Airport passport rules change for EU arrivals in latest security crackdown

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There are big changes ahead for airport arrivals because of a government security crackdown – and some could even be refused entry to the UK.

National Identity cards issued by many European nations will no longer by accepted as a travel document and most EU and Swiss citizens will need a valid passport to enter the UK.

The Home Office said foreign ID cards are “some of the most abused documents” seen by Border Force officers. It claimed inconsistencies in the design and security features of the cards make them easier to counterfeit than passports.

A Home Office statement said: “They can be easily abused by people attempting to come into the country illegally and by stopping accepting these forms of ID, the government can prevent organised criminal gangs and illegal migrants using them to enter the UK unlawfully.”

It claimed ID cards were “notoriously insecure” because they lacked biometric data, making it easier to falsify the data recorded and making them difficult to cross-reference with criminal record databases.

“Last year, almost half of all false documents detected at the border were EU, EEA or Swiss ID cards,” the Home Office said.

Those without a passport from October 1 are liable to be refused entry to the UK – although Border Force officers will retain the right to exercise discretion on individual cases.

Home secretary Priti Patel said: “We must clamp down on the criminals that 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.

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“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.”

Every EU country except Ireland and Denmark currently issues ID cards, and many citizens do not possess a passport.

The move is also part of the government’s long-term strategy to deliver a fully digitised border, providing a more “streamlined and seamless customer experience for travellers entering the UK.”

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