EU citizens report bugs in UK government NFC passport reading app

Scanning a passport with an NFC phone
PRACTICE REQUIRED: “Move the device around the document until the app recognises it,” advises the Home Office, then “do not move the Android device until the check is complete.”

People taking part in the pilot test of an NFC app developed by the UK government to make it easy for EU citizens to apply for settled status following Brexit have reported a number of bugs, including multiple issues related to NFC passport scanning.

“Home Office efforts to launch a phone app for EU nationals registering to stay in Britain have been dealt a blow after complaints that the passport recognition function does not work on all phones,” The Guardian reports.

“Universities participating in a trial of the app have resorted to buying a supply of phones that do work as has one law firm advising applicants.”

The issues with the Android app follow on from difficulties the UK government has experienced attempting to persuade Apple to open up the iPhone’s NFC tag reading capabilities in order to enable iOS users to use the EU Exit app to register under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Immigration lawyer Esyllt Martin told The Guardian that the app’s NFC scanner was “the biggest glitch” in the system.

“It requires you to practice to be able to do it which is not ideal as the pilot is so short,” she explained. Martin also confirmed that two of the four universities piloting the app as well as her own company “had bought a set of up-to-date smartphones to lend out to applicants whose own phones didn’t work.”