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I am a dual Italian, British citizen. When I travel within EU+Schengen+UK I usually carry with me my Italian ID card and my British passport (I leave my Italian passport at home, since it's bulkier and more easily ruined than a plastic ID card). Even without a UK passport, Italian ID cards are enough to travel to the UK until December 2025.

As is common, I usually show my UK document to UK authorities, and Italian document to Italian authorities. I might use either document for the airline (but when flying from Italy to the UK, I pick the UK passport, since otherwise the airline might want me to show them my settled status).

Something weird happened a few months ago: I showed my Italian ID card to border control, and the Italian police asked me to show them proof that I would be entitled to enter the UK. I pointed out that I was also a British citizen, but a UK passport wasn't needed since settled status was also enough, but they replied something along the lines of:

It's not that we want to be nosy, we just need/want to check that you'll actually be able to travel to where you're going to

That was perplexing, since I understand that to be the airline's responsibility, not the outbound's border control. I anyhow presented them my UK passport.

A couple of weeks ago at the same Italian airport (Linate), I was again asked to provide more proof, after showing up at the border control with my ID card. I then handed them my UK passport and...

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They stamped my UK passport. This feels silly and a waste of passport space, even more so because the stamp was perfunctory (you can barely see that it's an italian stamp, no legible indications of the airport).

My understanding of the situation is:

Did Italian and/or Schengen border police change the way that they're applying the rules? Is this just inconsistent application?

Is it more likely to happen in certain airports than others (Linate, in this case), maybe because of how prevalent flights to some countries are in different airports (i.e. rules for travelling to UK with ID card are less obvious than for travelling to Ireland, so if the airport has more/less flights to UK/Ireland, their border control might be more/less surprised in seeing travellers with ID cards)?

Is presenting only an ID card when travelling now frowned upon by border police?

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  • Did they scan the UK passport?
    – phoog
    Dec 23, 2023 at 13:02
  • Yes, IIRC they put the UK passport in the passport-reading machine
    – berdario
    Dec 23, 2023 at 13:06
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    Once the EES goes into operation you can demand that your data not be stored in it, but there's not much to be done about the stamp.
    – phoog
    Dec 23, 2023 at 13:08
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    Yes, "mostly EUSS-related, which don't apply to you since you are a British citizen". But even if it shouldn't apply to British citizens, you can still travel with proof of EUSS, even after naturalisation: travel.stackexchange.com/a/182269 (I wish I hadn't had to do it)
    – berdario
    Dec 23, 2023 at 14:14
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    @berdario Proof of EUSS should never be requested, but a lot of handling companies incorrectly think the opposite.
    – Crazydre
    Dec 23, 2023 at 14:51

1 Answer 1

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It's pretty clear that they shouldn't have stamped it. I would probably try asking them not to stamp before handing over the UK passport; you can explain that you're trying to conserve blank spaces and then if they refuse (and you haven't antagonized them!) they can at least try to stamp over another Schengen stamp. By asking before giving them the passport, you reduce the likelihood of their stamping it out of habit.

The Schengen Borders Code is explicit that passports of EU citizens are not to be stamped. It is not explicit about the case of non-EU passports held by EU citizens with multiple nationality, but it's certainly consistent with the spirit of free movement law and with the administrative requirements of immigration and border control to conclude that a non-EU passport should not be stamped when you have also shown your Italian ID card.

If Italian police have newly started asking about your ability to enter the UK, it could indeed be because of a change in their policies (whether with respect to travel to the UK in particular or to non-EU, non-Schengen destinations in general); I don't know. But about the stamping, I would only say that policy changes in recent years, in the countries I'm familiar with at least, have generally been in the direction of less stamping than more.

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  • I've had this at Ancona airport as well, and I'm not really able to prove my UK pre-settled status, it took some arguing in (limited) Italian for the officer to let me pass. Not once other than that though; it's the handling agents that commonly deny me boarding (most recently twice in a row on 9 and 10 Dec in Malta)
    – Crazydre
    Dec 23, 2023 at 14:53
  • @Crazydre The only time I had to do it, I loaded the EUSS website, to show them my status. In the past I also printed that page (which by itself doesn't have any legal value), and I also got a solicitor in the UK to sign over the printout (to witness that it was an accurate copy of the authoritative source), maybe this can be discussed in Chat? I'm sorry to hear about you being denied boarding :/
    – berdario
    Dec 23, 2023 at 15:10
  • I created chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/150480/… for that
    – berdario
    Dec 23, 2023 at 15:27
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    @berdario The only good thing is it's got me EUR 4150 in total in EC261 compensation since Dec 2022 (EUR 3900 from easyJet, EUR 250 from Jet2). I never feel bad for multi-millionaire companies, but this systematic error is so extreme that I actually feel bad for easyJet (who have been nothing but angelic in assisting me)
    – Crazydre
    Dec 23, 2023 at 16:14
  • I just went through the border again and I asked them to avoid stamping my passport. I didn't want to argue, but their response was a bit surprising: they said that the id card (in this context) was only useful to avoid getting the passport stamped, i.e. that the id card by itself is not valid (modulo settled status) for travelling abroad. This seems really weird to me (as long as an id card is not labelled as "non valida per l'espatrio").
    – berdario
    Jan 9 at 16:19

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