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This Passport Is So Rare That Only 500 People In The World Have It


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This is the world’s rarest passport: Credit: Instagram/orderofmalta_official

There are many countries in the world and many passports too, some more powerful than the others. But some passports are more unique in nature. One such passport is so rare that only 500 people in the world have it. What’s more, it belongs to a special nation that does not have any land. Confused? Read on.

The Knights Of Malta

While the name might hark back to mind a Hollywood movie, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, also known as the Knights of Malta, is a 1000-year-old religious catholic order that was established in Jerusalem in 1099, before being granted the Maltese archipelago in 1530. But now this Order is headquartered in Rome and operates a multi-million-dollar-budget humanitarian aid organisation spanning 120 countries.

Order of Malta39s Ambassadors Credit Instagram
Order of Malta’s Ambassadors. Credit: Instagram

The first passports were issued by the Order of Malta in the 1300s to aid its diplomats in travelling as ambassadors. Today, there are only around 500 of the diplomatic passports in circulation – making it the rarest passport in the world.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta Passport

The Order’s crimson passport, a nod to the blood of Christ, is a rarity, with only around 500 in circulation, making it the rarest passport globally. Reserved for the Sovereign Council members and leaders of diplomatic missions, this distinctive passport boasts gold lettering in French, “Ordre Souverain Militaire de Malte,” and a crest.

The flag and passport of the Order
The flag and passport of the Order

Daniel de Petri Testaferrata, the Malta-based President of the Order, spoke to CNN about this passport, explaining how there are around 13,500 knights, dames and chaplains of the Order that are now dispersed around the globe. However, not everyone has this passport. “The Order grants passports to members of their government for the duration of their mandate,” he tells CNN.

Grand Masters enjoy a decade-long validity, while others serving diplomatic missions hold passports valid for four years, featuring a watermark of the Maltese cross on 44 pages.

Grand Master of the Order Fra39 John Dunlap
Grand Master of the Order Fra’ John Dunlap

Although the Order collaborates closely with countries like France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with whom it lacks formal diplomatic ties, the diplomatic passport is recognised by two-thirds of Schengen members. “We provide rapid medical and humanitarian supplies to victims of conflict or natural disasters. We run hospitals, ambulance corps, medical centres, homes for the elderly and the disabled, soup kitchens and first aid posts,” de Petri Testaferrata explains to CNN.

The Order runs aid missions in 120 countries
The Order runs aid missions in 120 countries.

In essence, the Knights of Malta passports not only symbolise a rich historical legacy but also serve as a testament to the Order’s unique standing as a sovereign entity with a global impact in humanitarian endeavours.

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