This question is about why the passport number changes? while the proposed duplicate asks if the passport number changes?.

Looking at answers to this question, it seems that most passport numbers change upon renewal. Not all do though, as I have recently discovered. Apparently, Australian ones do change in some cases.

Why does the passport number change? Is there a rationale for this?

It seems that some organization created rules for passports to change when reissued, but again what are the advantages of this, compared to its disadvantages?

  • 2
    I don't think this is a duplicate: Itai asks "Why will it happen?" and the other question is "Will it happen?" Oct 4 '16 at 20:31
  • The accepted answer on the other question also explains the why, imo.
    – nkjt
    Oct 4 '16 at 20:37
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    It does not explain the difference. Why do some stay the same and some do not, that is the question.
    – Itai
    Oct 4 '16 at 21:32
  • 2
    Because some governments choose to do it one way, and some the other. Although I don't think this is a dupe, I don't think it's really an answerable question. Oct 4 '16 at 22:00
  • 1
    In Australia for example, when changing from a children's passport to an Adult passport, your number changes. However the guidance is generally that when renewing your Adult passport, the number stays the same. Losing your passport, changing your name and some other cases where something about your identity changes may force a changed number. Generally, @DavidRicherby 's comment above IMO is the answer. Oct 5 '16 at 1:36

It depends entirely on the issuing authority who decides what to do with passport numbers.

In countries with a high rate of fraud, immigration (outbound) I find that passport numbers change with each renewal.

Passport numbers may also change as a consequence of changing internal requirements for passports. Many countries are moving to "digital" identity cards (such cards have information embedded in an EMV chip); this migration sometimes necessitates changing the numbering system for other id formats as well.

As mentioned in the comments, if you reach the age of majority your passport number (and other id numbers) also can change - this is true for a few countries that I am aware of (including Australia - thanks to The Wandering Coder).

If you get married, sometimes your national id number or family sequence changes, this results in a change for all your (eventual) dependents and thus their documents also have to be updated.

Sometimes, it is just a matter of preventing older passports from being used again (as a measure of fraud prevention). For example my passport number has always changed and over the years even the format and length/number of digits and characters.

My very first passport had one letter and 6 numbers; and there was no booklet number. It included my height and profession, had labels in three languages, and was written by hand. It also had the passport number punched through each page.

My latest passport has two letters 8 numbers, a booklet number (which is punched through), no longer includes my height or profession, is printed and laminated and the numbers are in sequence (comparing the latest and the previous one); although this might just be a coincidence.

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    I think in the past many countries punched the passport number into the pages of the booklets before the passport it assigned to a person. So the next passport will be a random new one. The Netherlands used to be like that, passports were delivered to town halls where they added personal information and registered which number went to which person. Now passports are made centrally but everybody in the country is used to getting a new number with the new passport and would not trust getting the same number again.
    – Willeke
    Dec 13 '16 at 21:30

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