Steve October 13, 2021

13 October 2021

What was claimed

The ‘P’ on the photo page of passports stands for “pauper” or “peasant”.

Our verdict

This is not true. The ‘P’ actually indicates that it is a machine readable passport.

What was claimed

The Queen and her children do not have passports to travel.

Our verdict

The Queen doesn’t need a passport, as she is the issuer of these documents, but all other members of the Royal Family have them.

A Facebook post claims the letter ‘P’ found on the photo page of passports under “type” actually stands for “pauper” or “peasant”. 

The post states: “‘P’ stands for “pauper/peasant”, that’s right, we’re paupers/peasants/poor and ‘need’ the elite’s permission to pass any port.”

It also claims the Queen and her children don’t have passports to travel. 

Neither of these claims are correct. 

A Freedom of Information Act sent to the Home Office in 2011 (which the Home Office has confirmed is still accurate) reveals that the ‘P’ essentially stands for… passport. 

The FOI response says: “Within British passports, the capital letter ‘P’ is designated to denote that the document type is a ‘Machine Readable Passport’. This letter will be dependent upon the document type being issued. Other codes include, but are not limited to: V to denote Visa [and] C or I to denote ID Card.”  

As for the Royals, while the Queen does not need a passport (as all passports are issued in her name anyway) all other members of the Royal Family have one.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the letter P on the photo page of passports does not stand for “pauper” or “peasant”.

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News this year has fractured communities, and caused confusion and panic for many of us. No one can control what will happen next. But you can support a debate based on fair, accurate and transparent information.

As independent, impartial fact checkers, we rely on individuals like you to ensure the most dangerously false inaccuracies can be called out and challenged.

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