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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/common-travel-area-guidance/common-travel-area-guidance
1. Travelling and residing in the CTA
If you are an Irish citizen living in the UK or a British citizen living in Ireland the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements allow you to travel freely within the CTA without seeking permission from the authorities.
British citizens in Ireland and Irish citizens in the UK have long held a special status under each country’s national law. If you are an Irish citizen in the UK, you are treated as if you have permanent immigration permission to remain in the UK. This is the same if you are a British citizen in Ireland: you do not need a visa, any form of residence permit or employment permit. Both Governments have committed to taking steps to ensure that this continues after the UK leaves the EU.
Other nationalities travelling within the CTA remain subject to national immigration requirements. Individuals arriving in the UK from Ireland should ensure they meet UK immigration requirements.
2. Working in the CTA
If you are a British or Irish citizen, you can work in either country, including on a self-employed basis, without needing any permission from the authorities.
In support of this, the UK Government is committed to ensuring that, after the UK leaves the EU, appropriate and comprehensive provisions continue to be in place for the recognition of professional qualifications obtained in Ireland. The Irish Government has also committed to working to ensure the provision of arrangements with the UK to recognise professional qualifications.
3. Accessing education in the CTA
If you are a British or Irish citizen you have the right to access all levels of education in either state on terms no less favourable than those available to the citizens of that state. Both Governments have committed to taking steps to ensure that this continues after the UK leaves the EU.
Both Governments have also committed to taking steps to ensure that British and Irish citizens pursuing further and higher education in the other state will continue to have the right to qualify for student loans and support under applicable schemes and eligibility conditions.
4. Accessing social security benefits in the CTA
If you are a British or Irish citizen residing or working in the other’s state, working in both states or working across the border you are subject to only one state’s social security legislation at a time. You can access social security benefits and entitlements, including pensions, from whichever state you are subject to the social security legislation of, regardless of where you are living.
When working in the CTA, you pay into only one state’s social security scheme at a time and are entitled, when in the other state, to the same social security rights, and are subject to the same obligations, as citizens of that state.
You also have the right to access social security benefits on the same basis as citizens of the state you are in. The UK and Irish Governments have concluded a bilateral agreement to ensure that these rights will continue to be protected after the UK leaves the EU. Further information about that agreement can be found here.
5. Accessing health care in the CTA
If you are a British or Irish citizen you have the right to access health care in either state. When visiting you also have the right to access needs-arising health care during your stay. Both Governments have committed to taking steps to ensure that this will continue after the UK leaves the EU.
6. Accessing social housing support in the CTA
If you are a British or Irish citizen residing in the other state you have the right to access social housing, including supported housing and homeless assistance, on the same basis as citizens of that state. Both Governments have committed to taking steps to ensure that this will continue after the UK leaves the EU.
7. Voting rights in the CTA
If you are a British or Irish citizen living in the other state you are entitled to register to vote with the relevant authorities for local and national parliamentary elections in that state on the same basis as citizens of that state. Upon reaching voting age, you are entitled to vote in those elections on the same basis as citizens of that state. Both Governments have committed to ensuring that these arrangements will continue after the UK leaves the EU.
More detailed guidance on elections in the UK can be found here.
8. a. Irish citizens and the EU Settlement Scheme
If you are an Irish citizen in the UK you do not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme but you may do so if you wish.
You do not need to do anything to protect your status in the UK, either before or after the UK leaves the EU. You will continue to be able to enter and reside in the UK and to enjoy your existing rights as provided for by the CTA arrangements.
If you are an Irish citizen and want to support an application from existing non-Irish and non-UK family members who want to remain in the UK with you, or who wish to join you in the future, you will need to be able to prove that you were resident in the UK prior to 31 December 2020. There will be many ways to do this without you applying to the Settlement Scheme, but a grant of status under the Scheme would constitute such evidence.
8. b. Irish citizens with non-Irish/non-British family members
The arrangements for existing close family members (who are not Irish citizens or British citizens) to remain in the UK with, or join EU citizens resident in the UK in future, are not provided for by the CTA arrangements but rather under the draft Withdrawal Agreement.
Non-Irish and non-British citizen family members of Irish citizens who wish to remain in the UK with, or join an Irish citizen in the UK in future, will be required to apply for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The Scheme allows eligible family members to obtain a status even where the Irish citizen has chosen not to do so. In those circumstances, the family member simply needs to provide evidence of the Irish citizen’s identity and nationality, of their relationship to the Irish citizen and of their continuous residence in the UK.
If you are an Irish citizen and choose to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the application process is the same as for any other EU citizen applicant.
If you do not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme you will still be able to draw on the protection of the draft Withdrawal Agreement to be joined in the UK by close family members of another nationality. You might wish to consider retaining documents such as payslips, bank statements, utility bills, tenancy agreements or other dated documents which display your UK address, as these are the types of evidence that will be required in support of a future application to be joined by a close family member.
Further information on the EU Settlement Scheme and how to make an application can be found here.