It is estimated that almost a third of EU, EEA and Swiss nationals currently travel to the UK using national identity cards, rather than passports. However, on 01 October 2021, the rules governing entry to the UK with an EU, EEA or Swiss national identity card will change.
Up to and including Thursday 30 September 2021, all EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can use their national identity card to enter the UK. However, from Friday 01 October 2021, this will no longer be possible for most EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. Instead, a valid passport must be shown at the UK border. The passport must be valid for the entire duration of the traveller's stay in the UK.
While this change will apply to the majority of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, some exceptions apply. Certain EU, EEA and Swiss citizens may continue to enter the UK using only their national identity cards, up until at least 31 December 2025. This will only apply to you if you fall into one of the categories below:
You have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
If you have been granted either pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you can enter the UK by showing the identity document linked to your online status. This could be your passport, or your national identity card.
Before you travel, you should ensure that you update your online account with all valid travel documents (such as passports or national identity cards) that you hold and intend to use for travel, to avoid any unnecessary delays at the border. You can check, or change, the identity document linked to your status under the EU Settlement Scheme on the GOV.UK website.
You have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, but not yet received a decision
On 25 August 2021, the UK government updated its guidance to confirm that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who applied to the EU Settlement Scheme before the 30 June 2021 deadline, but have not yet received a decision, can continue to use their national identity card to enter the UK after 01 October 2021, while they are waiting for the decision on their application.
If your application is pending, UK border guards will be able to check your pending status automatically at the border using the documents registered, so your travel in and out of the country will not be affected while your application is being processed.
If your application is decided after
You have an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit
If you have an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, you may continue to enter the UK after 01 October 2021 by showing an EU, EEA or Swiss national ID card.
You have a Frontier Worker Permit
If you have a permit under the Frontier Worker Permit Scheme, you may continue to enter the UK after 01 October 2021 by showing an EU, EEA or Swiss national ID card.
You are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
If you have been authorised to receive planned healthcare in the UK under the 'S2 arrangement', or you're accompanying or joining someone who is, you may continue to enter the UK after 01 October 2021 by showing 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 Providers from Switzerland visa, you may continue to enter the UK after 01 October 2021 by showing a Swiss national ID card.
British and Irish citizens
If you are a British citizen and have a Gibraltar identity card, you can continue to use this to travel to the UK after 01 October 2021.
If you are an Irish citizen and have a passport card, you can continue to use this to travel to the UK after 01 October 2021.
Please note that if you're a non-EEA family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you will need to show your valid national passport. You cannot use an Article 10 or Article 20 residence card issued by an EEA member state to enter the UK.
If you are a non-EEA citizen, you must travel with a valid national passport.
Other Documents That EU or Swiss Visitors May Need to Show at the UK Border
Whether you are entering the UK with a national identity card or a passport, there may be other documents that you will need in order to enter the UK as a Visitor.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.