Previously, EU citizens were also allowed to use identity cards to enter Britain, as is the case in the rest of the 27-member bloc.

The requirement will be in place from October 2021, according to the British government's policy paper "The Border Operating Model" published on Thursday.

The new regulation also applies to visitors from Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

The government argues that identity cards are less secure than passports.

Britain officially left the EU at the end of January but remains in a transition period until the end of the year, during which little has changed in terms of practical arrangements.

Britain is set to leave the EU internal market and customs union on January 1, but has yet to close a new trade agreement with the bloc.

Without an agreement in place, there is a threat of serious disruption for businesses and supply chains.