The Order of Malta clarifies press reported figure on passports issued: currently 500 passports in circulation
Concerning the news-article reported in British daily newspaper The Sun and other newspapers over the past few days, on the number of passports issued, the government of the Sovereign Order of Malta wishes to make the following clarifications.
Firstly, it is incorrect to state that “only three passports are in circulation” as reported. In 2016 in fact, the Sovereign Order of Malta issued 155 passports. In total, about 500 passports are currently in circulation.
Secondly, diplomatic passports of the Sovereign Order of Malta are granted only to the members of the Sovereign Council (the government), to heads and members of its Diplomatic Missions (as well as their consort and minor children), and – with very few exceptions – to senior figures in charge of a special missions within the Order of Malta. The validity of the passport is of four years and is strictly linked to the duration of the assignment.
Therefore, the claim made by the Sun and other English speaking newspapers regarding passports being granted solely to the “Grand Master, his deputy and the Grand Chancellor” are erroneous.
The Sovereign Order of Malta maintains under the provisions of international law full diplomatic relations with 106 States. All these States accept the diplomatic passports of the Sovereign Order of Malta as a valid document.
As from 2005, the Sovereign Order of Malta diplomatic passports include biometric features and are compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.