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I noticed in my UK passport that there is a page (next to the details page) labelled "This space is reserved for official observations". Underneath it says "There are no official observations". What are some examples of official observations that might be recorded here?

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  • Here’s one: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/153364/…
    – jcaron
    Commented Apr 7 at 20:32
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    In a UK passport that I saw. The person had too many given names to fit on the bio-data page but they were listed in full under "Official Observations"
    – canonacer
    Commented Apr 8 at 6:45
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    I think this is more prominent in BNO (British National Overseas) passports. Example: reddit.com/r/PassportPorn/comments/1be0w51/… Commented Apr 8 at 12:51
  • May not relate so I'll make this a comment: When entering Ireland (Dublin) from England in 2003 we asked to have our passports stamped - to add to the list of stamps on our 24 country round world trip. The officer expressed surprise. We explained. They annotated the stamp. "Stamped on request". I assume that a stamp was usually a "secret signal" that some sort of extra attention was warrated subsequently. Maybe not. Commented Apr 11 at 2:35

5 Answers 5

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I worked for UK Border Force some years back.

Examples are an instruction from a UK Consular Official to impound a passport on arrival in the UK. Usually for someone who has been repatriated at UK Government expense. The passport would then be held till the air fare was repaid.

Sometimes there can be instructions issued by courts in connection with Wards of Court, who need permission to travel overseas. So “only valid for travel to Y country in X circumstances.”

Sometimes with folk who are known professionally by another name. That can be shown. (Presumably helps with airline ticketing).

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    Amazing info thanks. Have wondered about this for 50 years! :)
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 8 at 15:11
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    "Sometimes with folk who are known professionally by another name.": do you mean things like say Robert Zimmerman's passport would include an official note that this is Bob Dylan? That kind of thing, about famous people?
    – terdon
    Commented Apr 8 at 17:49
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    Yes, exactly that. I recall examining actor Terry Thomas’s British passport sometime in the 1970s (he died in 1990). His birth name was Thomas Terry Hoar-Stevens which is what I recall his passport showed, but with an observation that he was professionally known as Terry Thomas. People have often been asked for their passport when checking into hotels and for flights. I assume that if you have a flight or a room booked as Terry Thomas but show up with a passport with Hoar-Stevens as your surname, then that could be a problem so the observations comments are intended to overcome that. Commented Apr 8 at 22:53
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The UK Government has the list of possible standard observations and has the following categorization (free text is possible as well):

  1. Immigration and nationality observations
    • UK immigration observations
    • Hong Kong immigration observations
    • British overseas territory or Crown dependency immigration observations
  2. Diplomatic, Official and King’s Messenger Service observations
    • diplomatic observations
    • official observations
    • King’s Messenger observations
  3. Identity observation
    • Names observations
    • Titles observations
    • Employment observations
  4. Validity observations

Not in the UK, but in the US, the International Megan's Law mandates that anyone convicted for a sex offense with a minor, 22 USC § 212b - Unique passport identifiers for covered sex offenders

Except as provided under paragraph (2), the Secretary of State shall not issue a passport to a covered sex offender unless the passport contains a unique identifier, and may revoke a passport previously issued without such an identifier of a covered sex offender.

It must have the following endorsement printed in any passport for any covered sex offender

The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212b(c)(1)

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To add to @Elwyn's answer:

Professional titles and forms of address such as Doctor, Judge, Ministers of Religion, Professor, MP, MEP, and QC may on request be entered as an observation in the passport

Edit: this was a quote from another forum, which didn't have a source. After some Googling, traced the quote to this document. It looks like a government document, but I wasn't able to find it anywhere else other than a 3rd party source, probably because it is now out of date. A more up-to-date guidance is on the Home Office website.

It appears there are many other types of title, honour and qualification that may be entered as an observation.

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    You seem to be quoting something, what was the source?
    – justhalf
    Commented Apr 8 at 15:08
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    @justhalf added the sources
    – Mihail
    Commented Apr 9 at 13:18
  • Looks great as an answer now!
    – justhalf
    Commented Apr 10 at 1:04
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One example (from prior to Brexit) was that residents of the Channel Islands or Isle of Man who did not have sufficient connection to the UK (ie having lived in the UK for 5 years or having a parent or grandparent born in the UK) would have their passport endorsed “The holder is not entitled to benefit from EU provisions relating to employment or establishment”, as the Crown Dependencies remained outside of the EU.

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To add to previous answers, I do hold a British passport and I also have a Ph.D. When applying for a British passport, an option is given to add any titles you might hold as previously advised in Nicolas' answer. In my case, in that area, it states:

The holder is:
Doctor [My full name]

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