This is when UK passports will change to blue - and if you need to get one now Brexit is done
Now that the UK has left the European Union, there are many questions about what will happen next - particularly in terms of travel.
Changes to healthcare, driving permits and border control are all on the horizon for our country, as well as a return to the blue British passport.
Why are UK passports changing colour?
The cover of the UK passport will be returning from burgundy to blue now that the UK is no longer a part of the European Union, the immigration minister Brandon Lewis has confirmed.
The government announced the new passports will be phased in now that the country is no longer required to conform to EU standards.
The move aims to symbolise the country’s national identity, with a blue and gold design set to be brought in early this year.
The blue cover is a return to the original appearance of the British passport - the colour was first used in 1921.
It remained the colour of choice until the UK joined the EU and the burgundy common format colour was agreed and adopted.
The new, unique passport will be one of the most secure travel documents in the world, with a raft of new and updated security features and technologies to protect against fraud and forgery.
Among the updated features will be a change to the current paper-based picture page, which will be replaced with a new, super-strength plastic polycarbonate material, that will be more difficult to alter.
Burgundy passports will continue to be issued, but without any reference to the EU (Photo: Shutterstock)
When will the new blue passports be available?
The Home Office has not given an exact date for when the new blue and gold passports will be available, but they will begin to be phased in over the next year, starting in early 2020.
If you renew your passport during early 2020 you could receive one of either colour, depending on availability.
The burgundy passports will continue to be issued even though the UK has now left the EU, but they will no longer feature any reference to the European Union.
Both colours of passport will be equally valid for travel.
All passports issued from mid-2020 onwards will definitely be blue, the Home Office confirmed.
Will I have to renew my current passport?
Now that the UK has left the EU, it will enter into an 11-month-long ‘transition period’, during which travel to Europe will remain the same.
UK residents can continue to visit countries in the EU as they do now, up until at least the end of December 2020.
If you are travelling from 1 January 2021, you may need to renew your British passport earlier.
On the day of travel, your passport must have at least six months left and be less than 10 years old (even if it has six months or more left).
If you do not renew it, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport providing it is valid for the duration of your stay.