Not only is Brexit looming but as soon as it’s in place, so is the UK passport colour change. British passports are changing from burgundy to glossy dark blue with gold detail. Though it may sound minor in light of recent events, the British burgundy passport colour has for long been seen as iconic, and very much a part of British culture. It’s as classic and as blood red as the famous London’s buses, and even the city’s legendary telephone boxes. But it’s sadly nearing extinction early next year. The change takes effect in 2019 but will not affect you just yet, unless you are renewing your passport. Between March and October 2019, Burgundy passports will still be distributed. However, from October 2019, the blue ones will be distributed only. The project will cost £490M and the Home Office have promised high security to make forgery and alterations difficult.
Still intrigued by this project and its woes? Then keep reading for 10 facts about the British passport post Brexit.
1. Brexit leave voters may be intrigued to learn that passport is a French word. It derives from the verb passer, meaning to ‘pass’. The word ‘‘passeport’’ in French means ‘‘authorization to pass through a port”, or ‘‘to enter or leave a country.’’ A recent petition to ban and remove all French words from the British passport, fell flat when reminded about the origin of the word itself.
2. 1988 was the first time Burgundy passports came into play in the UK. Some British citizens over the age of forty-five may in fact remember owning a blue passport. Today, some view the blue as returning to the original British design, or Britain’s original colour. In fact, seventeen million Brits have only ever seen, or known a Burgundy passport.
3. Why Burgundy in the first place? The colour of passports is often influenced by history and culture. When the UK joined the EU, it was agreed that burgundy was the new colour choice, to reflect alignment with other neighbouring EU countries.
4. 76 other countries currently hold blue passports too. This includes other commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia.
5. There are several hues, if not colours, which differentiate different countries passports. Blue passports can often represent a new world, as was the reason for North and South America’s choice of navy blue.
6. In the fifteenth century, King Henry V held the first passport ever to travel outside the UK, prompting Her Majesty the Queen to issue the rest in her name. Due to this, technically, Her Majesty the Queen does not need a passport to travel as she grants the authority to do so.
7. The words ‘European Union’ will be removed from all newly issued passports, as well as the European Union Logo, which will be replaced with the British coat of arms.
8. According to a recent poll, 72% of Brits say they will miss being able to travel through the EU, as most have done their whole lives.
9. As tweeted by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, ironically, the blue passports may need to be imported from Germany. A German firm are currently bidding to manufacture the new blue passport and it is raising concerns, as well as eyebrows.
10. UK Refugees are already given a blue passport, a navy ID book used to travel in and out of the UK. Its official name is a ‘Conventional Travel Document’, a CTD, and is especially used for those refugees unable to gain a passport from another country.