United Kingdom starts issuing passports with words 'European Union' removed

Post-Brexit UK passports are expected to be blue but burgundy ones without the EU label are being issued

The new passports were issued on March 30, a day after Brexit was to be finalised, as previously decided.

Some British citizens planning to travel overseas already have a tangible sign of what life will look like once the country is no longer a member of the European Union: new passports missing "European Union" on the front cover.

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has justified the move on the grounds of efficiency, because some passport centres no longer have stocks of the previous design.

A Home Office spokesperson addressed the new look and said new passport applicants could indeed find themselves with ones bearing the European Union phrase as they attempted to make use of old stock.

Some burgundy passports mentioning the European Union will be issued until they're used up - but those applying for new documents won't be able to choose. New British passports are already being sent out with a cover omitting any reference to Brussels whatsoever.

The decision to remove the "European Union" label was made in the expectation that the United Kingdom would leave the EU at the end of March, as scheduled.

The removal of the words is part of a two-stage redesign process which will see blue passports gradually phased in from the end of the year.

But the move has angered those applying for new passports who were hoping to hold on to an emblem of European Union membership.

On Friday, Twitter user Susan Hindle Barone shared a picture of her new passport side-by-side with her old one. However with European leaders growing increasingly impatient at the paralysis in Westminster, they could offer just a shorter postponement - or a longer period of up to a year.The other 27 EU nations must give unanimous backing to any deadline extension.

"For me to have the European Union wiped completely off my passport is good news", he said.

It said the discrepancy was due to an attempt to save public money and insisted both designs would be "equally valid for travel".

"What do we gain by leaving? Perhaps we should go the whole hog and reintroduce ambassadorial dress uniforms, as well as bowler hats and stiff collars for senior civil servants".

The then immigration minister, Brandon Lewis, said he was delighted to return to the "iconic" blue and gold design, which came into use nearly 100 years ago.

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