You Need a Passport to get to the British Isles

A surprisingly large number of people seem to think that being in the EU means you can wander around everywhere without a passport. This alas is not so with the British Isles. You can not get in on the strength of one of those pink bits of cardboard with a photo pritt-sticked on top that the Germans call a drivers licence. Your laminated piece of paper that is an identity card will not suffice. If you are going to Debconf, Akademy, Guadec, Python UK or any of the other conferences happening on our archipelago this year and you are not coming from the UK or Ireland make sure you sign up for a passport toot sweet.


some comments on this one:
First of all, the Germans introduced the new, EU standard driver licence years ago, in 1999. Ha! :-p

Second, although it is good that you point out that everyone should take a passport with him or her, the EU guidelines are pretty clear about it: all identity cards according to the European standards replace any passports and are enough to travel *everywhere* inside the EU. Even the UK embassy says so: "There will be only a brief passport or identity card check on arrival in the United Kingdom."

Still, it is noted by several travel agencies that not all pass control stations might have the new sheets to check the validation of all the different identity cards and therefore might insist on the Passport. So you are right after all - but I just wanted to make that point "clear" ;)

And, last but not least, you might want to post the official UK-Visa web page since not everyone is coming from the EU and might need to apply for a visa:

By liquidat at Thu, 04/19/2007 - 23:11

Based on this document (http://www.fco.gov.uk/Files/kfile/livingandworkingromaniabulg1.pdf) which is for the two new member states, it is stated clearly:
"Do I need to show my passport or identity card when I enter the UK?

Yes, you will need to show your passport or national
identity card when you enter the UK. When you arrive
at the port or airport, you should use the channel
marked EEA/EU where it is available."

Passport OR national identity card is needed. I suppose this is valid for other member states as well. ;)

But if you have a passport, it is probably not a bad idea to have with you, to save you some possible trouble, but still ID card should be enough.

By amantia at Fri, 04/20/2007 - 09:11

From my experience travelling back and forth between Spain and the UK 3-4 times a year since 2003, I can assure you that a national ID card suffices for crossing any EU border. Clearly a driver's license (even the EU-standardized fancy pink bit of plastic that Europeans, including the British, call a driver's license) is not an ID card, and is bound not to work. I only use my passport to travel out of Europe and back.

By pablomme at Sun, 03/23/2008 - 06:02