An open letter to carriers from the IMA around awareness of valid travel documents
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.