Guidance: Travelling between the UK and Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey or Jersey

Guidance Travelling between the UK and Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey or Jersey

Information for people travelling to the UK from Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, and information for people passing through the UK on the way to Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man.

Contents

  1. The Common Travel Area
  2. British and Irish citizens
  3. People who need permission to enter the UK from anywhere within the CTA
  4. Travelling from Ireland to the UK
  5. Travelling between the Crown Dependencies and the UK
  6. Travelling through the UK on your way to another part of the CTA

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The Common Travel Area

The Common Travel Area (CTA) is made up of the UK, Ireland and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man).

For the UK, the CTA arrangements means that you won’t always go through UK immigration control when travelling to the UK from somewhere else in the CTA. This is different to when you come to the UK from outside of the CTA.

You will never go through immigration control at the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

British and Irish citizens

Under the CTA arrangements, Irish citizens in the UK and British citizens in Ireland have the right to live, work, study, and access healthcare, social security and public services in each other’s countries without having to apply for permission.

Read more about what the CTA means for Irish citizens.

You don’t need to show your passport to a Border Force officer when travelling from Ireland to Great Britain. However, you may be asked to show a document that confirms your identity and nationality.

This could include:

  • a valid passport or passport card (if you’re Irish)
  • a copy of your passport or passport card with your identity and nationality clearly visible
  • an expired passport or passport card, which Border Force are satisfied was issued to you originally
  • evidence of having obtained British or Irish citizenship

This list is not exhaustive and other documents including providing more than one may be accepted. These are considered on a case by case basis by Border Force.

You will not pass through any immigration control when you enter the UK from Ireland across the land border, so you don’t need any documents to enter the UK on that route.

If you’re not a British or Irish citizen

There are different rules if you enter the UK from the CTA than if you enter the UK from a place outside the CTA. Usually, you don’t need to get permission to enter the UK if you are arriving from the CTA for a visit of up to 6 months.

However, there are exceptions to this. Some people need permission to enter the UK for a short visit wherever in the CTA they travel from. Other people only need permission if they’re travelling from Ireland.

If you enter the UK illegally from another part of the CTA, you may be removed from the UK.

People who need permission to enter the UK from anywhere within the CTA

For most people, there are different arrangements in place depending on whether you travel to the UK from Ireland or the Crown Dependencies.

You need to seek permission to enter the UK from anywhere in the CTA if:

  • you are subject to a deportation order
  • your exclusion has been deemed conducive to the public good
  • you have previously been refused permission to enter the UK and haven’t, since the time you were refused permission, been granted permission to enter or remain in the UK or any of the Crown Dependencies

Travelling from Ireland to the UK

If you’re from an EEA country or Switzerland

You will not pass through any immigration control when you enter the UK from Ireland across the land border, so you don’t need any documents to enter the UK on that route.

However, you may be asked to show your passport (which should be valid for the whole of your stay) or identity card to enter Great Britain when travelling from Ireland if you are encountered by Border Force.

From 1 October 2021, you will not be able to use an EEA or Swiss national identity card to enter the UK, and will only be able to use a valid passport, unless you:

  • have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • have made a valid application to the EU Settlement Scheme but have not yet received a decision (other than as a joining family member of a relevant sponsor)
  • have a valid EU Settlement Scheme family permit
  • have a Frontier Worker permit
  • are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
  • are a Swiss Service Provider

Irish citizens will continue to be able to use a passport card.

If you’re not from an EEA country or Switzerland

You will not pass through any immigration control when you enter the UK from Ireland across the land border, so you don’t need any documents to enter the UK on that route.

However, you may be asked by Border Force to show your passport, which should be valid for the whole of your stay, to enter Great Britain.

Permission to enter requirements

If you have permission to enter or remain in the UK (for example if you have a UK visa) you do not need further permission to enter the UK from Ireland.

You only need to get permission to enter the UK when arriving from Ireland if:

  • you arrived in Ireland from outside of the CTA and did not obtain immigration permission to enter Ireland
  • you’re a visa national who doesn’t have a valid UK visa, or a visa granted under the British-Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS)
  • you entered Ireland unlawfully from outside the CTA
  • you entered the UK or the Crown Dependencies unlawfully and went directly from there to Ireland
  • your permission to enter or stay expired before you left the UK and since then you haven’t been given permission to enter or stay in the UK or any of the Crown Dependencies
  • you are the subject of an international travel ban
  • you were refused admission or subject to a removal decision under specific regulations – unless you were later given permission to enter or stay

In these situations, you must either apply for:

  • a visa before you travel
  • permission to enter from a Border Force (immigration) Officer at the UK border

You may not be able to get permission to enter the UK from a Border Force Officer if you enter the UK from the CTA. This is because there are usually no immigration controls on these journeys, and none on the land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

For more information on who needs permission to enter the UK from Ireland, see the guidance on arriving in the UK from within the CTA.

Use the check if you need a UK visa tool to find out if you need a visa and what type.

Visas issued by Ireland are not acceptable for travel to the UK except for visas issued under the British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS).

If you don’t need permission to enter the UK from Ireland

Some people automatically have permission to enter the UK when they arrive from Ireland. This permission is called ‘deemed leave’. You don’t need to apply for it. You won’t get a stamp in your passport showing deemed leave because you won’t necessarily meet a Border Force officer when travelling from Ireland to the UK.

You can enter on the basis of deemed leave when you either:

  • enter Ireland from a country outside the CTA, and then travel on to the UK
  • were in the UK with permission to stay for a limited time, went directly to Ireland and while you were in Ireland your permission expired, and you then came directly back to the UK

The length of time you can stay in the UK and the things you can do here on the basis of deemed leave are different depending on why you are entering the UK. If you don’t need to apply to enter the UK from Ireland, you can enter and stay in the UK on Article 4 deemed leave.

You can be in the UK for up to 6 months on your first visit from Ireland. This time starts from the date you entered the UK. You can prove the date you entered the UK by, for example, your ticket or boarding pass.

Your deemed leave ends when you leave the UK.

On following visits to the UK from Ireland, you can be in the UK for up to 2 months on the basis of deemed leave if you haven’t left the CTA since you were last in the UK.

You cannot do any paid or unpaid work if you’re in the UK on Article 4 deemed leave except for activities allowed under Appendix V: Visitor of the Immigration Rules.

If you want to come to the UK to do something that isn’t allowed under Article 4 deemed leave, you must apply for the relevant visa before you travel to the UK.

Use the check if you need a UK visa tool to find out which visa is right for what you want to do.

Other ways for non-visa nationals to enter the UK using deemed leave

You can also use deemed leave if you enter the UK from Ireland either:

The rules of your deemed leave will be different depending on what you are coming to do.

Travelling to the UK for S2 healthcare treatment

S2 Healthcare Visitor arrangements apply to patients who applied before 11pm on 31 December 2020 to come to the UK for a course of planned healthcare treatment under the ‘S2 healthcare route’.

These arrangements also cover people who come with or join S2 Healthcare patients to support or care for them during their treatment.

See more information on S2 Healthcare Visitors including the documents you need.

If none of the exemptions apply to you and you enter the UK from Ireland with a valid S2 certificate you can enter and stay in the UK under Article 5 deemed leave. This is also true for anybody accompanying or joining you to provide care or support.

Under Article 5 deemed leave, you have permission to enter for 6 months, starting from the date you enter the UK from Ireland. You can prove this date, for example, with your travel ticket or boarding pass. This deemed leave ends when you leave the UK.

You cannot do any paid or unpaid work.

You can apply for permission to stay in the UK for another 6 months if treatment needs to continue. There’s no limit to the number of 6 month extensions you and your accompanying person can apply for, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

If you go from the UK to Ireland and then back to the UK without having left the CTA, you’ll automatically be able to stay in the UK for up to 6 months if you still have a valid S2 healthcare certificate. This permission will start from the date you return to the UK.

Irish citizens in the UK automatically have rights to enter and stay in the UK and don’t need deemed leave for healthcare purposes (except in a rare circumstances).

If you’re a visa national you must hold a visa issued under the S2 Healthcare Visitor route in the Immigration Rules before you get to the UK, including from Ireland.

See more information on the S2 Healthcare Visitor route.

Travelling to the UK for permitted paid engagements

If you are coming to the UK for a permitted paid engagement from Ireland, you can stay in the UK on the basis of Article 6 deemed leave for up to one month.

Your deemed leave starts from the date you first enter the UK from Ireland. You can prove this date, for example, with your travel ticket or boarding pass. This deemed leave ends when you leave the UK.

On further visits to the UK you can only stay for up to 7 days on the basis of Article 6 deemed leave on each visit from Ireland, as long as you haven’t left the CTA in between visits to the UK.

If you want to use the longer deemed leave period given by Article 4 then you must first leave the CTA. You cannot switch between Article 4 and Article 6 deemed leave while still in the CTA.

You can do a different permitted paid engagement activity each time you visit the UK.

Your permitted paid engagement must:

  • have been arranged before you travel to the UK
  • be evidenced by a formal invitation
  • relate to your area of expertise and occupation overseas

Travelling to the UK through Ireland with a Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting visa

If you are travelling to the UK through Ireland on a Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting visa (T5) you must apply for remote clearance at least 72 hours before you arrive in the UK.

Travelling between the Crown Dependencies and the UK

You don’t need a passport when travelling from the Crown Dependencies to the UK. However, you may need to show a Border Force officer document confirming your identity.

This could include:

  • a valid passport or passport card (if you’re Irish)
  • a copy of your passport or passport card with your identity clearly visible
  • an expired passport or passport card, which Border Force are satisfied was issued to you originally
  • a driving licence
  • an armed forces identity card

This list is not exhaustive and other proof may be accepted. This will be considered on a case by case basis by Border Force.

This list is not exhaustive and you may be able to confirm you have permission to enter the UK in another way. Your circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis by Border Force.

You may also need to show that you have permission to enter the UK such as:

  • a biometric residence permit
  • proof of your digital status (or eVisa)
  • a vignette in your passport
  • confirmation of immigration permission from one of the Crown Dependencies

This list is not exhaustive and other documents may be accepted. These are considered on a case by case basis by Border Force.

If you get permission to enter or stay in the UK, that permission and any conditions attached to it also apply in the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey (the Crown Dependencies). The same is true if the Crown Dependencies give you permission to enter or stay and you then travel to the UK.

You only need one UK visa if you plan to travel directly to the UK or any of the Crown Dependencies, or stop in any one of those places on the way to another.

Submit and pay for visa applications for permission to enter the Crown Dependencies in the same way as for the UK.

Travelling through the UK on your way to another part of the CTA

Even if you only enter the UK as part of your journey to Ireland or the Crown Dependencies you must still follow the UK’s immigration laws while you’re in the UK .

You must follow the immigration laws of whichever part of the CTA that you are in at the time. This includes visa requirements, restrictions on employment and length of stay.

Published 13 August 2021
Last updated 2 September 2021 + show all updates

  1. Updated information for Irish citizens travelling to the UK from Ireland or the Crown Dependencies.

  2. First published.

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