Britons will see the return of blue passports from next month following the UK’s exit from the EU.
The first of the new-style passports – described by the government as a return to an “iconic” design – will be issued and delivered in early March, the Home Office has announced.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Leaving the EU 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.”
The introduction of blue passports will be phased in and, from mid-2020, all new passports will be blue to replace their burgundy predecessors.
Former prime minister Theresa May announced the return to blue passports in December 2017, hailing it as “an expression of our independence and sovereignty” as she planned the UK’s departure from the EU.
It was later revealed that a Franco-Dutch firm was to be given the £260m contract to produce the new passports, controversially replacing the previous British manufacturer of UK passports.
The UK adopted burgundy passports in 1988 in line with EU recommendations, with some Brexiteers having used the vote to leave the bloc to argue for a return to the previous blue colour, which was first used in 1921.
Whether the old passports were blue or black has been the subject of the debate.
Some within the EU have previously pointed out there was never any legally-binding obligation for the UK to make the colour change to burgundy.
Croatia, which joined the EU in 2013, retained its blue passport with no plans to change its colour scheme.
As well as the colour change, the new UK passports issued from next month will be embossed with the floral emblems of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The Home Office boasts it will also be the “most technologically advanced British passport ever”, with a raft of new and updated security features.
This includes a polycarbonate data page containing technologies embedded into the document to keep personal data secure.
The new passports will also be made using the “latest and most secure printing and design techniques” to ensure they will be “even harder to forge”, the Home Office said.
The department is also promising to reduce the carbon footprint produced through the manufacture of the new passports to net zero, through projects such as planting trees.
Standard passports will continue to contain 34 pages, while frequent traveller “jumbo” passports will now contain 54 pages.
Those holding valid, burgundy passports can continue to use them for travel until they expire.
From March last year, burgundy passports began to be issued without the words “European Union” on the front cover.