'Secret' detail hidden in new Australian passports

The various pictures in the new Australian passport are not just for show.

A new series of Australian passports coming to travellers includes pictures of iconic landscapes – but the new images are not just for show.

The "innovative" passport is being called an "Australia first" for its advanced security features which make it harder to forge and "less susceptible to damage".

According to the Australian Passport Office, the 'R Series' has a photo page made of "tough, high-security, layered plastic, known as polycarbonate," as opposed to the 'P Series' passport, which has been used since 2014. Polycarbonate is laser-engraved, not printed with ink.

A photo of one of the visa pages of the new Australian passport that has an illustration of Uluru.
The new 'R Series' Australian passport will feature advanced security measures such as illustrations of Australian landscapes with hidden native animals. Source: Australian Passport Office
A photo of one of the visa pages of the new Australian passport that has an illustration of Uluru and a kangaroo at the bottom left, which can only be seen under ultraviolet light.
The hidden native animals can only be spotted under ultraviolet light, in a bid to tackle passport forgery and other security risks. Source: Australian Passport Office

Australian passport's unique inclusions

What makes the passport especially secure and rather "unique", is the "secret" native animals that appear under ultraviolet light on the pages that showcase 17 iconic Australian landscapes. The illustrations are by Indigenous Australian artists.

"Under ultraviolet light, these dayscapes come to life as stunning nightscapes," the Australian Passport Office said on their website. "Each one has a hidden species of native fauna. This design also strengthens the passport's security."

On the photo page, there is also a raised map of Australia right at the bottom left of a person's photo.

A photo of the passport photo page under ultraviolet light.
The new 'R Series' Australian passport turns red under ultraviolet light and is made of high-security layered plastic. Source: Australian Passport Office

Queen Elizabeth remains on a million new passports

What will however stay the same, at least on more than 1 million new passports, is a mention of Queen Elizabeth II, given they were printed before her death, 9 News reports. The rest will most likely feature King Charles.

"We will exhaust existing stock before issuing passports with revised text that reflects the accession of His Majesty King Charles III," DFAT told the publication.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade started rolling out the 'R Series' in stages from September last year, with some customers continuing to receive the 'P Series' passport. However if you're renewing your passport this year, only the new one will be available. Passport fees will remain at $325 for those over 16 years of age, or $164 for those under 16. Customers are being urged to allow at least six weeks to receive their new passport. Extra fees apply to get your passport faster.

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