United Kingdom British Passport : Series 21 (2006 — 2010) Biometric 'Series A'
The Identity and Passport Service issued the first biometric British passport on 6 February 2006, known as Series A. This was the first British passport to feature artwork.

Series A, version 1 was produced between 2006 and 2010, while an updated version 2 with technical changes and refreshed artwork was produced between 2010 and 2015.

Version 1 showcased birds native to the British Isles. The bio-data page was printed with a finely detailed background including a drawing of a red grouse, and the entire page was protected from modification by a laminate which incorporates a holographic image of the kingfisher; visa pages were numbered and printed with detailed backgrounds including drawings of other birds: a merlin, curlew, avocet, and red kite. An RFID chip and antenna were visible on the official observations page and held the same visual information as printed, including a digital copy of the photograph with biometric information for use with facial recognition systems. The Welsh and Scottish Gaelic languages were included in all British passports for the first time and appeared on the titles page replacing the official languages of the EU, although the EU languages still appeared faintly as part of the background design. Welsh and Scottish Gaelic preceded the official EU languages in the translations section.

In 2010, Her Majesty's Passport Office signed a ten-year, £400 million contracts with De La Rue to produce British passports. This resulted in Series A, version 2, which introduced minor security enhancements. The biometric chip was relocated from the official observations page to inside the cover, and the observations page itself was moved from the back of the passport to immediately after the data page. All new art was produced for version 2, this time with a coastal theme. Data and visa pages featured coastal scenes, wildlife and meteorological symbols.

Renewal of the passport required physical cancellation of the old passport, which was then returned to the bearer. The top-right corners of its front and back covers were cut off, as well as the top-right corner of the final pair of pages, which had been bound in plastic with the bearer's details and a digital chip; a white bar-coded form stating "Renewal" and the bearer's personal details was stuck onto the back cover.
SERIES DESCRIPTION European Union ePassport 2010-2015
VARIETY DESCRIPTION Version 2, Biometric, Scenic Britain
CITIZENSHIP / NATIONALITY GBR - British Citizen (Normal UK Passport)
GBD - British Overseas Territories Citizens
GBO - British Overseas Citizens
GBS - British Subjects
GBP - British Protected Persons
GBN - British National Overseas (Issued from 14/06/2011)

If issued on behalf of a Commonwealth country, "Commonwealth Citizen".
COAT-OF-ARMS Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the style used by Her Majesty's Government from 1953.
FIRST ISSUE 06/03/2006
VALIDITY LENGTH Adults (16 and above), a maximum of 10 years.
Children (0 to 15), a maximum of 5 years.
Adults, normally 10 years up to a maximum of 10 years 9 months. Children, normally 5 years up to a maximum of 5 years 9 months.
Business passports have 48 pages.
FORMAT ICAO 88 × 125
The cover material is an acrylic-coated, paper-based substrate. 
COLOUR Burgundy
Front Cover Community's Name

Country's Name


Document's Name

ICAO  ePassport Biometric Symbol
Interior of Front Cover Diplomatic request page.
1 The title page displays the document serial number. No page number is printed.

The principal text is in English, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. Languages of other EU Member States appear in background design.

A unique inventory number is printed vertically in black along the outer edge of the page.

Watermarked with the head of a kingfisher
4 - 28 Four bird designs on visa pages; clockwise: merlin, curlew, avocet and kite.

Watermark is in register with guilloche pattern incorporating page number; beak always points to the outer edge of the page.
31 Datapage
32 The observations page contains a biometric chip and antenna; any printed observations will be within the antenna area.
Interior of Back Cover  

The first e-passport was issued on 6 March 2006. These e-passports introduced a new design with additional security features, including a chip with the holder’s facial biometric. The passport showed the personal details on the last page with the chip and antenna visible on the observations page.
Minimum Age (Year) Passport Validity (Year)
15 5
16 10

Since 10 September 2001, UK digital image passports have been valid for up to 10 years and 9 months.

Biodata page contains four different laser cut patterns in different positions; three are geometric patterns, the fourth is a stylised head of a bird that resembles the page watermark. Laser-cut stylised bird's head resembling the watermark.

The observations page contains a biometric chip and antenna; any printed observations will be within the antenna area.

Business passports have 48 pages.


The Welsh and Scottish Gaelic languages were included in all British passports for the first time in 2005.
The UK Passport Service is including Welsh and Scottish Gaelic in passports for the first time when the new biometric passports are introduced from autumn this year. This means that the languages will appear in the newly designed passport alongside other EU member state languages. they will not however appear on the personal details page. 

Although the Welsh Language Act 1993 does not require passports to contain this information and the Gaelic Language (Scotland) bill is still going through the Scottish Parliament, UKPS have decided that the two languages should be included with other design changes. these changes have been made without any increase in the cost of the passport and they have been welcomed by both the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.
WELSH AND SCOTTISH GAELIC IN UK PASSPORTS. Published on 8 February 2005, available at https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20050302031736/http://www.ukpa.gov.uk/news/news.asp?intElement=926

The changes to British passports have been driven by the US rather than the EU. The US requires certain passport features for participation in its visa-waiver programme, which allows citizens of most developed countries to enter the US for business or recreation trips of up to 90 days without a visa. The US demands compliance with ICAO standards, but it also imposes more stringent photo requirements and biometric features. The new US requirements have been imposed on the UK via the EU: the US informed the EU of its demands, and the EU then incorporated them into its own passport standards.