According to Theresa May's Twitter:

The UK passport is an expression of our independence and sovereignty – symbolising our citizenship of a proud, great nation. That's why we have announced that the iconic #bluepassport will return after we leave the European Union in 2019.

But did the EU ever force the UK to use burgundy passports in the first place? Are they unable to switch without leaving the Union?

  • 9
    The Twitter page contains no direct claim about forcing the UK to use burgundy passports and as such it's currently not notable according to our standards. It's not clear what forcing means here either.
    – Christian
    Dec 22, 2017 at 19:30
  • 5
    Returning to blue after leaving the EU, as a symbol of independence and sovereignty, strongly implies that it's not possible while the UK is a member.
    – ugoren
    Dec 22, 2017 at 21:52
  • 3
    If many people believe it was forced, we should be able to find some examples of claims of that. Let's do that and re-open.
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 22, 2017 at 22:01
  • 9
    @ugoren: I find that argument unconvincing. A divorcee who makes a show of no longer wearing a wedding ring does not imply that it wasn't possible to take off the ring while married. Let's find a more direct claim.
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 22, 2017 at 22:03
  • 3
    @Sklivvz Your example claim link calls the burgundy color a humiliation, but not something that was forced, and indeed it didn't have to be forced to be a humiliation nonetheless.
    – user11643
    Dec 26, 2017 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


According to the BBC. no. The EU does not impose passport color restrictions on any member states and several states do not in fact have a burgundy passport.

The EU has mandated several wording and content changes to assist in freedom of movement for EU citizens and as this Guardian article (soft paywall) notes, most of the changes to size, biometrics and other security features are EU regulations passed in order to comply with US and ICAO regulations. If UK passport holders want to enjoy ease of travel around the world they'll still have to keep those parts.

Finally a Wikipedia link on Passports of the European Union.

  • "Dumping the blue for burgundy was a decision taken by the UK in the 1980s after the then EEC (European Economic Community) member states tried to harmonise designs to make life easier for travellers and border officials." Perhaps it's worth noting the burgundy was an EU design and preference. The UK would probably still use blue if the EU never suggested burgundy.
    – user11643
    Dec 26, 2017 at 17:26

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