I've read the official advice here, which doesn't contain the answer.

The answer is not obvious because as well as having to be presented when applying for visas, passports also need to be presented at the border, where you don't have to supply a translation and immigration officials are trained to assess passports whatever languages they're printed in.

  • 6
    Most passports are printed in "international" in some form or another; names are usually either romanised and/or printed in two variants, and the fields are often labeled in local language and English. What passport do you have that would be completely unintelligible "internationally"?
    – deceze
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 23:22
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    What passport do you have? Most passports' data pages are also in more than one language, usually including English.
    – mlc
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 23:33
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    We don't particularly care whether it's you or someone else, we're just using "you" because you gave us no other clue. We're also not doubting your sincerity in asking this. But a simple straight answer to our questions would help us answer your question in return.
    – deceze
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 0:03
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    The official advice you linked does not say that the passport has to be in English or Translated, it just says that you have to provide your passport.
    – Dr. Snoopy
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 4:21
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    @Wing The machine readable zone in a passport is not written in a human language, passport fields can be directly read from there using a computer, and also for biometric passports, a translation to English is not needed.
    – Dr. Snoopy
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


No. The contents of modern machine-readable passports are fully standardized and do not require translation, they can even be read fully automatically.

No, I don't have an official source specifically for UK visas here, but I've never heard of any authority requiring translating a passport for any purpose: it's simply unnecessary.

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    Exactly, passports are inteded to be used worldwide, they don't need any translation. It's not mentioned in official sources because it's so obvious. Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 7:42
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    (+1) I have successfully sponsored a UK visa three times without having the applicant’s passport translated
    – Traveller
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 8:26
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    @lambshaanxy: Not saying you're wrong because I also think passports typically don't require translation however your answer is only useful for biometric passports which OP and future visitors to this Q&A may not have, especially since not all countries issue biometric passports and some countries only recently started issuing them meaning they'll have a significant number of non-biometric passports in circulation.
    – Wing
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 8:27
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    @Johnnyjanko: it's not that passports are intended to be used worldwide that they don't require (additional) translation, it's because they are designed to be used worldwide that they have some useful translations already included in them that means they typically don't require translation. ICAO Doc 9303 Pt 3 Sec 3.1 recommends the issuer's national/working language and either English, French or Spanish.
    – Wing
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 8:31
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    @lamshaanxy This applies to paper passports as well. Passport fields were standardized well before machine-readable passports were thought of.
    – david
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 12:17

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