LONDON — U.K. citizens whose passports were issued before October 2009 have been urged to renew their document “soon” if they plan to travel in Schengen-area countries after Brexit day on March 29 — but they can’t have a blue one just yet.
U.K. passports will continue to be issued in the old burgundy style before and after March 30, until the new blue design is ready in late 2019.
A technical notice from the U.K. Home Office published on Thursday warned U.K. citizens would become third country nationals in the event a Brexit deal is not reached making them subject to new rules in the Schengen Border Code.
Passports must have been issued within the last 10 years, and have at least three months remaining under the regulations.
The Home Office on Thursday warned citizens to “consider renewing your passport soon to avoid any delay, as the passport issuing service can get busy, especially in the spring.”
British authorities will also scrap a policy of crediting new passports with the remaining validity on their outgoing document — meaning a period would be bolted on to the 10-year validity of a new passport.
“From the beginning of September 2018 extra validity is no longer added to passports,” the notice said. “We have made this change to follow recommendations set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and to help provide clarity about passport validity in the Schengen area in the future.”
Tourists heading for Ireland fall under a separate Common Travel Area arrangement which will not change after Brexit, the notice said.
The guidance also revealed there would be a delay in a promised return to blue passports, which were replaced with burgundy EU passports in 1988. The burgundy passport has become a bête noir for Brexiteers who see it as a symbol of lost sovereignty within the EU.
U.K. citizens will continue to be issued with burgundy passports after March 30, although they will not include the words European Union, until blue passports begin to be issued from late 2019.
Passport renewals between late 2019 and early 2020 would be automatically issued with either a blue or burgundy British passport, the Home Office added.
The advisory documents published today by the U.K.’s Department for Exiting the EU are intended to provide advice for businesses and citizens on how they can prepare for no-deal Brexit – even though the government insists that is an unlikely occurrence. The first batch of 25 no-deal notices was released in August.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said the technical notices were “part and parcel of our sensible, pragmatic approach to preparing for all outcomes.”
The government was stepping up its no-deal preparations so Britain could “continue to flourish, regardless of the outcome of negotiations,” he said.