I'm a EU national with UK settled status, flying from Munich to London Heathrow with Lufthansa. At the airport, Germany's own border control took no issues with me, checked my passport and waved me through. However, Lufthansa seemed to have dedicated UK passport control that their employees man where I had to present my passport for inspection. The person in charge flipped through it and asked if the passport was new. I was rather surprised by the question but I said it was issued in 2020 (which would have been made clear on the front page). She seemed to find it strange that it had not been "used", as there were no entry/exit stamps anywhere (plus, I keep it in a passport holder and generally try to take good care of it, possibly giving the impression it's brand new). I said when I go to the UK I always go through the electronic gates. However, she was still not satisfied (not sure if my middle Eastern name/looks played a role, but I'm always wary of extra checks on account of that), so asked me for any other documents proving I'm a national of said EU state. I said I don't have them on me but that I do have my UK driving licence on me which she can check. She inspected it and seemed to be finally satisfied that everything is in order and let me proceed.

I've done this route in the past and there were no such checks, this was the first time, so not sure what's changed. I also wonder what it is I could have done differently to avoid the extra hassle and what about me gave her pause. I was lucky I had my driving licence on but dread to think I could have been potentially denied boarding with little recourse. I have lived and worked in the UK for many years, so do worry sometimes about my ability to re-enter the country, I live and work there and own my home there, so it's a scary prospect for me. I suspect other EU nationals might be subject to the same sort of unfair scrutiny where their right to enter the UK is decided by a non-UK border official.

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    It doesn't matter. If you present a valid document they cannot deny boarding. If they suspect the document is forged they should have called the police. Next time you can just be a bit more assertive. Airline personnel are not "non-UK border official".
    – littleadv
    Sep 11, 2022 at 19:36
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    "...they cannot deny boarding." To which I'll add and they didn't. You were subject to extra scrutiny by Lufthansa, not by the German government — airlines can be twitchy about documents, as they have significant liability if they board travelers who are later rejected for entry at the destination airport's immigration. Sep 11, 2022 at 19:58
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    I understand that, but if I didn't have my UK driving licence, nor other documents on me, what would my options have been? Proof of settled status is digital only, besides I can still enter the UK as a EU national even if I am not settled there, so I'm curious why that wasn't sufficient. Sep 11, 2022 at 20:07
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    As someone in a similar situation, I've also experienced this confusion around the EUSS status eligibility and rights, as well as the worrying whenever I cross the border. I normally carry my status confirmation (from gov.uk/view-prove-immigration-status) as a print-out with me, If there are any issues, I access the above website for them on my phone. This always satisfied them, however as pointed out by someone else before, they can't deny you boarding when you're carrying valid documents.
    – overground
    Sep 11, 2022 at 20:33
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    There is nothing in your story indicating that this is anything but an occasional hickup. People do make mistakes, perhaps the airline employee was confused about something. If you hadn't had your driver's license or any other documentation of your UK status, the airline employee would most likely have consulted a colleague before taking further action and that would have solved the confusion. There is no reason to assume that Lufthansa is systematically denying EU passport holders to board a plane to London even if they have what looks like a new passport. Sep 11, 2022 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


Looks like I'm going to answer my own question (and I'm rather disappointed by the unexplained downvotes). It seems there's a pattern of carriers doing this to a disproportionate degree and ignoring advice from the Home Office on what checks are sufficient for entry into the UK. From here:

Carriers are not currently required to check an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen’s immigration status, or their entitlement to travel on a national identity card, when deciding whether to bring them to the UK. They only need to check that they have a valid passport or national identity card.

According to the above, my EU passport was sufficient for me to board that plane and that person clearly overstepped their remit in indirectly implying I have forged documents and/or no right to enter the UK.

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