How Much Does a Passport Weigh? UK Numbers
Although often negligible, the weight of your passport booklet can be a make-or-break thing in certain situations.
For example, when you want to send it by mail, some extra grams can result in a much higher fee. Or, when preparing hand luggage before air travel, you might need to thoroughly calculate its overall weight (we all know how strict airlines can be).
Either way, it’s sometimes worth it to consider how big and how heavy your passport is. In this blog post, we will examine the weights of the most common passport types and find out some interesting facts along the way.
To put it briefly, a typical UK passport weighs around 30 grams, whether it’s an adult or child one.
That said, the number above is a rough estimate, as the overall weight of a passport will vary slightly depending on many factors. In addition to the standard one, there are several different types of passports, each with its own qualities:
- Old-Style Passport: Due to small differences in design and materials, documents issued in the early 2000s (or even before that) can weigh approximately 50 g
- Jumbo Passport: Having more pages (50, to be precise) for visas and stamps, a frequent traveller’s passport book will be about 50 g as well, even if it’s empty
- Full Passport with a Cover: No matter the type, a document where every page is filled can weigh a dozen grams more than 50 g
Also, it’s important to note that these measures can be changed as passport systems and security features get updated over time. Given the many weight factors, the above numbers are pretty accurate for rough estimates.
For maximum precision, you can simply weigh your passport using your kitchen scales—being designed for such weights exactly, they will give you the most accurate number possible.
To better understand why your passport can carry this or that weight, let’s break it down into components:
In most countries (and the UK is no exception here) passports and other documents are usually made of highly durable materials for better damage protection. As a rule, these materials include polycarbonate, tamper-evident laminate and other safe compounds, each contributing its bit to the overall weight.
In today’s world, where personal data protection matters increasingly more, passports are often modified with various security features such as holograms, microprinting and UV-sensitive elements.
Often unseen and unknown by the average holder, these modern solutions are designed to prevent counterfeiting and increase the security of IDs and other documents. Although, very small in size, they will potentially increase the weight of any passport.
Number of Pages
That’s a pretty direct correlation: the thicker the passport, the heavier it is! While standard adult and child UK passports have 34 pages, the Frequent Traveller version includes 50, which makes the latter weightier.
Still, the content of one particular page also matters: a standard passport full of heavy-weight visas can be heavier than a Frequent Traveller paper that hasn’t been filled yet.
Inlays and Chips
Today, many countries have come to issue e-passports only. For faster entry at control points and better security, each of these contains an embedded electronic chip that stores the holder’s personal information (like name, date of birth, nationality and the like).
In addition to the one with biometrics, there may be other chips contributing to the total weight as well. For example, all UK passports are issued with a yellow label that contains an RFID chip, too—it’s used for tracking purposes during the production of the passport.
Before we go into weight details, it’s best to draw an important distinction. When talking about the passport cover, we mean the one made by His Majesty’s Passport Office and inseparable from the other pages. With its wear-resistant materials and golden-like lettering, they do make documents another bit heavier.
As for custom covers, their weight can be anything. Depending on the size and material, they can be times as heavy as the papers they protect.
While its aspect ratio is always the same, the photo paper can actually differ in weight, with its density varying between manufacturers. For instance, a passport photo from Timpsons can be different from one printed on your home printer.
Despite having many weight contributors, passports are not that heavy. Even if you have a Frequent Traveler one with many visa pages and stamps, its weight will hardly cause you any trouble. When sending it by mail or travelling, allow up to 100 grams for your passport book, and you should be fine!