'Iconic' blue British passport to return after Brexit

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'Iconic' blue British passport to return after Brexit
'Iconic' blue British passport to return after Brexit

London : British passports will change from burgundy to blue after Britain leaves the EU, the Home Office has said.

British Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said he was delighted to return to the "iconic" blue and gold design, which came into use almost 100 years ago, the BBC reported on Friday.

When the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, burgundy passports will continue to be issued but with no reference to the European Union.

The Home Office said there was no need for British passport holders to do anything ahead of their current passport renewal date, adding that the changes would be introduced in phases.

The new passports will be made available to those renewing or applying for a passport from October 2019. The blue passports would be issued later the same year, after a new contract for their production was negotiated, the BBC said.

Burgundy passports have been used for almost 30 years after the UK joined the EU and adopted the style.

"Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world," Lewis said.

The new passports will also have updated security features to protect against fraud, he said.

According to the Passport Index, 76 countries have blue passports, including a number of former colonial and Commonwealth countries, such as Australia, the US, Canada, India and Hong Kong.

A brief history of the passport:

First introduced during the reign of Henry V in the form of a "safe conduct", passports were granted from at least 1540.

One of the earliest still in existence was issued on June 18, 1641, and signed by Charles I.

A passport photograph became a requirement in 1914, upon the outbreak of World War I.

The familiar blue British passport came into use in 1921, with the last expiring in 2003.

The first burgundy, machine-readable, UK passports were issued in Glasgow, in September 1988.