Secure Travel Document

photo of secure document in the printing processThe laissez-passer issued by the European Union is a secure e-travel document. It is recognised as a valid travel document by the authorities of the Member States. It can also be recognised as such, through the necessary agreements, by third countries for border crossing and within their territory.

Its form has recently been upgraded to achieve enhanced international and European security standards. This way the EU laissez-passer integrates the same security standards and technical specifications applicable to EU national travel documents. The new form contributes to ensuring a proper level of protection against forgery, counterfeiting and falsification.

The upgrading of the form

The EU Member States recognise the laissez-passer as a travel document. Third countries may also recognise it on a voluntary basis though for certain destinations it still has to be accompanied by a national passport. The upgrading of the form of the laissez-passer issued by the European Union as decided by the Council in Regulation 1417/2013 is likely to extend the list of third countries recognising it.

The new issuance system

Council Regulation 1417/2013 confers to the Commission the role as central point in particular for personal data processing purposes. Inter-institutional discussions have resulted in a confirmation of this central role with a view to creating synergies and to alleviating costs. Three enrolment locations placed respectively in Brussels, Luxembourg and Frankfurt are available for all European Institutions and coordinated within a single issuance system run by the Commission. They ensure the capture of the applicant’s biographical and biometrical data before dispatch to the external contractor for personalisation of the booklet via the Commission LP service in Brussels.


When recognised as a valid travel document, the laissez-passer can trigger the delivery of visas for free. In certain cases, notably for certain EU Delegations, the visa may be issued in the laissez-passer itself. Sometimes it is even an obligation to do so. The increase of the number of its visa pages will facilitate this practice.

What will be the period of validity of my Laissez-Passer?

  • The laissez-passer has a validity of a maximum of six years. Different periods of validity are foreseen depending on the personal situation of the applicant/special applicant.