In November 2008, the Home Office introduced the so-called Identity Card for foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, who want to extend their stay in the United Kingdom or come to the United Kingdom for more than six months. At first, the card was issued only to those, who were granted an extension of their stay in the United Kingdom as a student or as the husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried or same sex partner of a permanent resident and their dependents. However, from 31 March 2009 on, the regulations will be extended and include fruther immigration categories. See the table below for a complete list of potential applicants.
|students and their dependants|
|husbands, wives, civil partners, or unmarried or same-sex partners|
|postgraduate doctors and dentists|
|academic visitors granted leave for a period exceeding six months (maxium period of twelve months)|
|visitors for private medical treatment|
|domestic workers in a private household|
|United Kingdom ancestry|
|retired persons of independent means, and their partners and children (no longer open to new applicants)|
|sole representatives (overseas employees recruited by an overseas company)|
All applicants who want to apply for an Identity Card have to provide their biometrics, namely fingerprints and a photograph. These are then checked against existing records and afterwards stored on the UK Border Agency systems and within the microchip card. The Identity Cards replace the stickers and vignettes in passports.
However, if you or your client seek indefinite leave to remain or already are settled, an Identity Card is not needed.