Britain has now begun issuing passports with the words ‘European Union’ removed from the front cover.
It’s a pre-emptive move, even though the contentious Brexit is currently delayed and no clear date has been set when Britain will leave the bloc.
The Home Office has confirmed that some passports introduced after March 30 no longer include references to the EU. March 30 was the original date set by the enacting of Article 50 for the exit of Britain from the European Union.
But it says some newly issued travel documents will still bear the EU name which has traditionally been on the top of British passport covers, in a bid to save public money, until they run out and order a new batch.
“There will be no difference for British citizens whether they are using a passport that includes the words European Union, or a passport that does not,” said a spokesperson for the British Home Office, noting both designs would be “equally valid for travel”.
British passports have become ensnared in the country’s Brexit divisions after the government announced in 2017 it would return to traditional blue passports “to restore national identity”.
Britain was set to leave the EU on March 29 but has found itself unable to enact the exit amid political paralysis in the British Parliament over the terms of the ‘divorce’ deal.
British PM Theresa May was forced to ask the bloc for another extension last Friday, requesting that the British Parliament would have until June 30 to strike a deal, to prevent the country crashing out this coming Friday without an agreement in place.
At this stage the other 27 EU members, which must give unanimous backing, appear unlikely to grant the extension