UK Government uses NFC to allow EU Android users to stay in UK

EU users to scan passports to stay in the UK. Image : flynt / 123RF

In a slightly more interesting turn of events on the Brexit storyline, the UK government has announced that they plan to use NFC to allow EU citizens to stay in the UK.

Sajid Javid, the UK government’s home secretary, has presented a plan whereby EU citizens will be able to use an App to answer three simple questions and verify their ID. The verification part will require a scan of the applicant’s passport or ID card.

The App, which will be available on Android phones, will use NFC to read the NFC chip within the passport. This, along with a simple selfie, can be digitally sent to the Home Office and be quickly verified. Bearing in mind that some 3.5 million applications may be made, clearly a digital system like this is going to make things a lot easier than having to send passports in by registered post.

Which is something, it would appear, that Apple users may have to do. As reported by NFC.Today in the past, Apple have not yet opened up the NFC chip on the iPhone to developers. This means that unfortunately, iPhone users will not be able to use an App to scan the NFC chip within the passports. Mr Javid commented that there was, ‘an issue at the moment’ with Apple and that having spoken with the company recently, they were ‘looking at it actively’.

Everyone within the NFC industry knows that the breadth of applications for NFC tags and NFC is far wider than payments. This slightly unusual but clearly very useful application just highlights why Apple should make a small change very quickly and open the NFC controller up on the iPhone.