April 6 (UPI) — Britain’s government passport office has removed the words European Union from the front cover of British passports even though Brexit has been delayed.
The burgundy passport changes were introduced March 30, the day after Britain’s planned exit from the European Union despite the deadline for Brexit being extended to April 12 and Prime Minister Theresa May asking for further postponement.
The Home Office said it removed the words European Union based on the working assumption that Brexit would have occurred on March 29.
Still, some of the people who have received the new passports have complained.
“I was shocked because we haven’t left the EU yet,” Susan Hindle Barone, an early recipient of the new passports said. “I assumed we would get the same old passport. It’s not so much about that, but it’s the first tangible sign of us leaving the EU.”
Hindle Barone posted a photo of the cover of the new passport compared to the old passport on Twitter.
TRULY APPALLED. Picked up my new passport today – my old one expires in the next couple of months. See below: Spot the difference! pic.twitter.com/R7BW9lk6I5
— Susan Hindle Barone (@SpinHBarone) April 5, 2019
The government office said that applicants who receive the new passports without the words European Union on the cover do not have to worry about it.
“They are perfectly legal,” it said.
“Burgundy passports that no longer include the words ‘European Union’ on the front cover will be introduced from 30 March 2019,” the Home Office said in a statement. “Passports that include the words European Union will continue to be issued fora short period after this date. You will not be able to choose whether you get a passport that includes the words European Union, or a passport that does not.”
“You will not be issued with a passport that includes the words European Union after the UK has left the EU,” it added.
A new blue passport will be issued starting late this year as another phase of the re-design process. Applicants will not be able to choose whether they get a blue or burgundy password between late 2019 and early 2020. After early 2020, all British passports will be blue. The old blue passports date back to 1921 and were replaced by burgundy passports in 1988 to align with European partners.