My German passport number contains an O (letter) or 0 (number), but I cannot tell which one. Is there a list of characters that are used for German passport numbers, or more concretely, can someone tell me which character is shown below?

enter image description here enter image description here

  • 2
    Sometimes you can work it out on the machine readable row or if still there a sticker which was put on when they made it for you. On my passport they used a different font and the difference between O and 0 was easier to see.
    – Willeke
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 19:04
  • 7
    Never blur information to hide it. Always use opaque boxes. Blurring can be reversed.
    – isanae
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 0:15
  • 1
    @andynitrox Did you just change a set of blurred pictures with another set of blurred pictures? Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 9:10
  • 2
    Passport "number" Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 11:38
  • 7
    You may want to delete the old image versions from imgur as well, they're still there, and being accessible (in a sense of "publicly visible") via the "edited 2 hours ago" link.
    – Damon
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 12:14

2 Answers 2


If you trust Wikipedia, it's a zero. I can't get any more specific with sourcing, as my German is pretty poor and I can't go through the sources listed.

  • 3
    Thank you! I would like to add that an official source (bmi.bund.de) supports this. All letters except for vowels and B, D, Q and S are used to avoid the formation of words and to ensure everything is machine readable.
    – DK2AX
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 19:12
  • 7
    @WGroleau please read what andy said: vowels are not used so it can only be a 0. Apparently numbers are more important than letters.
    – user4188
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 19:44
  • Ha, guess I should delete that comment! (I once worked in an office where I frequently had to call someone up to find out "Is this a 'G' or a '6'?")
    – WGroleau
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 22:16

To quote the Verordnung zur Durchführung des Passgesetzes (Passverordnung – PassV), the regulation for the implementation of the passport law:

Anlage 11 Formale Anforderungen an die Einträge in Pässe im Sinne des § 1 Absatz 2 des Passgesetzes


  1. Die alphanumerische Seriennummer des Reisepasses, Dienstpasses und Diplomatenpasses wird ausschließlich aus den Buchstaben C, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, T, V, W, X, Y, Z und den Ziffern 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 gebildet. Beim Kinderreisepass, vorläufigen Reisepass, vorläufigen Dienstpass und vorläufigen Diplomatenpass besteht die Seriennummer aus einem Serienbuchstaben und sieben Ziffern.


Appendix 11: formal requirements of the entries in passports according to § 1 section 2 of the passport law


  1. The alphanumeric serial number of a passport, an official passport and a diplomatic passport is formed exclusively with the letters C, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, T, V, W, X, Y, Z and the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. The serial number of a child’s passport, preliminary passport, preliminary official passport or a preliminary diplomatic passport consists of a serial letter and seven digits.

Thus, the letter O (Oh) is not used and it can only be a digit 0 (zero).

  • Last line is it letter '0' or 'O'? My eyes are not good at this time of the day.
    – vasin1987
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 16:39
  • @vasin1987 Well, I personally would never refer to zero as a letter. Also, that’s why it’s held in monospace because monospace fonts typically differentiate by slashing the zero.
    – Jan
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 19:17
  • 1
    @Jan in my browser, the SO "normal text" proportional font renders O and 0 very distinctly (owing in part, I presume, to their different widths). The "code sample" monospace font renders the two characters so similarly that I cannot tell them apart unless they are immediately adjacent to one another. I am only familiar with a couple of monospace fonts that slash or dot the zero. Most seem not to.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 14:00
  • @Jan unfortunately imprecise use of "letter" and "digit" to mean "character" is not particularly unusual. (Courier actually doesn't slash the zero, nor does Courier New; I don't know why you would think they do.)
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 16:58
  • @phoog You’re correct … this is why I should never trust my brain. Anyhoo, the (zero) has been there from the time of writing at the end of the line; I wouldn’t know how to add more clarity without losing brevity …
    – Jan
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 17:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .