European identity cards no longer accepted at UK borders

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A post-Brexit rule banning the use of identification cards from the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) to enter Britain comes into force from Friday, the UK government said.

Under plans announced by the government a year ago, most EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will need a valid passport to enter the UK as border officials stop accepting national identity cards as a travel document on October 1.

The UK said the changes following its definitive departure from the EU earlier this year were necessary to prevent the use of the more easily forged documents, combat crime and stop illegal migrants.

In a statement late on Thursday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said Britain needed to “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,” she added.

The changes come as Britain grapples with a shortage of thousands of HGV drivers that has led to a profound fuel crisis and shortages on supermarket shelves.

Haulage industry figures have warned the changes to IDs risk creating further obstacles to drivers amid the shortages already blamed by government critics on Brexit as well as the coronavirus.

The ban on the IDs part of a package of changes to deliver on the ruling Conservative Party’s 2019 election promise to take control of Britain’s borders.

The proposed laws, which have proved controversial with human rights campaigners, include powers to arrest illegal immigrants and transfer asylum-seekers overseas while their applications are processed.

The government has said EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who previously resided in the UK and have been granted the right to stay in Britain will still be able to use their national identity cards at borders until 2025.

Read more via France 24/AFP

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