The announcement of the color change has received mixed reviews.

By Jess McHugh
December 22, 2017
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The current U.K. passport is red.

U.K. passports are set to return to their original blue following the British exit — or Brexit — from the European Union in 2019.

All passports issued after October 2019 will now be navy blue, similar to the design that first came into use almost 100 years ago, BBC reported. The U.K. switched to the current burgundy color in 1988 in solidarity with the European Union, when the European Economic Community sought to harmonize the member states. The EU never forced the U.K. to change the passport color, which is not regulated.

“Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world,” Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said in a statement.

In addition to EU member states (minus Croatia), the South American countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru also have red-hued passports. Other countries with blue passports include the U.S., which switched to a navy color in 1976.

British politicians and citizens showed a mixed reaction on social media, with some lauding the move and others dismissing it as pointless.

Far right-wing leader Nigel Farage hailed the decision as a return to “individuality and national identity,” while British musician Billy Bragg referred to it as an “effort to turn back the clock.”