Background to European ID cards
A large number of people travel in and out of the UK daily. Of those travelling to the UK the form of identification used varies. Some individuals use their passports whilst others use their European ID card. Interestingly, around 30% of EU, EEA and Swiss nationals travelling to the UK use their national identity cards rather than their passports. Consequently, the government changes that will be implemented at the border will have significant implications on around 30% of those travellers.
European ID Cards: Border changes from 01 October 2021
From Friday 01 October 2021, the rules governing entry to the UK using national identity cards by EU, EEA or Swiss nationals will change. From 01 October 2021, it will no longer be permissible for most EU, EEA and Swiss citizens to use their national identity cards to enter the UK. A valid passport must be shown as identification at the UK border. The passport must be valid on the day of travel and throughout the entire duration of the travellers stay in the UK.
This new rule applies from 01 October 2021. Therefore, up to and including the day of Thursday 30 September all EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will not be affected and can continue to use their national identity card when entering the UK.
A small category of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens are exempt from this change and will be able to continue to enter the UK with their national identity cards until 31st December 2025.
You have pre settled status or settled status
The first category of people who are exempt from the border changes on 01 October 2021 are those who have been granted either pre settled status or settled status. Under the EU settlement scheme, if you have been granted one of the above statuses, you will be permitted to enter the UK by showing the identity document linked to your online status. Your identity status can either be your passport or national identity card.
Prior to travelling, you should ensure your online account is updated with all valid travel documents. This includes passports or national identity cards or any travel documents. This is important to avoid unnecessary delays at the UK Border.
To check or make any changes to the identity document linked to your status under the EU Settlement scheme visit the GOV.UK website.
You have applied to the EU settlement scheme, but not yet received a decision
The UK’s government guidance confirmed that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who have applied to the EU settlement scheme before the deadline and are yet to receive a decision can still continue to use their national identity cards to enter the UK after 01 October 2021. These individuals are exempt from the new rule changes while they are waiting for a decision on their settlement scheme application.
If you are waiting for a decision for a pending application, your travel in and out of the UK will not be affected. The guards at the UK border will be able to validate your pending status automatically at the borders using the documents registered.
You have an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit
The government rules state if you have an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, you can continue to travel and enter the UK after 01 October 2021 by showing an EU, EEA or Swiss national ID card.
You have a Frontier Worker Permit
You will also be excluded from the new rules if you have a permit under the frontier worker permit scheme. Those who have a permit can continue to enter the UK after 01 October 2021 by presenting an EU, EEA or Swiss national ID card.
You are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
If you fall within the scope of this category and receive planned healthcare in the UK under the ‘S2 arrangement’, or you are either accompanying or joining someone who is, you will be allowed to continue to enter the UK after 01 October 2021 with an EU, EEA or Swiss national ID card.
You are a Swiss national and have a service provider from Switzerland visa
If you work for a company based in Switzerland and have a service provider from Switzerland, the changes at the border from 01 October 2021 will not affect you. You can continue to travel to and enter the UK after 01 October 2021 by showing a Swiss national ID card.
British and Irish citizens
British and Irish citizens will also be able to continue to travel and enter the UK with their European ID cards.
British citizens with a Gibraltar identity card can continue to use their identity card to travel to the UK after 01 October 2021.
Irish citizens with a passport card can continue using this to travel and enter the UK after October 2021.
If you are a non-EEA family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen you will be required to show a valid national passport when entering the UK. You are unable to present an Article 10 or Article 20 residence card issued by an EEA member state to enter the UK. Only a valid passport will be accepted at the border. In addition to a valid national passport, non-EEA family members of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizens are also required to have one of the following:
- An EU settlement scheme family permit
- An UK-issued EEA family permit
- A UK-issued biometric residence card
Documents EU or Swiss Visitors must present at the UK Border
As travellers entering the UK, there may be other documents required for you to enter the UK as a visitor, regardless of whether you are entering with a national identity card or passport. Make sure to check here which documents are needed prior to travelling.
How can NA Law Solicitors help?
Our team of experienced solicitors here at NA Law Solicitors can help you with your EU Settlement Scheme application or provide further information on European ID cards. Contact us today to book your consultation on 0203 617 9173.