Despite the delay in Brexit and uncertainty over when the country will leave the bloc, Britain has begun issuing passports without the words European Union” on its front cover.
It was confirmed by the interior ministry that passports issued after March 30, the day Britain was originally expected to leave the European Union, no longer include references to the EU following a 2017 decision.
The ministry said that in a bid to save public money, some-newly issued travel documents would still bear the bloc’s name that sat atop British passport covers.
"In order to use leftover stock and achieve best value for the taxpayer, passports that include the words 'European Union' will continue to be issued for a short period," a spokeswoman said.
Noting that both the designs will be ‘equally valid for travel’, she further asserted that there will be no difference for British citizens whether they are using a passport that includes the words ‘European Union’ printed on their front cover or not.
Britain was set to leave the EU on March 29 but has been forced to delay its exit amid political paralysis in Westminster over the terms of the divorce deal. Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday was forced to ask the bloc for another extension, until June 30, to prevent the country crashing out next Friday without an accord.
However, It has unclear whether the other 27 EU members, which must give unanimous backing, will grant the request or insist on an even longer delay.
British passports have become ensnared in the country's Brexit divisions post the Britain government’s announcement in 2017 it would return to traditional blue passports "to restore national identity".
The passports possesed a dark blue colour since 1921 but Britain switched to burgundy from 1988, in common with other passports in what was then the European Community.
Those who support remaining in the bloc have mocked the excitement of the Brexit backers while they remain thrilled by the highly symbolic change.
Last year 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.
The new production contract is to begin in October 2019, with the passports currently being issued without reference to the EU on them still in the burgundy colour.