United Kingdom removes words 'European Union' from British passports

United Kingdom issues passports without European Union title ahead of Brexit

As Britain looks to extend its stay in the European Union, it seems British passports haven't followed the same path.

"I was surprised they've made the change when we haven't left, and it's a tangible mark of something which I believe to be completely futile". United Kingdom passports issued before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union will remain valid travel documents.

British passports without the words "European Union" on the front are already being issued despite the Brexit delay.

The burgundy passports were introduced from March 30, the day after Britain was expected to leave the EU.

Susan Hindle Barone, who said on Twitter she received a new passport on Friday, tweeted she was "TRULY APPALLED" by the change to the document's cover.

Britain's original withdrawal was scheduled for March 29.

The Home Office said the removal of the words "European Union" was part of a two-stage redesign process.

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Britain's interior ministry meanwhile confirmed that some newly issued passports now omit references to the European Union on the cover, while others still bear the bloc's name.

The other 27 members must give unanimous backing to any extension.

"In order to use leftover stock and achieve best value to the taxpayer, passports that include the words European Union will continue to be issued for a short period after this date".

Both passports remain equally valid for travel, the Home Office said, and a new blue passport design would be rolled out from late 2019.

The decision to revive the old blue British passport became an emblem of the government's promise to "take back control" after the 2017 election despite the loss of Theresa May's majority.

European Council President Donald Tusk is proposing to make an offer of a 12-month "flexible" extension to the UK's Brexit date, the BBC reported on Friday, citing a senior European Union source. Britain switched to burgundy in 1988 in line with most other countries' passports in what was then the European Community.

A year ago it emerged that Franco-Dutch company Gemalto had won the contract to make the new blue passports, prompting fury from Brexit campaigners and more ridicule from Remainers that a British company was not chosen.

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