As headline news highlights the world’s most powerful passports, two passports quietly exist as the world’s rarest passports: the diplomatic and service passports of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. At the present time, the military order has some 500 diplomatic passports and only 50 service passports in circulation.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta–also known as the Knights of Malta—has no land yet is a sovereign nation, with United Nations observer status and its own constitution.

According to international law, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta maintains full diplomatic relations with 113 countries, all of which accept the diplomatic passports of the Order of Malta as a valid travel document.

Up Close: Sovereign Military Order of Malta Passports

Diplomatic Passport

The diplomatic passport of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is accepted as a valid travel document by the 113 countries with which it maintains full diplomatic relations. Only 500 of these passports are in circulation today. This passport is granted exclusively to the Grand Master and members of the Sovereign Council, to heads and members of its Diplomatic Missions (and their families), to the Grand Priors and the Presidents of its National Associations, and to high-level figures entrusted with special missions or to persons serving in senior positions within the Grand Magistry of the Order of Malta.

Service Passport

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta service passport is issued to the Order of Malta’s humanitarian personnel and officials working in areas of danger. Approximately 50 service passports are currently in use.

Since 2005, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta diplomatic and service passports have integrated biometric features and are compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.


Sovereign Order of Malta

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