 2003, the ICAO published a recommendation known as “Blueprint” ( English for “ blueprint ”). It urges the UN member states to electronically save the holder's biometric features on the travel document in future. The criteria for the selection of the technologies to be used are worldwide interoperability , uniformity, technical reliability, practicability and durability. The specifications were included in Doc 9303 of the ICAO and have been continuously developed since then.

The four central points of the "blueprint" were

  • the use of contactless chips ( RFID ),
  • the digital storage of the photo on these chips, with additional features such as fingerprints or iris patterns being added,
  • the use of a defined logical data structure (LDS) and
  • a method for managing digital access keys (Public Key Infrastructure, PKI ).

On December 13, 2004, the Council of the European Union - u. a. With regard to the announcement by the USA to tighten the requirements for visa-free entry ( see also: USA PATRIOT Act ) - to equip the passports of the member states with machine-readable biometric data of the holder in accordance with ICAO requirements .

First stage - integration of facial biometrics

On June 22, 2005, the German federal government passed an ordinance on the introduction of biometric passports; The Federal Council gave its approval on July 8, 2005. The then Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily, described the cabinet decision as an “important step on the way to using the great advances in biometrics for internal security ”.

The entry into force of this ordinance in 2005 is also referred to as the first stage of the introduction of biometric / electronic passports (ePassports) in Germany, as initially only an electronic copy of the passport holder's passport photo and the data known from the machine-readable area were electronically stored in the passport. At the same time came new rules - now biometric - passport photos in force ( English : ICAO -compliant portrait ).

In the German passport, chips according to ISO / IEC 14443 from NXP Semiconductors ( spun off from Philips ) with type A (72  kB ) and Infineon type B (64 kB) are used. The chip was integrated as of November 1, 2005. The Golden Reader Tool developed on behalf of the BSI is available as software for reading the information stored on the chip as an international reference implementation .

Second stage - integration of fingerprint data

The first stage of the introduction of ePassports, which took place in 2005, was based on a regulation by the Ministry of the Interior. The second stage of the introduction of biometric / electronic passports, i.e. H. the additional storage of fingerprints in the chip of the ePassport made a change in the law necessary. On May 25, 2007, the German Bundestag passed a new passport law with the votes of the grand coalition , on the basis of which, since November 1, 2007, fingerprints of the right and left index finger have also been stored in passports. In contrast to what was previously proposed by the then Federal Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble , permanent copies of fingerprints are not part of the law.

At the same time, as of November 1, 2007, the possibility of having children entered in the passport was canceled. The field name of the order or artist name was omitted without replacement. On intervention of the Catholic Church and of artist associations this field was the revision of the Personal Identity Card Act reintroduced on 1 November of 2010. The period of validity for passports for younger applicants under the age of 24 has been increased from five to six years. Applicants from the age of 24 (previously 26) now receive a passport that is valid for ten years. The EU official languages Romanian and Bulgarian have been included in the passport. Instructions for use have been inserted on the last front page. The serial numbers have been changed to randomly assigned alphanumeric serial numbers.

Data acquisition

Fingerprint scanner that is used for data acquisition in the German passport

When applying for a passport , the information specified in accordance with the Passport Act and a signature sample are collected. Since November 2007, two fingerprints (flat, not rolled) have been recorded in Germany and saved as compressed images. Children under the age of six do not have to give fingerprints when applying for an ePassport.


EasyPASS with one user at the document

With the introduction of ePassports it has become possible to partially or fully automate the control processes when crossing borders . Through suitable procedures and a combination of individual isolation, document authenticity check and biometric owner verification, travelers can operate appropriately equipped checkpoints in self-service. Airport operators and border protection authorities in particular expect a reduction in the workload of the control staff and a reduction in waiting times for passengers.

In June 2007, for the first time in Europe, Faro International Airport in Portugal put several such eGates equipped with biometric face recognition into operation, which were followed by further applications in Finland and England . Since June 2009 the German Federal Police has been operating a comparable automated border control system under the name EasyPASS .

Protection mechanisms for the data stored in the ePassport

Safety precautions

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) specifies some security mechanisms for machine-readable travel documents , of which only passive authentication is mandatory. The EU supplemented the ICAO requirements with additional security mechanisms that are mandatory for the member states of the European Union . In addition to Passive Authentication , these are Basic Access Control for MRZ data and the passport photo as well as Extended Access Control for fingerprints. German passports currently implement Basic Access Control and Extended Access Control , but not the optional "Active Authentication".

  • Passive Authentication (PA) (mandatory for all ICAO-compliant ePassports)
The Passive Authentication serves to ensure the authenticity of electronically stored data by those with a digital signature to be secured. This means that any subsequent modification of the data is detected by the reader, since the signature becomes invalid. However , this does not prevent the creation of a 1: 1 copy ( clone ).
  • Basic Access Control (BAC) (optional, implemented in the German ePassport)
Basic Access Control is a mechanism to protect the privacy, wherein the electronic reading of the data is only released when the reader has established that it knowledge of the content of the optically be read machine readable zone has. This ensures that the passport holder has physically handed the document to the person who wants to read it or at least holds it open against an optical scanner or, as when traveling to the USA, has entered the data in a web form, which is interpreted as consent to electronic reading .
  • Active Authentication (AA) (optional)
Under Active Authentication refers to a mechanism for preventing of 1: 1 copies. An asymmetrical cryptosystem is used: The public key is in the signed data, the authenticity of which is ensured by passive authentication, while the private key is in the chip's secure memory and cannot be read out. The chip can then prove to the reader that it knows the private key using a challenge-response process. The reader generates a random number, sends it to the chip, which signs it and sends the digital signature back. If the signature is correct, there is sufficient assurance that the chip is in possession of the private key and has therefore not been copied.
A possible weak point of this method arises when the reader assigns hidden semantics to the random number . An inspection system could, for example, encode the place and time into the random number, which is then signed by the chip, and store the signature. This could then, at a later point in time, convince a third party that the chip - and thus the passport and its holder - were in a certain place at a certain point in time.
  • Extended Access Control (EAC) (optional, implemented in the German ePassport)
The Extended Access Control is a mechanism for managing access rights. While the data that can be read using Basic Access Control - i.e. name, date of birth, face image - is accessible to anyone who is in physical possession of the passport, the passport contains additional, more sensitive data, such as fingerprints . This additional data is protected via "Extended Access Control", whereby the control over which states can read which additional data lies with the passport-issuing states.

The details of the EAC are not specified by the ICAO and are the responsibility of the passport-issuing states. The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) played a key role in the development of Extended Access Control throughout the EU . This specification formed the basis for the decision of the EU Commission of June 28, 2006. The current version of the technical guideline BSI TR-03110 specifies the protocols for securing personal data that are stored in electronic ID cards.

Attacks on the electronic security features of ePassports

So far (as of August 2010) no actual forgeries or falsifications of ePassports in border security operations have become known worldwide. However, various forms of attack were presented, which are intended to reveal theoretical security gaps.

  • In 2006 the possibility was demonstrated of replicating the RFID chip data of a German passport, i.e. reading the content and copying it onto an empty smart card RFID chip. The generated chip was also placed in the passport in such a way that a reader read the replicated and not the original chip. This modified a valid passport which, like the German passport, does not have the Active Authentication (AA) duplication protection recommended by the ICAO . It is controversial whether the replicability of the chip represents a security risk, since this modification does not lead to the passport being misused compared to the original. Readers that rely exclusively on the data stored in the RFID chip could be fooled by this, but they are not used in border security operations.
It was not possible to change the data because the data on the RFID chip is tamper-proof via 224-bit ( ECDSA ) or 2048-bit ( RSA ) keys. If the described method is actually to be used to forge or falsify passports, even if only to change the electronic identity, a forger would either have to break the 2048 bit RSA signature or change the optical signature in the passport. According to experts, cracking a 2048 bit RSA key is impossible for the foreseeable future. Changing the optical signature, printed on the inside of the passport, is made more difficult by various security mechanisms (for example by holograms) and can usually be easily recognized by security officers and optical passport readers.
  • A British security expert described in 2007 how he was able to gain access to a person's passport data with the help of a standard reading device and a computer program he had written himself. The fact that the unauthorized British document was in a sealed envelope was not an obstacle for him. The holder of the ID card did not notice anything that her passport data had been read out. The attack is based on the fact that the Basic Access Control (BAC) read access protection of the electronic passport has a short and therefore weak key . This key is also partially formed from the person's personal data (date of birth), which further shortens the effective length of the key if this data is known. In fact, this was the case during the attack because the security advisor had prior knowledge of the passport holder's personal data. Nevertheless, four hours of direct contact with the chip in the passport were required, which does not correspond to reading it out in passing. It is therefore controversial whether this form of skimming is a security risk.
  • One possible form of attack is the manipulation of personal computers in registration authorities, where the personal and biometric data of passport applicants are recorded. In the event of a successful attack, the passport data could be intercepted, falsified or forged. The concept was theoretically demonstrated in 2009 using the example of the manipulation of fingerprint data. Since such attacks are a general information security problem that is not specific to ePassports , their practical significance is controversial.

Data protection issues

Without adequate security measures, RFID chips in the passport could lead to the stored data being read out covertly without the owner's willful and active action (such as showing the ID card). This unnoticed reading could take place, for example, by staying in an area equipped with RFID reading technology or by approaching a person with a mobile reading device at a short distance from the person concerned or their passport. However, skeptics can wrap their ePassport in aluminum foil or keep it in a metallic protective cover. Then the travel document is actually shielded.

In the case of European passports, however, the reading out by unauthorized persons should be prevented by the basic access control method . The chip can be read out if the machine-readable zone of the passport has been read optically beforehand, i.e. the document has been handed over to an officer or to a person in possession of a reader. Alternatively, the data of the machine-readable area can also come from a database, which enables a specific, expected document to be covertly detected. The reader must register with the data from the machine-readable zone on the RFID chip. If this registration fails, the chip does not reveal any details of its owner. Furthermore, only readers intended for this should be able to read the chip and communication between the reader and chip is encrypted. The procedure ensures that no personal data can be read that are not already known.

Some also perceive the intended use of the ePassport as a security risk for the protection of personal data. Every country that has purchased the appropriate reading devices can read, save and process the data on the passport that can be used with biometric technology. This can be prevented technically: The RFID chip can be destroyed in a commercially available microwave device. To do this, the ePassport is inserted and the switch is only switched on for a fraction of a second. After that, the chip is usually destroyed. However, briefly flaming the RFID chip can also destroy the passport. The passport remains valid if it still enables the person to be identified. The biometric data (digital photography and the taking of at least two fingerprint images) could then instead be collected with appropriate sensors on site by countries that require this data upon entry. In the US example, these are a digital photograph and the recording of at least two fingerprint images. What speaks against willful destruction of the chip, however, is that this could be assessed as damage to property or alteration of official IDs.

In 2007 the German lawyer Udo Vetter sued the city of Bochum for a passport without his fingerprints being recorded. In May 2012, the Administrative Court of Gelsenkirchen issued a ruling on this action , which submitted various questions to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling , namely whether the legal basis for the fingerprint requirement was insufficient, a procedural error in the adoption of European Regulation No. 2252/2004 in amended Version available and / or whether there is a violation of Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Following the Opinion of Advocate General Mengozzi, the European Court of Justice ruled in 2013 that the storage of digital fingerprints on EU passports is permitted.

In September 2011, the Dresden Administrative Court ruled that the obligation to store fingerprints in the passport was permissible. The lawyer and writer Juli Zeh , who saw her fundamental right to human dignity in particular violated, filed a constitutional complaint against the introduction of biometric features in passports on January 28, 2008, with the request that the relevant regulations in the Passport Act be annulled. The Federal Constitutional Court did not accept the submitted constitutional complaint for a decision because the grounds for the complaint did not sufficiently deal with the relevant provisions of the Passport Act and thus the formal requirements for the presentation of the alleged violation of fundamental rights were not met.

Temporary passport

Temporary passport (cover)
"Passport" lettering on the adhesive label in the temporary passport
Temporary passport (current model)

The temporary passport is - like the passport - a national passport. It has a green envelope cover and no plastic passport card. The document is valid for a maximum of one year regardless of the age of the applicant.

Since January 2006, the temporary passport has been issued in accordance with the minimum security standards of the EU: It contains a forgery-proof sticker with the passport holder's data and is machine-readable. This sticker represents the data page, in contrast to the regular passport, the sticker contains the inscription "Passport". Usually the provisional passport is only issued if a passport is applied for at the same time. The data page was missing from the temporary passport, which was issued until the end of December 2005. Instead, it had a glued-in photo and was partially personalized by hand.

In principle, the temporary passport can be issued immediately by the relevant passport authority. In some municipalities it may take a working day for the documents to be handed out. For short-term trips (not only to the USA) there is the option of an accelerated issue of a (final) German passport within two to four working days (“Express Pass”).

As of April 1, 2016, the US visa waiver program was tightened. With the implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act , an electronic passport is mandatory for trips to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Costs and fees

On November 1, 2005, the electronic passport (ePassport) was introduced in Germany. As a result, the production of the documents has become significantly more expensive. As a result, the passport fee ordinance was adapted. At 60 euros, the fee for issuing a passport has more than doubled compared to the previous model without a chip. Since November 1, 2007, the fees and expenses for issuing or changing passports have been laid down in the Passport Ordinance. The fee is payable by the applicant.

The delivery time of the passport is between three and six weeks. For an additional fee, it can be issued within two working days ("Express Pass").

According to Section 15 PassV , the following fees currently apply :

Application before the age of 24 (valid for six years)
  • Passport - 32 pages: 37.50 euros
  • Passport - 48 pages: 59.50 euros
  • Express passport - 32 pages (issued within 48 hours) : 69.50 euros
  • Express passport - 48 pages (issued within 48 hours) : 91.50 euros
Application after completing the age of 24 (valid for ten years)
  • Passport - 32 pages: 60 euros
  • Passport - 48 pages: 82 euros
  • Express passport - 32 pages (issued within 48 hours) : 92 euros
  • Express passport - 48 pages (issued within 48 hours) : 114 euros

A temporary passport valid for one year is issued for a fee of 26 euros; however, it is not accepted in all countries and there may be problems with entry.

A fee of 13 euros has to be paid for the children's passport.

When applying to a German diplomatic mission abroad ( embassy , consulate ), additional fees must be paid for an official act abroad in accordance with the Foreign Charges Act; the fees for diplomatic missions abroad according to Section 20 Passport Act may amount to up to 300 percent of the domestic fees in order to compensate for differences in purchasing power. For an exhibition outside of business hours, the fee can be set at up to 200 percent of the amount otherwise due.

As a result of a change in the Passport Act since November 1, 2010, the not immediate notification of the loss or retrieval of the passport has been threatened with a fine of up to EUR 5,000 and the unauthorized reading of personal and biometric data of up to EUR 300,000. ( Section 25, Paragraph 4 of the Passport Act).

Travel to the USA

Temporary passports and old passports without a chip

As long as the date of issue of an (optically) machine-readable passport was before October 26, 2006, it fell under a transitional regulation of the US authorities, which continued to allow visa-free entry and transit to the USA without an e-passport ("Older, but still valid" ).

However, since May 1, 2006, holders of a temporary (also machine-readable) passport could no longer use the Visa Waiver Program and thus enter the USA without a visa. H. Holders of a temporary passport or passport substitute documents such as travel documents or travel documents for foreigners must apply for a visa before entering the USA.

As of April 1, 2016, the visa waiver program was tightened. With the implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act , an electronic passport is mandatory for travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. It can be assumed that all German passports in circulation are VWP-compatible, since in Germany only electronic passports have been issued since November 1, 2005 and all German passports without a chip have now lost their validity.

Children's passports

Child passports issued or renewed after October 26, 2006, and all child ID cards, are not valid for visa-free travel to the United States. Children traveling on a child passport or ID card must have a visa to enter the United States. For a visa-free entry into the USA, parents should therefore apply for an electronic passport (ePass) for their children, toddlers and babies .


German passports before reunification

In the Federal Republic of Germany passports before 1988 were dark green, in the GDR they were blue.

Historical entries


When the first passports were introduced in the 1950s, the Federal Republic of Germany had passport sovereignty (from February 1, 1951), but the Allies retained the provisions on travel rights . A visa was required for Germans who wanted to travel . For this, the practiced profession had to be specified. In some cases it is still the case today with visa applications. Since it was no longer necessary to state the profession, it was no longer necessary with the introduction of new passports with the ordinance of June 12, 1967.

Special marks

Until 1988, the field of special characteristics was included in German passports. Because of possible discrimination against people whose physical characteristics were listed under this heading, these were recently marked with a dash and completely omitted with the introduction of the EU-wide uniformly designed passports.

Registration of children

The possibility of entering children in the parents' passport no longer applies as of November 1, 2007; however, existing entries remained valid. Furthermore, since June 26, 2012, all entries made by children in their parents' passport are no longer valid and can no longer be extended, since that day each child needs their own child's passport, passport or identity card. This applies worldwide and is also based on the respective entry regulations.


Due to a change in administrative practice, since the end of 2010, the first name (usually determined on a birth certificate) is no longer indicated in German passports and ID cards for people with multiple first names. Until then, in the machine-readable line (MRZ) of the passport card, in addition to the surname, only a first name (the first name) was given, now all first names can be found in the MRZ in addition to the surname starting with the first. Due to the limited number of characters, there is no longer any space in the MRZ for the actual nickname. Since the information in the MRZ is authoritative for international travel, this means that people whose first name is the second or third of their first name can no longer travel under their first name as before. Rather, those affected are forced to B. to book a flight ticket according to the now changed dates in the MRZ. Holders of old passports, which may still be valid until 2020, do not (yet) have this problem. The compulsion due to the recent administrative practice to use the first of their first names instead of their first name, both when traveling and in other official and private legal and business transactions, is seen by some legal scholars as a violation of the constitution and, in particular, a violation of the right of personality under Art. 2 Abs. 1 GG i. V. m. Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law, of the principle of equality under Article 3, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law and of the parental rights according to Article 6, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law.

Implementation of the second stage

Since November 1, 2007, the fingerprint images of two fingers have been stored in the passport. Some German diplomatic missions abroad reported technical problems in this connection and did not accept any new applications for several months from mid-October 2007. During this time only temporary passports could be issued there. However, these technical problems did not relate to the chip or the document, but to the technical equipment of the embassies and consulates, which lacked the infrastructure (software and devices) necessary for issuing the documents. The background to this was the fact that a supplier, who was unsuccessful in the tender carried out by the Federal Foreign Office for the procurement of fingerprint scanners, had sued this award decision. Although the Federal Foreign Office - as was determined in the later court decision - handled the award correctly, this led to significant delays in the procurement of the devices.

Incorrect passports

At the beginning of 2010, Bundesdruckerei delivered 71,840 incorrect passports. For passports, the 9th authority field was incorrectly printed with 6th authority in the legend text of the passport card . The field in the French translation is incorrectly “Authorité” (instead of “ Autorité ”). The validity of the passports is not affected by the error, since no personal or individual information is affected ( Section 11 PassG).

In the case of passports applied for on February 29th in leap year 2012 or postponed to February 29th, 2012, software errors resulted in incorrect entries of the validity period. The correct entry for applications on February 29 and March 1, 2012 in the "Valid to" field is February 28, 2022 (or 2018 if applications are submitted before the age of 24). Passes with incorrect validity February 27th or March 1st are invalid.

Non-electronic passport

Anyone who had a passport issued before November 1, 2005 - that is, did not have a chip - could continue to use it until the end of its validity.

See also


Web links

Commons : German passports  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Resolution of the representatives of the governments of the member states meeting in the Council of June 8, 2004 to supplement the resolutions of June 23, 1981, June 30, 1982, July 14, 1986 and July 10, 1995 on the introduction of a passport designed according to a uniform model , accessed on November 2, 2016
  2. Henley & Partners Passport Index 2020. (PDF; 436 KB) Henley & Partners, January 7, 2020, accessed on August 26, 2020 .
  3. a b c d e f g h General administrative regulation for the implementation of the passport law (passport administration regulation - PassVwV) . In: Federal Ministry of the Interior (Ed.): GMBl . No. 81 , December 23, 2009, ISSN  0939-4729 , p. 1685–1719 ( PassVwV online [PDF; 440 kB ; accessed on January 18, 2017]). PassVwV online ( Memento from October 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Passport photo size & format - Official biometric passport photos,
  5. Headgear - Requirements for a biometric passport photo ,
  6. § 5 and Appendix 8 Ordinance on Implementation of the Passport Act
  7. ^ German Bundestag, 16th electoral term (ed.): Necessity of new biometric passports for security reasons . The Federal Government's answer to the minor question from MPs Jan Korte, Petra Pau, Ulla Jelpke, other MPs and the DIE LINKE parliamentary group. No. 16/5507 . Berlin May 29, 2007 ( Online [PDF; 61 kB ; accessed on October 28, 2016]).
  8. a b c d Resolution of the representatives of the governments of the Member States of the European Communities meeting in the Council of 23 June 1981 , accessed on 31 October 2016
  9. Supplementary resolution to the resolution of June 23, 1981 on the introduction of a uniform passport for the representatives of the governments of the Member States of the European Communities meeting in the Council of June 30, 1982 , accessed on October 31, 2016
  10. ePASS Pocket guide 2013. (PDF; 3.91 MB), July 2013, accessed on February 1, 2017 .
  11. Up-to-date security features, new materials. Federal Ministry of the Interior, accessed on February 24, 2017 .
  12. File number: 7 C 21/78
  13. ICAO: Machine Readable Travel Documents, Seventh Edition, 2015, Part 4. (PDF) ICAO, 2015, p. 14 , accessed on July 5, 2020 (English, Section, Field 11 / II).
  14. a b Council Regulation (EC) No. 2252/2004 of December 13, 2004 on standards for security features and biometric data in passports and travel documents issued by the member states , accessed on November 7, 2016
  15. a b c d Bundesdruckerei (Ed.): EPass Primer 2007 . Electronic passport information. Berlin 2007 ( [PDF; 1.1 MB ; accessed on February 1, 2017]).
  16. Permit, Dr. Geb . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . October 2, 2014, ISSN  0174-4917 ( [accessed January 10, 2017]).
  17. PassG - Passport Act. Retrieved March 9, 2017 .
  18. Passport - change when changing place of residence - Serviceportal Baden-Württemberg. Retrieved March 9, 2017 .
  19. Passport - change when changing place of residence - Serviceportal Baden-Württemberg. Retrieved March 9, 2017 .
  20. ↑ Citizen Service - Personal Documents / Electronic Passport - FAQ. Frequently asked questions about identity cards and passports. June 28, 2011, archived from the original on May 29, 2012 ; accessed on November 2, 2016 .
  21. ^ Bundesdruckerei: Information letter for registration authorities, No. 4 / September 2007
  22. a b Electronic passports in Germany. (PDF; 130 kB) Introduction of alphanumeric serial numbers since November 1, 2007. (No longer available online.) Federal Ministry of the Interior ,, November 6, 2015, archived from the original on October 27, 2011 ; accessed on November 2, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  23. The alphanumeric serial number in German ID cards and passports. (PDF; 1 MB) (No longer available online.) Federal Ministry of the Interior ,, July 5, 2016, archived from the original on November 4, 2016 ; accessed on November 2, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  24. In these cases, a second passport is useful. (No longer available online.), June 6, 2016, archived from the original on October 31, 2016 ; accessed on October 31, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  25. ^ Biometric Technology in Machine Readable Travel Documents - The ICAO Blueprint. (PDF; 61 kB) Facilitation (FAL) Division - Twelfth Session. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), archived from the original on September 26, 2007 ; Retrieved October 29, 2016 .
  26. Biometrics in travel documents ( Memento from September 27, 2004 in the Internet Archive )
  27. International Civil Aviation Organization (Ed.): Machine Readable Travel Documents . Doc 9303. 7th edition. Montréal, Quebec, Canada 2015, ISBN 978-92-9249-790-3 (English, online version [accessed January 5, 2017]).
  28. Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 ALDAC No. 1. (US Department of State), archived from the original on June 1, 2013 ; accessed on January 10, 2017 .
  29. Answer of the European Commission to a written question about the use of biometrics in passports (PDF)
  30. ^ Decision-making under pressure: The Negotiation of the Biometric Passports Regulation in the Council. (Center for European Studies, University of Oslo), September 25, 2006, archived from the original on February 7, 2009 ; Retrieved on January 10, 2017 (study on the negotiation of Regulation (EC) No. 2252/2004 of December 13, 2004 in the Council of the European Union).
  31. a b Federal Cabinet decides to introduce biometric passports., June 22, 2005, accessed January 5, 2017 .
  32. Federal Ministry of the Interior : Second ordinance amending passport regulations., August 8, 2005, accessed on January 5, 2017 (DIP, the documentation and information system for parliamentary processes; see also Federal Law Gazette 2005 I p. 2306 ; 45.18 MB).
  33. Electronic passport. “Biometric passports” with RFID chips in the introductory phase., April 19, 2004, accessed on January 5, 2017 .
  34. ^ German Bundestag : Law to amend the Passport Act and other regulations., July 28, 2007, accessed on January 5, 2017 (DIP, the documentation and information system for parliamentary processes).
  35. Press release of the Federal Ministry of the Interior on the storage of fingerprints in passports  ( page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  36. Tagesschau: Fingerprints in future passports ( Memento from May 29, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  37. Bundesdruckerei: Information letter for registration authorities, No. 3 / July 2007
  38. Bundesdruckerei's information sheet on the ePassport production changeover (fingerprint) in November 2007
  39. PKI for Machine Readable Travel Documents offering ICC Read-Only Access. (PDF; 410 kB) ICAO-NTWG, October 1, 2004, archived from the original on January 11, 2007 ; Retrieved January 11, 2017 (Technical Report, Version 1.1).
  40. Decision of the Commission of February 28, 2005 on the technical specifications for standards for security features and biometric data in the passports and travel documents issued by the Member States. (PDF; 664 kB), archived from the original on March 12, 2007 ; Retrieved January 11, 2017 (K (2005) 409).
  41. a b Decision of the Commission of August 28, 2006 on the technical specifications of the standards for security features and biometric data in the passports and travel documents issued by the Member States. (PDF; 291 kB), archived from the original on January 10, 2007 ; Retrieved January 11, 2017 (K (2006) 2909 final).
  42. Extended Access Control (EAC)., archived from the original on March 28, 2008 ; Retrieved on January 11, 2017 (information from the BSI on Extended Access Control).
  43. Advanced Security Mechanisms for Machine Readable Travel Documents - Extended Access Control (EAC). (PDF; 776 kB), archived from the original on March 28, 2008 ; Accessed on January 11, 2017 (Technical Guideline of the BSI on Extended Access Control (EAC) - Version 1.10).
  44. BSI TR-03110 Advanced Security Mechanisms for Machine Readable Travel Documents and eIDAS token., accessed on January 11, 2017 .
  45. Kim Zetter: Hackers Clone E-Passports., March 8, 2006, archived from the original on December 25, 2008 ; accessed on October 29, 2016 (English).
  46. ↑ The RFID chip in British passports was cracked., March 6, 2007, accessed on October 29, 2016 .
  47. ZDF / WISO
  48. Report: Insecure processing of fingerprints in registration authorities., February 2, 2009, accessed October 29, 2016 .
  49. Thorsten Denkler: The grilled thumb. Electronic passport., May 17, 2010, accessed on January 11, 2017 .
  50. Monika Maier-Albang: Take it easy - passport control at airports . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . November 21, 2014, ISSN  0174-4917 ( [accessed January 11, 2017]).
  51. dpa: Man heats ID card in microwave., August 12, 2015, accessed January 10, 2017 .
  52. Download of Udo Vetter's application (PDF; 269 kB; accessed on May 10, 2016)
  53. Udo Vetter : But no fingerprints in your passport? In: law blog. May 31, 2012, accessed June 1, 2012 .
  54. ^ Opinion of Advocate General Mengozzi of June 13, 2013. Michael Schwarz v. City of Bochum , accessed on May 10, 2016
  55. Andreas Wilkens: EU judgment: Digital fingerprints can be stored on passports. In: heise online. October 17, 2013, accessed May 10, 2016 .
  56. Udo Vetter : Court: Fingerprints must be in the passport. In: law blog. October 5, 2011, accessed May 10, 2016 .
  57. Dr. Frank Selbmann, Dr. July Zeh: The storage of fingerprints in passports in the tense relationship between constitutional and Union law. In: Saxon administrative sheets. No. 4, 2012, pp. 77-82.
  58. Interview with Juli Zeh and download of the constitutional complaint in the internet magazine Humboldt Forum Recht 05/2008
  59. ^ Constitutional complaint from July Zeh, decision of December 30, 2012, file number 1 BvR 502/09. Federal Constitutional Court , December 30, 2012, accessed November 8, 2016 .
  60. a b Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act - Frequently Asked Questions., accessed October 28, 2016 .
  61. Visa Waiver Program: Passport Requirements Timeline. (Department of Homeland Security), archived from the original on May 2, 2015 ; accessed on January 9, 2017 .
  62. Visa-free travel (Visa Waiver Program)., archived from the original on April 7, 2009 ; accessed on October 28, 2016 .
  63. a b Program for visa-free travel., accessed October 28, 2016 .
  64. a b Child entries in parents' passports are invalid from June 26, 2012. Press release. (No longer available online.) Federal Ministry of the Interior (, March 20, 2012, archived from the original on October 28, 2016 ; accessed on October 28, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  65. Passport requirements for children of all ages., March 20, 2012, accessed on October 28, 2016 .
  66. ^ Wuttke: New identity card without a given name is unconstitutional. In: The Public Administration (DÖV), Issue 7, 2013, pp. 262–267, online , May 24, 2013 online , May 24, 2013.
  67. Important information for German citizens regarding the issuing of German passports from November 1st, 2007. German Embassy Luxembourg,, archived from the original on October 25th, 2007 ; accessed on January 11, 2017 .
  68. Communication from the Federal Ministry of the Interior of August 12, 2010, Az. IT 4-644 006/21 # 5 Passport: Incorrect production of passports.
  69. Circular from the Federal Ministry of the Interior dated February 22, 2012, Az. IT 4 - 644 004/6 # 45, pp. 2–3