British passports to return to traditional blue color

British passport books will soon revert in color — to blue from burgundy — after the country exits the European Union, officials announced Friday.

British passports will revert from burgundy to blue after the country leaves the European Union, officials said Friday.File Photo by UPI/ Hugo Philpott | License Photo
British passports will revert from burgundy to blue after the country leaves the European Union, officials said Friday.File Photo by UPI/ Hugo Philpott | License Photo

British Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said once Britain leaves the alliance, the travel booklets will no longer be required to conform to EU standards — which presently require the dark red color.

Lewis added that the move will restore Britain’s national identity and “forge a new path for ourselves in the world.”

The burgundy passports were first issued in 1988 as the European Economic Community member states tried to blend designs to make traveling easier. For decades before that, the booklets were blue.

Lewis said the future British passport will be one of the most secure travel documents in the world, “with a raft of new security measures to protect against fraud and forgery.”

The paper-based picture page will be replaced with a “new, super-strength plastic polycarbonate material that will be more difficult to alter.”

Passport holders do not need to do anything ahead of their renewal date, as the new booklets will be introduced in phases beginning in October 2019. Until then, the burgundy passports will continue — only without reference to the EU, Lewis said.

By Susan McFarland