Dark blue British passports do still exist... We give them to refugees

Louis Dor
Thursday 15 September 2016 15:45
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Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Government ministers confirmed on Tuesday that they are "considering" returning to the old blue passport after Brexit.

After a response to a written question in the House of Commons, Home Office minister Robert Goodwill said:

We are considering potential changes to the UK passport after the UK has left the European Union.

At this early stage we have not undertaken a detailed cost benefit analysis or made any decisions about what a future UK passport might look like.

The blue passports were introduced in 1921 but were scrapped in favour of the burgundy documents - used by other EU countries - that began in 1988.

In response to a campaign by the Sun to scrap the burgundy passport, the European Commission pointed out that Britain voluntarily signed up for the new colour and that a choice to change it is completely up to the British government.

The commission said that global specifications don't cover colour, but that they do...

specify a size of 125 × 88 mm (4.921 × 3.465 in) and a flexible cover, as used in EU passports. 

The EU format for passports complies with this and was formally agreed between EU governments, including the UK.

However, someone has pointed out that the UK does still issue blue passports, in a sense:

The passport in question is actually a Home Office travel document, which is available to those living in the UK for the following reasons:

  • you have permission to stay as a refugee or stateless person
  • you have humanitarian protection for a limited time after a failed asylum application
  • you have discretionary leave for a limited time after a failed asylum application
  • you are settled here permanently (known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’)

The Home Office confirmed to indy100 that the 'Convention Travel Document', which is only available to those with refugee status, is the only document that is blue.

More: The map of the world according to each country's passport colour

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