Guidance

Living in Ireland

Official information for UK nationals moving to and living in Ireland, including guidance on residency, healthcare and driving.

What you must do

You must:

Coronavirus

You should follow the advice of the Irish Government and your local authority. You can also read our Ireland travel advice for our latest guidance.

Stay up to date

You should:

You can also:

Visas and residency

UK citizens do not need a visa or residency permit to live, work or study in Ireland. Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), UK and Irish citizens can live and work freely in each other’s countries and travel freely between them. Both the UK and Irish governments are committed to protecting the CTA. Read our guidance on the CTA.

Ireland’s Citizens Information service has advice about moving to and living in Ireland.

You must tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has advice on the requirements for non-EU/EEA family members of UK citizens.

Passports and travel

Your travel rights for Ireland are preserved under the Common Travel Area. There will be no changes to the rules on travel between the UK and Ireland after the end of the transition period.

The rules on travel within the rest of the EU will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport.

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Ireland.

Passports from 1 January 2021

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip.

From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including the UK).

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may need to show a return or onward ticket and that you have enough money for your stay. You may also have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped for visits to these countries.

Entry requirements

From 1 January 2021, you will be able to travel to Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This is a rolling 180-day period.

To stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel, you will need to meet the entry requirements set out by the country to which you are travelling. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit. You may also need to get a visa if your visit would take you over the 90 days in 180 days limit.

Periods of stay authorised under a visa or permit will not count against the 90-day limit. Travel to the UK will not change.

Different rules will apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen Area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

Healthcare

Read our travel advice for Ireland.

Under the CTA, UK citizens who live in Ireland have the right to access healthcare in Ireland. When visiting, UK citizens also have the right to access needs-arising healthcare.

You may need to pay a fee to access public healthcare in Ireland on the same basis as Irish citizens. However, you may be eligible for a means tested medical card. If you do not qualify for a medical card on income grounds, you may qualify for a GP Visit card. Find information on Medical and GP Visit Cards.

You can also take out private health insurance.

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Ireland and get an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit. You will usually be asked to produce some evidence of your entitlement to healthcare in Ireland, such as proof of property rental or ownership. If eligible, you’ll need a medical card that entitles you to receive certain health services free of charge.

Find a list of hospitals and doctors in Ireland.

You must check if your prescriptions are legal in Ireland.

If you are visiting Ireland, you should take out comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

If you need emergency medical assistance, dial 999 or 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment, contact your insurance and/or medical assistance company immediately.

Working in Ireland

Under the CTA, UK citizens do not need a visa or residency permit to live, work or study in Ireland. Both the UK and Irish governments are committed to protecting the CTA.

Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check. You can also get a police certificate from the Gardaí.

Read the Irish government’s Citizens Information on employment.

Professional Qualifications

UK professionals planning to practice regulated professions in Ireland should check recognition of their professional qualifications before the implementation period ends on 31 December 2020.

If you have already been recognised by an EU country as holding valid professional qualifications, this will remain valid.

If you have not had your professional qualifications recognised, you can submit an application under the current rules until 31 December 2020.

For help with this:

Money and tax

UK bank cards are widely accepted for transactions in Ireland.

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Ireland.

Citizens Information and Revenue.ie have more information about tax in Ireland.

National Insurance

The UK and Irish governments have a bilateral agreement to ensure that social security rights, including existing arrangements for social insurance contributions, will continue to be protected now the UK has left the EU.

Pensions

You must tell the UK government offices that deal with your pension if you are moving or retiring abroad.

If you are a UK national living in or working in Ireland, working in both the UK and Ireland, or working across the border, you are subject to only one state’s social security legislation at a time. This means you can access your pension from whichever state you are subject to the social security legislation of, regardless of where you are living.

See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

If you have worked in Ireland, you can apply to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. If you have not worked in Ireland, you can claim your UK State Pension by contacting the International Pension Centre. If you have worked in several EU countries, see state pensions abroad.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you are getting a UK State Pension and receive a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you do not.

The UK and Irish governments have a bilateral agreement to ensure social security rights, including access to pensions. This agreement means that there will be no change to the payment of your UK State Pension in Ireland. UK State Pensions will continue to be paid as before 31 January 2020, including upratings.

Benefits

If you are living in or working in Ireland, working in both the UK and Ireland, or working across the border, you are subject to only one state’s social security legislation at a time. This means you can access social security benefits from whichever state you are subject to the social security legislation of, regardless of where you are living.

You also have the right to access social security benefits on the same basis as citizens of the state you are in.

Read our guidance on;

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

Irish benefits

The criteria to claim certain Irish social security benefits differ from those in the UK. If you meet Ireland’s five requirements for determining habitual residence then you may be eligible to claim some Irish social security benefits.

Read the Irish Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection guidance and the Irish government’s guidance on Irish social welfare payments.

The UK and Irish governments have a bilateral agreement to ensure that social security rights, including access to social security benefits and entitlements, will continue to be protected now the UK has left the EU.

Driving in Ireland

If you live in Ireland, you should exchange your UK driving licence for an Irish one before the 31 December 2020.

The rules for exchanging a UK licence will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

If you are visiting Ireland, you can drive with your existing UK driving licence.

Read the Irish government’s guidance on driving licences and FAQ’s.

See driving abroad and Irish guidance on British driving licences.

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Ireland

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Pets

Current pet travel rules for taking your pet to Europe and Northern Ireland will stay the same.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you must visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Read our guidance on pet travel to NI and Europe from 1 January 2021.

If you are travelling to Great Britain with your pet after the 31 December 2020 and are planning on re-entering Ireland afterwards, you should contact your vet to make sure your animal has all the health and documentary preparation it needs.

Read our guidance on bringing your pet to Great Britain.

The Irish government has also published information on pet travel.

Voting

Upon reaching voting age you can register with the relevant authorities to vote in local and national parliamentary elections.

Read the Irish government’s guidance on voting and how to register.

You cannot vote in European parliamentary elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in Ireland, you will need to register a birth abroad.

If someone dies in Ireland you can:

Find out how to get married abroad.

You may also need to find a lawyer in Ireland.

Emergencies

You can dial the European emergency number on 112, or the national emergency number on 999. Find a list of Irish security and emergency services.

If you are the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on buying a property abroad.

For information on housing in Ireland, including renting and owning a home, you can look at Citizens Information on housing.

Returning to the UK

Look at the Citizens Information on leaving Ireland.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Irish authorities. The FCDO will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 14 May 2013
Last updated 10 September 2020 + show all updates
  1. Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021

  2. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  3. Brexit update: new information about exchanging UK driving licences and motor insurance in the ´driving section.´ Updates in the ´visa and residency´ and ´working in Ireland´ section.

  4. EU Exit update: added information on travel in EU, EEA and EFTA countries in the event of a no deal exit.

  5. EU Exit update: added in new information in passports and travel and returning to the UK sections

  6. EU Exit update: updated information on EU Exit in healthcare, visas and residency, driving and working sections

  7. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.

  8. EU Exit update: updated the Common Travel Area guidance and advice on driving in Ireland

  9. EU Exit update: Updated information on passports. You must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip.

  10. EU Exit update: Latest message from the British Ambassador to Ireland on the Common Travel Area added to the EU Exit section

  11. EU Exit update - Updated information on access to healthcare

  12. EU exit update - updated information on pensions and passports

  13. EU Exit update: We have added information about the Common Travel Area under the Visas and Residency and Working in Ireland sections.

  14. EU exit update: Added in link to information about the Common Travel Area and citizens rights.

  15. EU Exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in pet section.

  16. All content has been revised to ensure it's accurate and up to date.

  17. First published.