EU citizens without the post-Brexit right to live in the UK will no longer be able to use EU ID cards to enter the country from October 1. EU nationals who do not have settled status in the UK and those using visas to travel will be required to show a passport.
Under the new immigration system, only those settled in the UK can use EU, EEA or Swiss national ID cards to enter the country and the method will be accepted until 2025.
The UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016 and was finally freed from the shackles of the bloc following the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020.
The Home Office says the policy change comes as the UK ends the freedom of movement and “takes back control” of its borders.
A Home Office spokesperson added EU ID card are an “insecure form of identification” and insisted those affected have been given almost 12 months to be ready.
The move has sparked fears of confusion at the border as the Government has not issued physical documents to the millions of EU citizens who have been granted the right to stay in the UK.
Instead, proof of an individuals’ status needs to be obtained via a digital portal on the Home Office website.
Concerns were raised at a meeting of officials from the UK Government and European Commission earlier this month as thousands of applications are still being processed.
One EU diplomat said: “It is very clear in the UK what the rules are, but we are afraid airlines are not aware of the rules.”
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The Home Office estimates 5,548,440 people had applied to the scheme, once repeat applications were excluded.
Settled status was on offer to anyone who can prove that they had been in the UK continuously for five years or more before December 31, 2020.
Home Office figures show 2,846,820 people were granted settled status.
Pre-settled status was on offer to anyone who had been in the UK for less than five years by the end of 2020.
The Home Office data suggests 2,327,850 people were successful.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The British public repeatedly voted to end free movement and take back control of our immigration system.
“The removal of ID cards fulfils this commitment and means EU, EEA and Swiss citizens now follow the same, more secure rules for entering the UK as travellers from the rest of the world.
“They are an insecure form of identification and from October 1 we will be phasing them out.
“We have provided nearly a year’s notice of these changes, and have engaged extensively with the public and industry, including carriers, to enable those affected to prepare.”