The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is only available to the three highest ranking officers in the Catholic order
Only three people have the honour of obtaining the world’s rarest passport.
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is only available to the three highest ranking officers in the Catholic order.
Officially named by Pope Paschal in 1113, the Order is one of the world’s oldest Christian institutions.
The grand master, deputy grand master and chancellor of the Order are the only people eligible for one of the red passports.
Passport: The Sovereign Military Order of Malta only releases three passports
But the travel document is so rare, it isn’t even recognised by several countries around the globe.
United Kingdom, United States and New Zealand are some of the nations that don’t accept the passport.
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta runs a charitable organisation which gives medical aid.
Despite its sovereignty and diplomatic relations with over 100 states, the Order doesn’t control any of its own territory.
Passport: The Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta meets the Pope
While just three people are eligible for the special passport, there are thousands more members of the group.
Over 13,500 knights, dames and chaplains make up the Order itself, with another 80,000 volunteers and 25,000 medical employees.
The Order’s passport might be rare but that doesn’t make it the most powerful.
Germany is the country with the world’s most powerful passport, according to a Passportindex.org report.
Passport: The Sovereign Military Order of Malta has its own passport
The ranking system takes into account the amount of countries a passport gives access to without needing a visa, or only needing a visa upon arrival.
Germany topped the list, as its passport lets travellers access 158 countries without obtaining a visa before departure.
It was also crowned the winner in the 2016 ranking, but allows access to one less country this year.
Second on the 2017 list was Sweden, followed by Singapore, which both allow access to 157 countries.