Blue passports will be issued for the first time in almost three decades from next month to mark Britain’s departure from the EU. They will replace the standard-issue burgundy passports that were rolled out across EU countries from 1988. The roll out of the blue passports will start in March and from mid-2020 all new UK passports will be blue.
The blue passports will be made by Gemalto, owned by French firm Thales, and will be personalised with the bearer’s details in the UK. All designs, security features and specifications in the document are compliant with ICAO doc 9303 – which covers the specifications for Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTDs).
The UK Home Office says the blue passport will be amongst the most technologically advanced in the world as they contain ‘a raft of new and updated security features, including a hard-wearing, super-strength polycarbonate data page, which contains innovative technologies embedded into the document, to keep personal data secure’. This is the first time that polycarbonate has been used on the UK passport.
Gemalto claims that the new UK passport will be the first in the world to achieve CarbonNeutral certification. This means that its carbon footprint will be independently measured, validated and reduced to net zero in line with The CarbonNeutral Protocol, a framework for achieving carbon neutrality.
Techniques used to achieve this goal typically include purchasing carbon credits, and/or sourcing 100% renewable electricity to match that consumed by operations and other projects such as planting trees.
The colour is not the only design change, in a first for the UK passport, the back cover will also carry its own symbolic design – the embossed floral emblems of the countries in the UK: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Travellers holding valid, burgundy passports can continue to use their passport for travel until it expires.