Since leaving the European Union (EU), the UK is no longer part of the free movement area within Europe. Indeed, UK citizens will soon need to fill out an ETIAS application form to be able to cross borders within the EU when traveling Europe.
But what does this mean for EU citizens traveling with an ID card? Can European travelers still enter the UK using National Identity cards?
The rules for the documentation now required to enter the UK have changed since Brexit, meaning that there are different criteria for entry depending upon your status within the UK. We’ve summarized these differences below.
For EU Nationals with settled or pre-settled status traveling into the UK
For any European citizen who has settled or pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme, a National Identity card is valid for entry into the UK. You can also enter the UK using a valid passport. This rule will be in place until at least 2025 when the UK government may review and change these rules.
For European Nationals without settled or pre-settled status arriving in the UK
As of the 1st of October 2021, any EU, EEA, or Swiss National entering the UK is required to present a valid passport that is valid for the duration of their stay. National ID cards are no longer accepted for those who do not have settled or pre-settled status.
Others who can use ID cards for entry into the UK
Apart from those with settled or pre-settled status with the EU Settlement Scheme, there are a few other groups who can use an ID card to enter the UK. These groups include:
- Those who have settled status under the Jersey, Guernsey, or Isle of Man settlement schemes (this also includes pre-settled status)
- Those who have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit (or the equivalent from Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man)
- Those who have a frontier worker permit
- If you are an S2 healthcare visitor
- If you are a Swiss national and have a Service Provider from Switzerland visa
- If you have applied for settlement status under one of the schemes above, have confirmed your application is valid, and are not applying as a joining family member
Other: Irish citizens, Gibraltar Identity cards
British citizens who hold a Gibraltar ID card may continue to use this card for entry into the UK and Irish citizens may continue to use their passport cards.
Can I travel with non-EU family members using my ID card?
While EU citizens with settled or pre-settled status may enter the UK using an ID card, any non-EU family members must present a valid passport along with one of the following:
- An EU Settlement Scheme family permit
- A UK-issued EEA family permit
- A UK-based biometric residence card
Article 10 and Article 20 residence cards issued by an EEA state will not be valid for entry to the UK.
Can I still travel to Europe with my ID card after Brexit?
Brexit has not affected your right to travel using a National ID card within Europe. A valid National Identity card is enough for entry into most EU states. Some EU states may require a visa so it is best to check before traveling.
As is usual, for countries outside of Europe, a valid passport is still required, along with a visa depending upon your visit length and your destination’s regulations on travel.
Do I need a visa to enter the UK?
Pre-Brexit, European citizens of EU member states did not need a visa to live and work in the UK due to the rules on free movement within the union. Post-Brexit, some EU travelers may require a visa for entry into the UK.
While EU citizens may travel to the UK for a short stay without a visa, they can usually only stay for around six months. If you want to stay longer, you may need to apply for a visa. There are restrictions on what you can and cannot do in the UK without a visa, though the list allows for lots without access.
To apply for a visa you will need to meet certain criteria and ensure any qualifications you have been recognized and validated in the UK.
Travel with an ID card after Brexit
While the rules have changed when it comes to entry into the UK, some EU, EEA, and Swiss National visitors may still enter the UK using a valid National ID card. For others, a valid passport may be needed along with other documentation.
For travel in Europe, a valid National ID card is still accepted by most EU member states, though some may require a visa. Most EU citizens will not need a visa to enter the UK provided they only intend to stay a short while.