Some British citizens planning to travel abroad already have a tangible sign of what life will look like once the country is no longer a member of the European Union: new passports missing “European Union” on the front cover.
Last month, even as lawmakers wrestled over the principal terms of the withdrawal process known as Brexit, the Home Office said that the design of new passports would change after March 29, the initial date set for Britain’s departure.
For a while, both the old and new designs will be made and both are valid for travel, the Home Office said, adding, “You will not be able to choose whether you get a passport that includes the words European Union or a passport that does not.”
While Brexit itself has been delayed — the original departure deadline was extended to April 12, and Prime Minister Theresa May has asked Brussels for a further postponement — the passport changes have moved forward as planned.
One early recipient, Susan Hindle Barone, posted images of her new and old British passports on Twitter on Friday, asking others to “spot the difference!”
TRULY APPALLED. Picked up my new passport today – my old one expires in the next couple of months. See below: Spot the difference! pic.twitter.com/R7BW9lk6I5
— Susan Hindle Barone (@SpinHBarone) April 5, 2019
Both passports have burgundy covers dominated by a golden coat of arms. But on one, the words “European Union” were missing from the top.
“Truly appalled,” Ms. Hindle Barone wrote. “I didn’t notice it until I looked at them next to each other. It makes me feel sick.”
In an email on Saturday, Ms. Hindle Barone, a supporter of remaining in the European Union wrote: “I was just shocked and dismayed to see the change to the passport as we haven’t left the E.U. yet. It’s not the passport itself, but what the changes symbolize — something which I believe to be completely futile.”