Just when you thought Brexit couldn't get any messier... it has. Though the date when the UK will actually leave the EU remains unknown, some people are already being issued passports without the words "European Union" on them.
Sharing a picture of her new, EU-free passport, which she collected from her local passport office yesterday (5th April), Susan Hindle Barone told Twitter followers that she was "truly appalled".
One follower replied: "Trying hard to look on the bright side, it might become a collector’s item of the future if we stay in.. I don’t understand how @ukhomeoffice can do this while still in the EU though."
So, here's what's happened: the Home Office started issuing passports which don't feature the words "European Union" on 30th March – the day the UK was supposed to leave the EU, but obviously didn't.
However, because there's apparently a bit of a stockpile of the familiar European Union passports, some people are still receiving the existing design.
A Home Office spokesperson told the press: "Burgundy passports that no longer include the words European Union on the front cover were introduced from 30 March 2019.
“In order to use leftover stock and achieve best value to the taxpayer, passports that include the words European Union will continue to be issued for a short period after this date.
“There will be no difference for British citizens whether they are using a passport that includes the words European Union, or a passport that does not. Both designs will be equally valid for travel."
So essentially, those of us applying for a new passport in the coming weeks won't know which design we'll get until it arrives.
However, burgundy passports are already destined to become a thing of the past, presuming Brexit eventually happens, of course. From October of this year, anyone renewing or applying for a new passport will get a dark blue and gold passport instead of the current burgundy version, a move that immigration minister Brandon Lewis has said will help the country "restore our national identity".
Dark blue and gold British passports were issued from 1921 until 1988 when the burgundy document began to be rolled out, in line with other countries in the European Economic Community, as the EU was then known.
The Home Office has said that the return to dark blue and gold passports will cost an eye-watering £500m.