Travel within the Common Travel Area
Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), Irish and British citizens move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and entitlements including access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits, and the right to vote in certain elections.
The CTA pre-dates Irish and United Kingdom (UK) membership of the European Union (EU) and is not dependent on it. The Government of Ireland and the UK Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, reaffirming their commitment to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances. On the date of the signing, both Governments also issued a Joint Statement.
What this means:
The land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland will continue, as it does now, to remain free of any systematic immigration controls.
Irish and British Citizens do not need to take any action to protect their right to live in and move freely within the Common Travel Area.
The status of British citizens in Ireland will remain unchanged. British citizens will not need a visa or any form of prior permission to travel to Ireland, any form of residence permit or employment permit. They will continue to enjoy the right to live, work, study and access services and to vote in certain elections as is currently the case.
After the UK leaves the EU on 31 January 2020, both Irish citizens in the UK and British citizens in Ireland will continue to enjoy these rights. Through the Memorandum of Understanding, both Governments have committed to undertaking all the work necessary, including through legislative provision, to ensure that the agreed CTA rights and privileges are protected.
The CTA was recognised throughout the EU-UK negotiations and there is agreement in the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland which is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement, on the basis of which the UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020, that Ireland and the UK may continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories.
The Irish Government is putting arrangements in place for those people who come from a country outside the EU (non-EEA), and are a family member or dependent of an UK national, who, as of 31 December 2020, hold a valid Irish Resident Permit (IRP) Card.
A new scheme will be introduced for UK nationals who come to Ireland after 11.01pm on 31 December 2020 and wish to bring their non-EEA family members. Details are available on the Immigration Delivery Service website.