IMA reminds EU citizens of what to expect at the UK border

The IMA has created step-by-step videos for EU and EEA EFTA citizens and joining family members travelling to the UK to explain the procedures they should expect at the UK border.

The video guidance includes four step-by-step videos detailing the procedure when entering the UK for citizens travelling on a passport, national ID card, family permit, or with a valid EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) pending application.

Pam Everett, Operations Director for the IMA said,

“We are aware of recent media reports and have received some information regarding EU citizens allegedly being refused re-entry to UK.

“We are mindful that such reported incidents can create understandable concern for citizens and their families. We therefore urge citizens planning to travel to familiarise themselves with the procedure at the UK border and to be fully aware of their rights.

“The IMA would encourage citizens and their family members who may be experiencing difficulties to contact us via our website or complaints portal so we may better understand the issues and consider any further intervention.”

The IMA has also previously published an open letter to air carriers reminding them of Home Office guidance following complaints from citizens who were denied boarding.

A reminder to EU citizens of their rights when travelling to the UK has also been issued to inform citizens of Home Office guidance that citizens who hold pre-settled or settled status under the EUSS or who are awaiting the outcome of a valid application will still be able to use their national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.

The IMA encourages any EU or EEA EFTA citizen or their family members who believe their rights are not being upheld to submit a complaint to its online portal.

EU citizens reminded of rights when travelling to the UK

With the summer holiday season in full swing, the IMA is continuing to receive complaints and intelligence from people experiencing difficulties with airline carriers whilst travelling to the UK.

The IMA, which was established to ensure the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens who are protected by the EU Withdrawal Agreement and EEA EFTA Separation Agreement are upheld by public bodies, has been in ongoing discussions with the Home Office about travel to the UK.

The Home Office has confirmed that citizens who hold pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) or who are awaiting the outcome of a valid application will still be able to use their national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.

Those whose rights are protected under the Withdrawal and Separation Agreements but do not have status under the EUSS, such as Frontier Workers and those with pending valid EUSS applications, can also continue to use their valid national ID cards to enter the UK.

Last week, the IMA issued an open letter to airline carriers to remind them of the guidelines issued by the Home Office.

Pam Everett, Operations Director for the IMA said:

“Both citizens and carriers need to be aware of the current guidance about entry to the UK as we know people are experiencing difficulties.

“Carriers are not required to check an EU or EEA EFTA citizen’s immigration status, whether a person has status under EUSS or their entitlement to travel on a national ID card. They only need to check that they have a valid passport or national ID card.

“Citizens living in the UK with pre-settled or settled status should have their digital status automatically recognised at the UK border when they enter, provided they use the same personal details and identity document they used to apply to the EUSS or have associated with their UKVI account. It’s therefore really important that these documents are kept up to date.”

Citizens whose details or identity document have since changed, such as a new passport or national ID card, can find information on how to update their details on their UKVI account via GOV.UK. Not updating UKVI accounts may result in checks at the UK border in order to verify their status.

Further guidance about entering the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme and EU Settlement Scheme family permit can be found via the Border Force website. Individuals who need help accessing or using the online immigration status services can contact the UKVI Resolution Centre.

The IMA encourages any citizen experiencing difficulties in exercising their rights to make them aware of this through their online portal.

 

Watchdog concerned that airline carriers are stopping some EU and EEA EFTA citizens from travelling

It has written an open letter to all carriers to remind them of the Home Office’s guidance, around what documents citizens need to travel to the UK.

The letter follows complaints from citizens who were denied boarding flights after some airline carriers demanded proof of UK residency status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) or refused to accept national identity cards as valid ID for travel.

Both these actions are contrary to the Home Office’s guidance which is in place and states:

“Carriers are not currently required to check an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen’s immigration status, or their entitlement to travel on a national identity card, when deciding whether to bring them to the UK. They only need to check that they have a valid passport or national identity card.”

The guidance reflects the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens as protected by the Withdrawal and Separation agreements for EU and EEA EFTA citizens’ rights.

Pam Everett, IMA Director of Operational Delivery said:

“As the summer holidays start in earnest, we are concerned that incorrect procedures followed by airline carriers will cause unnecessary stress, even resulting in families missing their holiday.

“We hope this letter to carriers will remind them to ensure their staff are aware of the guidance from the Home Office in relation to citizens’ entitlement to travel.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and remain in close contact with the Home Office about the EUSS and rights of entry to the UK.”

Open letter to carriers

25 July 2022

 

 CARRIERS – AWARENESS OF VALID TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

 OPEN LETTER TO CARRIERS

 

The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) protects the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens, and their family members, living in the UK and Gibraltar. We monitor public bodies in the UK and Gibraltar to make sure they uphold the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens and to identify any systemic issues. We have the powers to launch inquiries and bring legal action, if appropriate, against bodies that don’t uphold the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens. We are independent of government.

We have received a number of complaints concerning carriers’ awareness of travel documents required from EU and EEA EFTA citizens protected by the EU Withdrawal Agreement and EEA EFTA Separation Agreement (“the Agreements”), when travelling to the UK. We have been made aware of instances where carriers are asking citizens to provide proof of their status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) prior to allowing them to travel or denying boarding where a valid national identity card has been provided.

We have raised these issues with the Home Office who have directed us to guidance that has been issued to carriers.

The guidance can be found via the following links:

We wish to remind carriers that EU and EEA EFTA citizens who are within scope of the Agreements currently have the choice between using a valid national identity card or a valid passport to enter the UK.

The IMA is concerned that some carriers are restricting travel, contrary to the published guidance, by not accepting valid national identity cards prior to boarding and/or asking for proof of status under the EUSS.

The Guidance is clear that:

“Carriers are not currently required to check an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen’s immigration status, or their entitlement to travel on a national identity card, when deciding whether to bring them to the UK. They only need to check that they have a valid passport or national identity card”.

We are continuing to monitor this situation and remain in active discussions with the Home Office. More information on what we are working on, including the awareness of digital status and valid ID documents to travel can be found on our website.

Whilst any queries in relation to the guidance should be addressed to the Home Office, we are happy to discuss any issues concerning the rights of citizens who are protected by the Agreements with carriers directly.

Should you have any queries please contact Intelligence@IMA-citizensrights.org.uk

 

Independent Monitoring Authority