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UK Government to stop accepting EU ID cards for border crossings

New rules for traders, haulers, and passengers announced


EU, EEA, and Swiss national ID cards, including those with biometric chips, will not be acceptable for travel to the UK by sea, land or air from October 2021, according to an updated GB-EU Border Operating Model published on Gov.uk.

The move is part of a transition period strategy that will see the UK officially leaving the European Union on 1 January 2021.

After that, the United Kingdom will operate a full, external border as a sovereign nation, so new controls will have to be placed on the movement of goods and people between Great Britain and the EU.

“Passports will be required for entry into the UK from October 2021 as the Government phases out the use of EU, EEA and Swiss national identity cards as a valid travel document for entry to the UK,” the document reads.

The UK has been increasingly strengthening its security borders measures in the past few years and has moved to focus its border control policy on biometrics to perform automated checks against criminal records databases.

The new GB-EU Border Operating Model builds on these efforts by highlighting the insecure nature of legacy national ID cards.

“Identity cards are among the least secure documents seen at the border and ending their use will strengthen our security as the UK takes back control of its borders at the end of the transition period,” the document explains.

Starting October 2021, all EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals will have to travel to the UK using a passport, unless they meet one of four exemption criteria, in which case they have until the end of calendar 2025, according to government guidance. Those 12 years of age and older with a biometric passport can use automatic facial recognition gates at some airports, which the guidance notes are usually faster than manual ID checks.

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