A rollout of new blue British passports is to begin in March, according to the Home Office.
The passports will replace the current burgundy passports, most of which state that Britain is a member of the European Union. The UK left the European Union on January 31, 2020 and is currently in a transition period running up until December 31, 2020. It was announced in 2017 that new passports would be rolled out following the country’s departure from the EU.
The new passports will read ‘British Passport’ at the top, rather than ‘European Union’. The back cover of the passports are to carry an embossment featuring the emblems of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The passports will be made a French-owned firm, Gemalto, but will be personalised in the UK. The passports are set to include new security features designed to combat forgery and identity theft.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the passport will “once again be entwined with our national identity”, adding that Brexit had enabled a return to “the iconic blue and gold design”.
British passports were blue between 1921 and 1988. After this, the European Economic Community (now the EU), agreed to make passports of its members more consistent. The UK changed the colour of its passport to Burgundy along with many other member states but was not formally compelled to do so.
It is estimated by the government that all newly-issued passports will be in the new blue design from this summer. All current burgundy passports will remain valid for use until their expiry.