More than 200 million EU citizens will no longer be able to visit the UK with national identity cards, meaning they will have to use passports to travel to the country under new post-Brexit rules.
Until the end of 2025, only EU citizens who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or those who have or applied for a family permit will still be able to use their national IDs.
Brits who with Gibraltar identification cards can continue to use them when travelling to Britain – but Irish citizens, although not required to use passports, may be asked by some airlines to show them, according to The Independent.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We’re ending the use of insecure ID cards for entry into the UK to strengthen our border and deliver on the people’s priority to take back control of our immigration system.
“Firm on those who seek to abuse the system. Fair on those who play by the rules.”
But all new ID cards issued by EU countries follow high security standards, in line with the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation. The IDs are machine readable and contain a microchip with identity details, which means they are very hard to forge in any way.
The post-Brexit move is a blow to Europeans who often do not have passports, and do not need them to travel to other EU countries. When the UK was part of the EU, it was one of a number of countries in the bloc who did not have ID cards.
Priti Patel’s announcement today triggered a heated reaction.
One Twitter user commented: “Priti Awful here wants you to think that EU ID cards are not safe or secure while at same time wants to introduce ID cards in UK.”
Another said: “I am terrified by the implications of each thing she proudly ‘delivers’”.
A third added: “The EU citizens won’t give a shit, their ID cards can be used in 27 EU states, where they are free to travel and work. UK citizens need to have a passport which don’t expire for at least six months before we are allowed in Europe.”
Political commentator Marina Purkiss added that Patel was tweeting “proudly about a brand new hoop for HGV drivers from the EU to jump through”.
The government last week announced it would allow 5,000 EU drivers to come help the UK until Christmas, having insisted it does not encourage the employment of people from abroad.