A residency program for EU citizens hoping to remain in the UK involves a Brexit Digital ID initiative, but glitches are rampant. This situation adds to the complexity as leaders try to forge a deal to leave the European Union but at the same time work to craft a system that enables EU citizens to apply for “settled status.”
The app is meant to help EU nationals — an estimated 3.7 million of them live in the UK — apply for residency there after Brexit becomes a reality
So far, a test involving an NFC app created by the UK government has produced numerous bugs, according to reports. The app is meant to help EU nationals — an estimated 3.7 million of them live in the UK — apply for residency there after Brexit becomes a reality. The process, according to 9to5Mac.com, “involves filling out a short form, taking a selfie and scanning the chip inside their passport using their phone’s NFC reader.”
One problem reported so far for the post-Brexit digital ID program is that the passport recognition function doesn’t work, at least on the Android version of the UK app.
According to Esyllt Martin, an immigration lawyer interviewed by The Guardian, the app as it stands now is too cumbersome and not user-friendly enough for the government’s planned digital ID purposes. “It requires you to practice to be able to do it which is not ideal as the pilot is so short,” she said.
Apple NFC restrictions challenge Brexit digital ID
As for iOS, that presents another problem for the Brexit digital ID plan. The British government reportedly has yet to persuade Apple to provide the necessary access to NFC chips inside its devices. Apple has a policy of not granting full access to outsiders to those chips. When it comes to Apple, 9to5Mac.com said, “NFC reading APIs only support the NDEF data format. The government’s plan is simply not possible with iOS as it stands today.”
Still, it’s not all bad news for the test of the UK’s post-Brexit digital ID plan. Some users in the pilot reportedly found the technology and app “incredibly simple to use.” The process being tested in the pilot requires users to enter their email addresses and phone numbers, and to scan the first page of their passports. The app also uses a selfie of users to help authenticate their identities. People who reported successful use of the app said the process took about four or five minutes.
The idea is to use the Brexit digital ID app to enable relatively efficient applications for settled status in the UK from EU citizens who have no criminal records and own both Android phones (at least until Apple gives its permission, if that happens) and biometric passports. Applications also must prove they have lived in the UK for at least five years and have had stable employment.