The UK passport is set to be redesigned and could return to navy blue following Brexit, after the Government put calls out for a £490 million project this week.
The Government’s Home Office has released a tender for the new passport, which is expected to launch in 2019 after the contract on the current design expires.
The tender came out a few days prior to British prime minister Theresa May triggering Article 50 and starting the Brexit process.
British passport redesigns every five years
The new look will be in line with the Government’s routine passport redesign that takes place every five years to prevent counterfeits, says a Home Office spokesperson.
It expects to whittle down entries to six potential bids, and the contract on the new design is due to last for 11.5 years, according to the tender, with potential of a renewal within this time.
There is not yet a specific date confirmed for the new passport’s roll-out. A Home Office spokesperson says: “The timing of any potential changes to the passport after the UK has left the European Union has not been set.”
Could return to pre-EU dark blue passport
It has been reported that the redesign could mean a return to the original navy blue passport, which was adopted by the UK from 1921 to 1988. The burgundy passport was then rolled out, a few years prior to the forming of the modern-day EU in 1993.
The Home Office says there is no confirmation at this point that the UK passport will return to navy. A spokesperson tells Design Week: “Anything is on the table at this point.”
But Eurosceptic politicians have shown disapproval of and hostility towards the burgundy red passport. Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell told the Press Association the passport had caused national “humiliation”, The Guardian reports.
“The restoration of our own British passport is a clear statement to the world that Britain is back,” he said. “Our British identity was slowly but surely being submerged into an artificial European one that most Brits felt increasingly unhappy about.”
Michael Fabricant added: “You keep your passport until it expires. If you renew after Brexit, I am hoping we’ll have new navy passports.”
Applications need to be received by 24 April
The design project will include the redesign of the UK passport and all other official travel documents, such as emergency passports.
Designers must “express interest” in the tender by 8am on 14 April 2017, then submit a full proposal by 2pm on 24 April 2017. For more information, read the Home Office’s official tender here.