Estonian ID cards no longer valid for travel to and from the UK

Estonian passports.
Estonian passports. Source: Piret Kooli

Starting last Friday, October 1, Estonian citizens are required to present their passport when entering the United Kingdom. The Estonian ID card, formerly acceptable as a travel document at the United Kingdom's borders, now no longer is, while those who entered Great Britain and Northern Ireland before October 1 also need to present their passport upon exiting the country.

Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Kristina Ots told ERR Monday that: "As a result of Brexit, the only valid travel document to enter the U.K from 1 October 1 2021 is a passport. This means that it is no longer possible to cross the UK border with an Estonian ID card."

The same would apply to residents of Estonia who had in the past used their ID card to enter the U.K.

For those Estonians potentially stuck in the U.K. due to the changeover and not having their Estonian passport with them, Ots said that consular services should be sought.

Ots told ERR that: "If you do not have a passport, you can apply for one from the Estonian Embassy in London, or alternatively apply for a return certificate from the Estonian honorary consuls in Aberdeen, Belfast, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Jersey or Leeds," Ots said. 

A return certificate is a temporary, single-use travel document issued solely for the purpose of that one trip.

Exceptions apply to those Estonian citizens with right of stay in the U.K., though such individuals should contact their travel service provider to ascertain if any other documentation in addition to an Estonian ID card, for instance proof of residence in the U.K., is required.

As of January 1 this year and following the end of the Brexit transition period – the U.K. formally left the EU in February 2020 – tourists, business travelers and students are permitted to travel visa-free to the U.K., provided they do not stay for more than six consecutive months, ERR reports.

The EU Health Insurance Card is still valid in the U.K., though from this year, an international drivers' license is needed when entering the U.K. by car.

The foreign ministry also recommends travelers check customs regulations, even with regard to items brought in to or out of the U.K. for personal use, while higher mobile phone roaming charges may apply than was previously the case.

Estonian citizens can enter EU/EEA/Schengen Area states, along with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia using their Estonian ID card, ERR reports, and require their passport for all other states, in addition to meeting coronavirus travel requirements of that state.

More detailed information is available from the U.K.'s Foreign Office website here.

More information for U.K. nationals in Estonia post-Brexit is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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