Most Europeans will need a valid passport to enter the UK from Friday as the government ceases to allow access to those travelling on national identity cards.
From October 1, under the change that was announced a year ago, most citizens of the EU, European Economic Area and Switzerland will no longer be allowed to enter the UK using the card, and will be subject to the same entry rules as travellers from the rest of the world.
The change will not apply to those who are part of the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme or have the same rights. They will be able to continue using ID cards until at least 2025.
The Home Office said the ID cards are some of the most abused documents seen by Border Force officers, and that last year almost half of all false documents detected at the border were EU, EEA or Swiss cards.
By no longer accepting the cards as a valid travel document, the government said it could prevent organised criminal gangs and illegal migrants from using them to enter the UK unlawfully.
“The UK has a proud history of being open to the world, and global Britain will continue in that tradition," Home Secretary Priti Patel said.
“But we must clamp down on the criminals who seek to enter our country illegally using forged documents.
“By ending the use of insecure ID cards we are strengthening our border and delivering on the people’s priority to take back control of our immigration system.
“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.”