Swiss ID cards no longer valid from October 2021, says UK government

From October 1, 2021, only one of these will let the bearer into the UK, according to the British government Keystone

Swiss citizens will need a passport to enter the United Kingdom from October 1, 2021 – identity cards will no longer be accepted. This is according to an updated post-Brexit Border Operating ModelExternal link published by the British government on Thursday.

This content was published on October 8, 2020 - 18:00

The new regulation also applies to all EU countries and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

These changes would “strengthen the security of our border”, the British government said in its 263-page guide for businesses and passengers crossing the border after the Brexit transition ends on December 31.

The British government had previously said in travel adviceExternal link that it “may stop accepting” ID cards after 2020 but hadn’t fixed a date.

However, Swiss citizens who begin living in the UK before December 31, 2020, and have status under the EU Settlement Scheme will be able to use their Swiss ID cards to enter the UK until at least December 31, 2025.


Regarding visas, the British government said on Thursday it was “the UK’s intention” that EU, EEA and Swiss citizens “taking short trips to the UK, including for tourism, short-term business visits or short-term studies […] will not be required to obtain a visa”.

It pointed out that from January 1, 2021, free movement would end and the UK’s new points-based system would be introduced. “EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, except for Irish nationals, in line with other third-country nationals will require a visa to work, study or join family in the UK and will also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.”

The UK formally left the EU on January 31, more than three years after it voted 52%-48% for Brexit in a 2016 referendum. The two sides are now trying to work out how everything from cars to cheese to whisky will trade. The UK government’s Border Operating Model will be updated on an ongoing basis.

In October 2016, the Swiss government adopted its “Mind the GapExternal link” strategy aimed at guaranteeing as far as possible the mutual rights and obligations of citizens in all areas that currently link Switzerland and Britain.

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