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BREXIT

Swedish nationals face rule change for travel to UK

European nationals have been warned that the rules to enter the UK will change at the end of September, meaning ID cards will no longer be accepted at the border.

Swedish nationals face rule change for travel to UK
International arrivals at London Heathrow. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Nationals of EU countries as well as Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will no longer be able to use their country’s national identity cards as a means of entry into the UK from the end of September.

From October 1st 2021 onwards travellers will only be able to enter the UK using their passport – previously travellers who had citizenship of EU countries could use their national ID card instead.

Under EU rules, citizens of member states that issue national identity cards can use them for travel within the EU and Schengen area instead of a passport.

This was the case for travel to the UK when it was part of the EU. The change in rule in October is as a result of Brexit.

However there will be some exceptions.

The Home Office states that these nationals can continue to use national ID card to enter the UK until at least December 31st 2025 if they:

  • have settled or pre-settled status under the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme
  • have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme but not yet received a decision
  • have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
  • have a frontier worker permit
  • are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
  • are a Swiss Service Provider

Travellers will need to have the appropriate documents to prove the above status at the UK border.

Irish citizens can continue to use a passport card to travel to the UK.

EU travellers do not need a visa for short trips to the UK.

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TRAVEL NEWS

EXPLAINED: What’s behind the queues at Stockholm Arlanda airport?

Travellers are reporting queues over an hour long at Stockholm's Arlanda airport. What's going on and how long is it expected to last?

EXPLAINED: What's behind the queues at Stockholm Arlanda airport?

What’s the situation at Stockholm Arlanda airport? 

On Friday morning, there were queues lasting over an hour at Arlanda’s security controls. By 10am, they had been reduced to below half an hour, according to the live update the airport operator, Swedavia, maintains on its website here

Swedavia first began warning of long queue times on Monday, saying the queues were the result of a resurgence in travel combined with staffing shortages at Avarn, the contractor responsible for managing the security checks. 

“The wait times are due to a staff shortage with our security services contractor – which is caused by ongoing recruitment and absences due to illness,” the airport said on its website

What are travellers saying? 

Twitter is predictably awash with angry comments from travellers, including some well-known commentators. 

The terrorism researcher Magnus Ranstorp resorted to capital letters to bemoan the “CATASTROPHE” at the airport. 

The Financial Times’ Nordic Correspondent also compared the situation at Arlanda unfavourably with the smooth controls at Helsinki Airport

“Never seen anything like it and sounds like might be worse today. In Terminal 5 both queues, SAS and Norwegian, were well over 100 metres long,” he told The Local. “It took me 50 minutes to get through security. Don’t think it’s ever taken more than 10 in the Nordics before.” 

What should you do if you are travelling through Stockholm Arlanda at the moment? 

Swedavia recommends that you arrive “well in advance” when taking a flight. You can contact your airline here to find out when their check-ins and baggage drops open.  

Swedavia also recommends that you do everything possible to speed up the check-in process, such as:

  • checking in from home
  • packing hand baggage to make screening faster
  • checking the need for a face covering in advance
  • checking that you have the right travel documents ready 

If you can’t check in from home, Swedavia recommends seeing if you can check in using an automated machine at the airport.

What is the airport doing to to improve the situation? 

On June 15th, the airport is reopening Terminal 4, which might help somewhat, although the airport warns that as staffing is the major problem, having more space will not fully solve the problem over the summer. 

In a press release issued on Friday, Svedavia’s chief operations officer, Peder Grunditz, said opening a new terminal was “an important measure”. 

“We are now going to have the three biggest terminals back in operation for the first time since the pandemic,” he said. 

The company and Avarn are also making “big recruitment efforts” and taking “operational measures” to improve the queue situation, although the “challenging labour market” made that difficult. 

When will waiting times return to normal? 

In his press release, Grunditz conceded that waiting times were not likely to return to normal during the summer, due to the rapid growth in the number of people taking flights. 

“Even though we expect gradual improvements, the queuing situation is going to continue to be challenging during periods over the summer,” he said. 

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