Common Travel Area: rights of UK and Irish citizens

Information for UK and Irish citizens on their rights under the Common Travel Area arrangements (CTA).



The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a long-standing arrangement between the UK, the Crown Dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man) and Ireland that pre-dates both British and Irish membership of the EU and is not dependent on it.

Under the CTA, British and Irish citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.

The UK and Irish governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in May 2019 reaffirming our commitment to maintain the CTA, and the associated rights and privileges, in all circumstances. On signing the MoU, both governments released a Joint Statement.

Published 22 February 2019
Last updated 23 December 2022 + show all updates
  1. Amendment to section 5 in the attachment, on Accessing healthcare in the Common Travel Area: eligible cross-border workers and those exporting a state pension or exportable benefit may be able to have healthcare paid for.

  2. Updated information on use of ID cards to enter the UK if you're an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.

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

  4. Updated the section 'Irish Citizens and the EU Settlement Scheme' (EUSS). It now gives information on family members applying for status in the UK from 1 July 2021 onwards, which is after the end of the EUSS grace period.

  5. Added the use of Irish passport cards to travel from Ireland to the UK. Added guidance for family members from the EU, EEA or Switzerland on the use of national ID cards from 1 October 2021.

  6. Updated for end of EU transition.

  7. Updated to add guidance relating to the eligibility of Irish citizens to apply for permission to come to the UK from 1 January 2021, including S2 healthcare visitors, service providers from Switzerland, and frontier workers.

  8. First published.