As of January 1 this year, border officials are now allowed to ask questions to any non-British national entering the UK to find out whether they are a resident or a tourist. It follows a toughening of the UK’s borders under its new points-based immigration system post-Brexit.
However, reports have emerged of border officials asking EU visitors for documentation to prove that they have settled or pre-settled status in the UK.
Border officials are not yet allowed to request this documentation until June 30, which is the deadline for EU nationals to apply for such a status, according to Politico.
An anonymous EU diplomat has described the situation as “kind of a grey area” because UK Border Force officers can try to work out who someone is and ask for details of where they are staying.
However, the diplomat told Politico: “But they cannot ask you for proof of your settled or pre-settled status”.
Another diplomat from Malta told the outlet they are aware of “a misunderstanding at the UK border concerning the lack of physical proof” of settled status documentation which affected two Maltese citizens.
EU citizens will usually be granted settled status if they have lived in the UK for at least five years continuously.
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Boris Johnson is set to announce details on the UK’s hotel quarantine policy, which will require people to pay to self-isolate in a hotel upon arrival to the country.
The extent of the new rule is not yet known as MPs have differed over which countries it should apply to.
Currently nearly all visitors have to provide proof of a recent negative test and self-isolate for 10 days at home anyway.
It comes following concerns about Covid-19 strains that are thought to have originated in South Africa and Brazil. The UK also saw a new strain emerge in past weeks.