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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/citizens-rights-uk-and-irish-nationals-in-the-common-travel-area/citizens-rights-uk-and-irish-nationals-in-the-common-travel-area
The agreement reached at the December Council ensures that the rights enjoyed by British and Irish citizens under the CTA are protected after the UK leaves the EU.
This means that no UK or Irish nationals will be required to apply for settled status to protect their entitlements in Ireland and the UK respectively. The rights to work, study, access social security and public services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals.
There will be also be full protection and maintenance of the current arrangements for journeys between the UK and Ireland. This includes movement across the land border between Northern Ireland, protecting the uninhibited movement enjoyed today.
1. What is the CTA? What rights does it confer?
The Common Travel Area (CTA) facilitates the principle of free movement for British and Irish citizens between the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and the reciprocal enjoyment of rights and entitlements to public services of citizens when in the other’s state. The CTA was formed before either the UK or Ireland were members of the EU and means that reciprocal rights for Irish and UK citizens operate separately and alongside those rights afforded to EU nationals.
Under the CTA, UK and Irish nationals enjoy a range of reciprocal rights - for example:
- the right to enter and reside in each others’ state without being subject to a requirement to obtain permission
- the right to work without being subject to a requirement to obtain permission
- the right to access education
- access to social welfare entitlements and benefits
- access to health services
- access to social housing
- the right to vote in local and parliamentary elections.
2. I’m a British citizen living in Ireland. Do I need to take any action now to protect my rights?
No. Your rights under the CTA will be protected after the UK leaves the EU.
3. I’m an Irish citizen living in Great Britain. Do I need to take any action now to protect my rights?
No. Irish citizens residing in Great Britain do not need to do anything. Your rights under the CTA will be protected after the UK leaves the EU.
4. I’m an Irish citizen living in Northern Ireland. Do I need to take any action now to protect my rights?
No. Irish citizens residing in Northern Ireland do not need to do anything. Your rights under the CTA will be protected after the UK leaves the EU
5. Will the rights of EU citizen frontier workers living in Ireland but working in Northern Ireland be protected?
Yes. We have now agreed that frontier workers should be protected under the withdrawal agreement.
Under the definition agreed with the EU a frontier worker shall be defined as a UK or EU citizen pursuing genuine and effective work as an employed or self-employed person in one or more host states, and who resides in another state, unless or until they no longer retain the status of a worker.