UK Border Force bans EU, EEA and Swiss national ID cards: what you need to know

October 7, 2021

Almost all “insecure ID cards” from the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland will no longer be accepted at UK borders, the Government has confirmed.

The move is designed to strengthen UK border controls following a rapid rise in false documents.

Here’s what businesses need to know.

What are insecure ID cards?

“Insecure ID cards” are defined as national identity (ID) cards issued by resident countries.

According to Border Force officers, European ID cards are the “most abused documents”, accounting for almost half of all false documents detected at the border.

A new ID card security standard is being introduced across the EU, but these will not be mandatory for at least another five to 10 years.

What is changing?

From 1 October 2021, almost all EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will need a valid passport to enter the UK.

Those who have settled or pre-settled status can continue to use national ID cards until 31 December 2025.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can continue to use ID cards to travel within the single market.

What do businesses need to do?

If you employ EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals, or are welcoming guests from these regions, and they do not have settled or pre-settled status, you will need to ensure they have a valid passport before travelling.

New laws “delivering on the people’s priority to take back control of our immigration system”

Commenting on the changes, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The UK has a proud history of being open to the world, and Global Britain will continue in that tradition. But we must clamp down on the criminals that seek to enter our country illegally using forged documents.

“We are doing this as part of our New Plan for Immigration, which will be firm on those who seek to abuse the system, and fair on those who play by the rules.”

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