Passports are what allow us to travel from one country to another. Some passports, however, offer a little more freedom. The German passport most notably exemplifies this notion since it allows passport holders to visit up to 177 countries without requiring a visa.
But there is a passport that is so rare and hard to find that only 500 people in this world own one. And that is the passport of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
According to the Independent, there are only 500 of these passports in circulation around the globe at the moment.
Read more to find out.
The Sovereign Order of Malta was recognized as a sovereignty by Pope Paschal in 1113. However, today, it is one of the few sovereign entities that lack any sort of territory or land.
The Order primarily focuses its attention on assisting the poor and defending the Catholic faith.
With the help of thousands of volunteers, they provide aid and assistance to children, homeless, handicapped, refugees, elderly, terminally ill and lepers all around the world.
The Order can also enter into treaties, issue their own passports, coins, and postage stamps and it enjoys something called ‘extraterritoriality’ which makes it an embassy in Rome (and other countries.)
The Order issues passports to those who are ‘the members of the Sovereign Council (the government), to heads and members of its Diplomatic Missions and to senior figures in charge of a special mission within the Order of Malta.’
These passports are recognized by most countries and are only valid for a maximum of four years.
The duration of the passport is correlated with the time of the assignment and how long it will take for completion.
The Order also maintains diplomatic relations with 106 states and is active in another 120 countries. These passports are also compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organization standards.