EU restrictions remain on UK passport holders’ travel

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Passengers at Heathrow are still affected by the regulations The European Union’s controversial passport-based passport requirements remain in place at UK airports, two years after the UK voted…

EU restrictions remain on UK passport holders' travel

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Passengers at Heathrow are still affected by the regulations

The European Union’s controversial passport-based passport requirements remain in place at UK airports, two years after the UK voted to leave the bloc.

“We have strict screening requirements for EU passengers flying to and from EU airports,” a Heathrow spokesman told the BBC.

However, he said: “We do not have any specific barcodes on boarding passes for EU or UK passports.

“We just tell all passengers they will have to present a valid travel document at the relevant check-in counter.”

Passengers are not allowed to bring in items on board that have less than a six-month battery life.

Changes after Brexit

Much has changed in the past two years, such as passport-free access being abolished for Iranians.

Some EU nations have stopped issuing or giving out passports to people from certain countries, under rules designed to combat illegal migration.

But there are still several areas where airlines and countries within the EU are still complying with EU rules.

In 2013, the European Commission set a deadline of 14 December 2016 for the UK to stop enforcing its passport regulations. It is now off that deadline.

For countries in the European Economic Area, which include Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, the commission’s deadline was 31 May 2017.

However, in a separate report published by the commission on Monday, it said that the agreement covered only the UK, not Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

This has prompted some politicians to call for a review of the regulations, arguing that they should be amended to cover the full EU membership.

Airlines “no longer afraid of complying”

Karl-Heinz Lambertz, chairman of the German travel association eDreams, said there were indications that airlines were now “no longer afraid of complying”.

In April, Ethiopian Airlines announced it would stop imposing EU passport-based passport requirements at Heathrow next year, saying it had been complying with the restrictions since 2010.

“We are now introducing these checks to airports outside the EU,” airline president Tewolde Gebremariam said.

Harsher EU rules on clothing

There is also a system known as the “Hybrid Checkpoint” in place at some EU airports, which allow passengers to move through security or immigration without showing their passports.

But this is still applied to some countries outside the EU, such as Ireland and Switzerland.

In October, authorities in Dublin launched a cross-border alert system to speed up border processes, warning of busy parts of its airside and urging airlines to adjust their schedules.

Since 2013, airlines within the EU must also check whether a ticket holder has a ticket from a non-EU country, however, some airlines are still failing to do this.

Nigel Whitehead, chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority, said some companies “have not performed their role as agreed by agreement”.

“We will have to do more to ensure these checks are correctly carried out,” he said.

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