The roll out of ID cards has started, but police and border guards are not able to read the electronic information held on them.
Scanners needed to read the information have not yet been rolled out to border entry points and border guards are using existing fingerprint databases to verify people's identity.
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The first ID cards were given to foreign nationals entering the UK in November last year, but scanners are still not available. The cards will also be rolled out to UK airport workers in autumn this year.
The Home Office says immigration officers are able to verify biometric features at all ports using the UK Border Agency's existing databases.
It said in a statement, "Scanners capable of reading the electronic chip on the identity card for foreign nationals will become more readily available as we ramp up the issuing of cards.
"The timetable for the roll out of scanners to read biometric chips will be in incremental stages."