For almost as long as we’ve had the word Brexit, we’ve been promised that one day we’ll get our blue passports back.
As you’ll probably be aware, the UK officially left the EU on January 31 – and preparations for our actual separation have begun in earnest.
That means our new blue passports will be here before long, so here are the answers to all of your questions about the new-look documents:
When will the blue passports return?
The government have announced that the first new blue passports will be issued from the beginning of March 2020, with all new passports issued to be blue by the middle of the year.
If you’re applying for a new passport within that period of time there’s no guarantee on what colour you’ll be getting.
How will they differ from the burgundy passports?
Apart from the obvious change in colour, the new passports will of course no longer bear the words “European Union” across the top. Instead, the front cover will state “British Passport”, and the text which states “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” will move slightly.
The back cover of the new passports will now feature embossed floral emblems of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The new passports are said to be the greenest and most technologically advanced yet, with new and updated security features to keep personal data secure.
According to manufacturers, the identity page will now be made of the same material used to make bulletproof glass.
Home secretary Priti Patel said that by returning to the “iconic” blue and gold design, the passports will “once again be entwined with our national identity”.
She said: “Leaving the European Union gave us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path in the world.
“By returning to the iconic blue and gold design, the British passport will once again be entwined with our national identity and I cannot wait to travel on one.”
Where are they being made?
They might represent a celebration of our national identity, but they won’t actually be made here in the UK.
The contract to produce the passports was controversially awarded to Gemalto, which is owned French firm Thales, but the documents will continue to be personalised with the holder’s details in the UK.
British company De La Rue, which formerly made the passports, lost out on 11-year, £260m contract for the new passports in 2018.
The then-chief executive of the Basingstoke-based company Martin Sutherland told the BBC in 2018 that he had been “surprised and disappointed” by the decision to hand the contract to French rivals.
It has also since been revealed that the passports will actually be manufactured in a Thales-owned factory in the Polish town of Tczew, according to a report in The Times.
De La Rue – also a major manufacturer of bank notes worldwide – has since suffered with declining share prices and reports of an uncertain future have been published widely.
How many jobs will they create?
According to its website, Gemalto employs some 500 staff across five sites in the UK.
When the contract was confirmed in 2018, the Passport Office said the new blue passports would create 70 British jobs as Gemalto increased their workforce in the UK.
How much will one cost?
There’s no indication that the cost of a passport for members of the public will change as the blue documents are gradually reintroduced.
For a standard 34-page adult passport it currently costs £75.50 to apply online, or £85 to apply via a paper form.
When did we stop using blue passports?
For an entire generation of Britons a burgundy passport is all they’ve ever known – they were first rolled out in 1988 and have been printed that way ever since.
The blue passports, hailed by some Brexiteers as an icon of better times, were first introduced in 1921.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.