In November 2008, the Home Office issued the new Identity Card to foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, 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. The card stores the biometrics of its holder and replaces the stickers and vignettes in passports.
From 31 March 2009 on, the card will be compulsory for an even broader range of applicants, e.g. academic visitors or ancestors of British citizens. For a full list of the affected groups and more information, please click here.