“The traveler is happy with the road”, says an old Romanian proverb, but sometimes, for the roads that go beyond the borders of a state, a passport is needed. Romfilatelia has thought of all those who like to travel and introduces into circulation on Tuesday, March 14th, this year, a postage stamps issue entitled Romanian Passport Day, consisting of 1 postage stamp, 1 First Day Cover and a maxicard for maximaphily enthusiasts.
The postage stamp with a face value of Lei 11 features a symbolic graphic illustrating the area of free circulation (the globe) presented as a didactic globe with a “perforated” design background, which is joined by the Romanian Tricolour and a dove carrying a “passport” depicting the wings of the bird carrying a message of peace and security throughout the world.
The contour graphic elements for the globe, dove and passport are printed in UV-visible ink, suggesting the security features of the document, but emphasising the role of the passport – free circulation and area of circulation.
On the First Day Cover is depicted the facsimile of a Romanian passport issued in 1887 and the cover (photo reproduction) of the passport currently used by the citizens of our country.
The name of the current identity document, known as passport, appears in our country for the first time in the Organic Regulations, which came into force in 1831 in Wallachia and in 1832 in Moldova. It designated the general travel document on the basis of which the inhabitants of the two principalities could travel outside their borders.
For those who wished to go abroad, the Agie (police department) issued passports, which they had to present to the local militia officer specially appointed for this purpose when crossing the border.
At the end of 1865, the Council of Ministers of the ruler of the United Principalities, Alexandru Ioan Cuza (1859-1866), made provisions so that any traveller could move within the country without being subject to a passport visa.
As for form, the passport adopted during Cuza’s tenure was copied from the French one, from the time of Emperor Napoleon III (1852-1870).
On the 19th of March 1912, King Carol I promulgated the Law on Passports, the first act by which the Romanian state introduced general procedural principles binding for authorities and citizens, related to passports and tickets for border crossing.
According to the law, passports were issued in the name of the King by the following authorities: the Ministry of the Interior and the prefects of counties and police, the Ministry of “Foreign Affairs”, if they attracted special immunities and exemptions, or by the “Romanian legations and consulates” outside Romania’s borders. As nowadays, passports at the beginning of the 20th century had a fixed validity period, but a little shorter than 3, 6 or 12 months.
The proclamation of the Romanian People’s Republic on the 30th of December 1947 prompted the authorities of that time to introduce passports with a new name of the state and a new heraldic emblem for the coat of arms, which was kept, with slight modifications, for more than four decades. Holders of these types of documents were required to obtain a visa issued by the Ministry of the Interior when they wished to leave the country.
After the events of December 1989, society underwent a wide-ranging and accelerated process of transformation.
On the 31st of December 2008, the Romanian simple electronic passport was put into circulation, and the implementation of the IT system for issuing it was extended to the national level, so that passports are issued to applicants within the legally established deadlines. The characteristics, headings, number and type of security features of this passport, as well as the biometric features stored in the electronic medium (chip), namely the facial image and fingerprints of the holder, comply with the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) No. 2252/2004.
Alongside the coat of arms of the country, and the entries relating to the type of document PASSPORT, the international symbol for electronic documents will appear at the bottom of the page on the cover of the passport. With the introduction of electronic passports, the Romanian authorities will apply the principle of one person – one passport, i.e. each person, regardless of age, will be issued with an individual document, as there is no longer the notion of an accompanying person in the holders’ passports.
Nowadays, the new generation of Romanian passports incorporates not only security elements with the highest efficiency and usefulness in preventing counterfeiting attempts, stylized designs, microtext, different printing techniques and optically variable elements, but also elements of national identity, in its pages bearing graphic representations of Romania such as the Danube Delta, Red Lake, Sphinx, the Arch of Triumph, Suceava Fortress, Bârsana Monastery and others.
The current Romanian electronic passport offers citizens visa-free travel to 174 countries, ranking 16th on the international mobility scale. As technology advances and remote communication in a secure environment becomes the new norm, there is no doubt that tomorrow’s Romanian passport can take on new dimensions, always meeting the needs of society.
Romfilatelia wishes all travel enthusiasts a good journey!
Romfilatelia thanks the representatives of the General Directorate of Passports within the Ministry of Interior for their documentary support in the production of this postage stamps issue.