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BREXIT

Swiss and EU nationals face new ID rule for travel to UK

Swiss and EU nationals have been warned that the rules to enter the UK will change at the end of the month, with ID cards will no longer be accepted at the border.

A Swiss passport will be necessary to visit the UK from October. Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash
A Swiss passport will be necessary to visit the UK from October. Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

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.

In general far fewer people own passports in these EU countries compared to national identity cards, which are obligatory in some European countries. 

But the change of rule for travel to the UK may force many to apply for passports.

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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For members

TRAVEL NEWS

10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain’s Basel to Berlin line

In early May, German transport provider Flixtrain announced it would begin running services from Basel to Berlin (and back) from June. Here’s what you need to know.

10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain's Basel to Berlin line

German transport provider Flixtrain has announced it will launch in Switzerland from June 23rd. The low-cost provider is offering 10 franc (10 euro) tickets from Basel to Berlin, among other cheap fares.

The low-cost company, which has been establishing itself Deutsche Bahn’s major competitor Germany over the past few years, runs long distance bus and train services. 

When will the services run?

The lines to and from Basel run from Thursday to Monday, with one connection per day in either direction. 

It will take 8 hours and 45 minutes from Basel Badischer Bahnhof to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. 

A trip with the German ICE will instead take just over 7 hours. 

The new line is part of an expansion of services which is set to include around 70 destinations in Germany. 

OK but will it really cost CHF10?

The price of the ticket grabbed headlines, with Flixtrain saying in its press conference that the almost-nine-hour trip would only cost CHF10 (10 euro). 

Flixtrain spokesperson Sebastian Meyer told Swiss news outlet Watson that tickets would start at CHF10, but more expensive tickets would be available when the CHF10 offerings were sold out. 

“If the cheapest ticket contingent is sold out, the next higher one takes effect. In this way, we can always offer our passengers cheap tickets. Affordable prices are still possible due to the corresponding utilisation of the individual trips.”

In order to get the cheapest possible fare, travellers are advised to book early. 

REVEALED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

Tickets between Basel and Berlin can cost as high as CHF150 or 160 euros from Switzerland’s SBB or Germany’s Deutsche Bahn respectively, although booking in advance can bring the price down to as low as CHF30. 

Where will the train to (and from) Berlin stop?

In either direction, the train will stop at: Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Offenburg, Freiburg, Wiesloch, Bad Hersfeld and Weil am Rhein. 

What else is different about Flixtrain?

Other than being bright lime green, Flixtrains allow you to take your bicycle with you, which is not allowed on most ICE long-distance trains in Germany. 

Are there any other destinations within Switzerland? 

As yet, Basel will be the only Swiss destination. The other two new routes are Stuttgart to Hamburg and Berlin to Weisbaden. 

In addition to the 10 franc (10 euro) ticket from Basel to Berlin, other journeys within Germany will start at 5 francs (5 euros). 

More information is available from Flixtrain at the following link. 

The expanded routes can be seen in the following image. 

A look at Flixtrain’s route network in 2022. Map: Flixtrain

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