Freedom of movement (passports) after Brexit

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With waters raging out of control in the Eastern United States and fires engulfing thousands of acres on the Western coast, many American’s are wondering what Brexit is and why there is so much fuss about it.

Brexit is just an abbreviation for “British Exit”, which took place on June 23, 2016 when the British citizens voted to exit the European Union. This had devastating effects on currencies and other global markets, and for the first time in decades, the British pound fell to an all-time low.

So what does this mean for citizens who hold a passport that is issued through the British Government? The decision to leave the union will mean huge changes for the look of the passports as well as the powers that they hold.

No one knows exactly what will happen to passports in the short term, but they will, more than likely, need to be revamped. The Passport Office has not yet decided whether people will need to buy a new passport or have their existing passport updated, but it is likely that all old passports will continue to be valid until they need to be renewed. At that point, it is presumed that anyone needing a new passport will be issued one with the updated design.

Much of the power a passport holds is given through the provisions of the European Union; primarily through freedom of movement, which means that, unlike some countries, British citizens don’t need to get visas to travel throughout Europe. However, these are still issued by the United Kingdom’s government, so they should remain valid for their term, or as long as that government exists.

For those people who live in places that make them British citizens but aren’t part of the Union, there are already passports that aren’t EU, and those citizens will probably continue with those passports for several more years, or until Britain and the EU conclude the terms of the split. Official proceedings will not begin until a new prime minister is elected and could be as long as two years.

Overall, this split is likely to cause far more problems than anyone anticipated. The changes alone that will affect passports look to be monumental to deal with. As far as what America will be facing when dealing with the changes, we are yet to know.


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