UK passport to redesign under £490 million contract after Brexit

The Government’s Home Office has put out a call for a new British passport design set to launch in 2019, the same year the UK will leave the European Union.

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.

Hide Comments (10)Show Comments (10)
  • John Oliver April 4, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Why bother redesigning it if Scotland is leaving the UK short after.

  • Michael April 4, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Andrew Rosindell needs to get a life.

  • Simon Palmer April 4, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Can I express my disinterest in a vanity project that costs £490 million while we are being subjected to absurd cuts to public funding cuts and welfare in the name of austerity?

  • Jean Baptiste April 4, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    The passport needs to be updated with security features & given that we will be leaving the EU it makes sense that EU wording will have to be removed from the design on the cover & inside pages.A lot of people would like to see the colour go back to the original dark blue.It’s not a vanity project as most of the money will be on the security design features over 10 years!

  • charles pooter April 6, 2017 at 11:09 am

    If we need to consider costs then perhaps we could ask the Daily Mail if they would very kindly grant the UK permission to use their coat of arms on our passports. The new front cover could be a tabloid white colour with a black letter type face spelling out ‘we are British and proud of it’. Inside we could have engravings of the spitfire, the white cliffs of Dover, a pint of Ale etc etc and on the back page ‘keep calm and carry on’

    • Karl Pitwon April 10, 2017 at 8:47 am

      You have summed it up just about right Charles

  • Stuart April 7, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    They need to advertise this tender on the side of a big red bus…

  • Max April 7, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Nick Clegg has said that the colour of the passport does not mean anything to anyone. It meant a great deal to the EU making it compulsory for members to use the colour burgundy! I’m all for a new design & return to the original blue!

  • Bertra June 25, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Wondering who the Home Office has given the contract to & how soon after we leave the EU this would be issued?

  • Bertra December 25, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    So it’s official then , the Home Office has announced the colour will be blue with a redesign of the old passport! From October 2019.

  • Post a comment

Latest articles

From the archives: Picture Post

As we head back into our archives, here’s a gem from March 1990. Jane Lewis looks at the creative ways design firms promoted their services through mail-outs.