It is expected that even more immigrants from outside the EEA will be required to have identity cards. The card replaces the stickers or vignettes in passports.
If approved by Parliament those applying for further leave to remain in the United Kingdom in the following categories will be required to provide their biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) as part of their application from 31 March 2009:
- Academic visitors granted leave for a period exceeding six months The total stay in the United Kingdom is more than six months, up to a maximum period of 12 months.
- Visitors for private medical treatment
- Where the applicant is required to extend their stay in the United Kingdom so that they are able to complete private medical treatment.
- Domestic workers in a private household
- Applies to overseas domestic workers who have accompanied a person entitled to live in the United Kingdom and are applying to extend their permission to stay in the country based upon their employment as domestic workers.
- United Kingdom ancestry
- Retired persons of independent means, and their partners and children – This is no longer a current category. It is still relevant for those already in the UK.
- Sole representatives
In addition if you apply to transfer a stamp from an existing passport to a new passport you will be issued with an identity card instead of a new stamp in your passport or vignette.
It is already the case that from 25 November 2008 the following categories come under the identity card scheme:
- civil or unmarried partners, and their dependents
Those applying for indefinite leave to remain and those already in the UK with permanent residence are unaffected by the changes.
Biometric information has to be provided before a decision to grant leave is made. This has enabled the UK Border Agency to deal with abuse in the system. There are a number of pending prosecutions.