Travelling within the Common Travel Area and the associated rights of British and Irish citizens if there is no Brexit deal

If you are an Irish citizen you will continue to have the right to enter and remain in the UK, as now. You are not required to do anything to protect your status.

You will continue to have the same reciprocal rights associated with the CTA in the same way that British citizens in Ireland would if there is no deal. These rights include the right to work, study and vote, access to social welfare benefits and health services. Where required, domestic legislation and agreements will be updated to ensure that the CTA rights continue to have a clear legal basis.

There will be no practical changes to the UK’s approach to immigration on journeys within the CTA. As now there will be no routine immigration controls on journeys from within the CTA to the UK. The legislation governing this approach will remain unchanged when the UK leaves the EU, as will the legislative framework of integrated immigration laws between the UK and the Crown Dependencies. The CTAarrangements would be maintained, promoting the benefits of migration between these islands.

If you’re not an Irish or British citizen, you’ll be required to continue to meet relevant domestic entry clearance requirements as set out in the Immigration (Control of Entry through the Republic of Ireland) Order 1972 (as amended). The UK will continue to work with Ireland and the Crown Dependencies on the movement of people between these islands, ensuring the effective functioning of the CTA and its external border.

About the CTA

The CTA is a long-standing arrangement between the UK, the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man) and Ireland. The CTA is not reliant on membership of the EU, formed before either the UK or Ireland were members, but based on domestic legislation and bilateral agreements.

The CTA established cooperation between the immigration authorities of its members to provide a pragmatic response to the movement of people within it, including other nationalities who remain subject to immigration control. Central to the UK’s legal framework is that there are no routine immigration controls on journeys from within the CTA to the UK, including on the Northern Ireland-Ireland land border.

The UK’s approach to the CTA is set out in the Immigration Act 1971 and subsequent secondary legislation. These legislative arrangements are extended to the Crown Dependencies. Protocol 20 to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU recognises the cooperation between members, confirming that the UK and Ireland can ‘continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories (the Common Travel Area)’.

The rights of Irish citizens in the UK are rooted in the Ireland Act 1949 but provided for in subsequent legislation and bilateral agreements as the nature of these rights has evolved over time.

The CTA holds special importance to people in their daily lives: it goes to the heart of the relationship between these islands. The UK government is firmly committed to maintaining the CTA arrangements after the UK leaves the EU, an objective shared by the Crown Dependencies. The Irish Government has been clear also in its commitment to the continuation of the CTA. The CTA has proven to be resilient over the years and would continue to endure if there is no deal.

The CTA arrangements are deeply embedded within our shared history and are central to our close social and cultural ties. These arrangements complement the provisions of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.