Guidance

Living in Ireland

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

This guide sets out essential information for UK nationals moving to or living in Ireland. Read about how our embassy in Dublin can help.

This information is provided as a guide only. You should get definitive information from the Irish authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

To stay up to date:

Coronavirus

Follow the advice of the Irish government and your local authority. You should also read the Ireland travel advice.

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in Ireland, read our coronavirus travel advice.

Visas and residency

UK nationals do not need a visa or residency permit to live, work or study in Ireland. Within the Common Travel Area (CTA), British 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 guidance on the CTA.

If you are planning to move to Ireland:

If you were living in Ireland before 1 January 2021

If you were living in Ireland before 1 January 2021, you can apply for a Withdrawal Agreement Benefit card.

Your non-EEA family members must replace their current valid Irish Residence Permit with a Withdrawal Agreement Benefit card by 30 June 2022.

Passports and travel

Coronavirus travel advice may affect travel to and from Ireland.

The CTA allows you to travel freely between the UK and Ireland.

Check the Ireland travel advice for passport validity requirements. You can apply for or renew your British passport from Ireland.

To travel from Ireland to other EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, check visiting the EU and each country’s travel advice page for further information.

Healthcare

Read our guidance on how to access healthcare in Ireland.

Under the CTA, if you live in Ireland you can access healthcare there. If visiting, you also have the right to access medically necessary healthcare.

Paying for 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.

Read the Citizens Information guidance on how to apply for medical and GP cards and what these entitle you to.

You can also take out private health insurance. Travel insurance is not intended to cover healthcare costs if you live overseas.

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Ireland and get an exportable UK State Pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit. You usually need to show 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.

View a list of hospitals and doctors in Ireland.

Read the guidance if you need to travel with medicines.

Working in Ireland

Under the CTA, you do not need a visa or residency permit to live, work or study in Ireland. Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check. You can also get a police certificate from the Gardaí.

Read the guidance on working or providing services in Ireland and the Citizens Information guidance on employment.

If you were living in Ireland before 1 January 2021

If you live in Ireland and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or European Free Trade Area (EFTA) country before 1 January 2021, read our guidance for frontier workers.

Professional qualifications

You may need to get your professional qualification recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in Ireland.

Read guidance on:

Read the Irish Citizens Information guidance on the recognition of professional qualifications

If you were living in Ireland before 1 January 2021

If the relevant regulator in Ireland officially recognised your professional qualification before 1 January 2021, or you started the recognition process by this date, make sure you understand the terms of your decision. You should get advice from the relevant regulator.

Studying in Ireland

Under the CTA you do not need a visa or residency permit to study in Ireland.

Read guidance on:

Tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Ireland to ensure you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

You should get professional advice on paying tax in Ireland.

Read the Citizens Information tax guidance and the Irish Tax and Customs guidance on tax in Ireland.

Read further guidance on:

National insurance and social security contributions

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 country’s social security legislation at a time. This means you only pay social security contributions into one country’s scheme at a time.

You can request proof from HMRC of the time you’ve worked in the UK and your UK National Insurance record.

National insurance-type contributions(NIC) are called ‘social security contributions’ in Ireland.

Read guidance on:

Benefits

You can access social security benefits from whichever country you are subject to the social security legislation of, regardless of where you live. You have the right to access social security benefits on the same basis as citizens of the country you are in.

UK benefits

Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

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

Irish benefits

The UK and Irish governments have a bilateral agreement to protect social security rights, including access to social security benefits and entitlements.

The criteria to claim certain Irish social security benefits differ from those in the UK. If you meet Ireland’s 5 requirements for determining habitual residence, you may be eligible to claim some Irish social security benefits.

Read the Irish Department of Social Protection’s guidance on determining habitual residence and the Citizens’ Information guidance on Irish social welfare payments.

Pensions

The UK and Irish governments have a bilateral agreement to protect social security rights, including access to pensions. Your UK State Pension can be paid in Ireland, including any upratings.

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Ireland.

Read State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand and you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.

If you live or work in Ireland, work in both the UK and Ireland, or work across the border, you are subject to only 1 country’s social security legislation at a time. This means you can access your pension from whichever country you are subject to the social security legislation of, regardless of where you live.

If you retire in Ireland, you can claim:

Read the Money and Pension Service’s MoneyHelper guidance on pension and retirement for more information on cross-border pensions.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you must respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you do not.

Money and banking

UK bank cards are widely accepted for transactions in Ireland. Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA depends on local laws and regulation.

Read the Money and Pension service’s MoneyHelper guidance on banking, insurance and financial services for more information on cross-border banking.

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on buying a property abroad.

For information on housing in Ireland, including renting and owning a home, read the Citizens Information on housing.

Driving in Ireland

You cannot renew or replace your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence if you live in Ireland.

Read the guidance on what you must do to drive legally in Ireland:

If you are visiting Ireland, you can drive with your valid UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man driving licence.

Exchanging your UK driving licence

If you live in Ireland and have a UK or Northern Ireland licence, you must exchange your licence for an Irish one. UK and Northern Ireland licences are not legal for driving in Ireland. You do not need to take a driving test to exchange your licence. Read the Irish government’s guidance on UK driving licences.

You cannot use an International Driving Permit (IDP) instead of exchanging your licence.

Exchanging your Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence

The UK and Ireland are currently negotiating long-term arrangements for exchanging these licences without the need to take a test. Sign up for email alerts, to get notified when we update this page.

Disabled drivers

If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in Ireland, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority. You can apply for a new Irish disabled parking card.

Read the EU guidance on the EU parking card for people with disabilities.

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Ireland

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

Driving outside Ireland with an Irish licence

You can use your Irish licence when visiting the UK. Keep up-to-date with the UK Highway Code.

If you go to live in the UK, you can exchange your Irish licence for a UK one without taking a test.

To drive in another country, in addition to your Irish licence you may need to apply for an IDP.

Read the EU guidance on:

Voting

If you are old enough to vote, 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, marriage and civil partnerships

If your child is born in Ireland, you can register the birth with the UK authorities in addition to registering locally. If your child has British nationality, you do not need to register the birth with the UK authorities to apply for a British passport.

If someone dies in Ireland read guidance on:

Find out how you can get married or get a civil partnership abroad.

You may also need to find a lawyer in Ireland.

Pets

If you have a pet passport issued by Ireland or another EU country, you can use it to travel with your pet to Great Britain, Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the EU. Ensure that your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up-to-date before you travel. Vets in Great Britain cannot enter rabies vaccination details in non-UK issued pet passports.

A GB-issued EU pet passport is not valid for travel to the EU or Northern Ireland. Speak to your vet before you travel to get the necessary pet travel documents and ensure you comply with EU pet travel regulations.

If you enter Ireland from a non-EU country, you must complete an advance notice form stating your intention to bring your pet into Ireland. You must send the form to the Irish authorities at least 1 working day before you travel. You must also arrange in advance to have a compliance check carried out on arrival. You must not leave the airport or port before compliance checks are carried out.

Read:

Before you travel, check the rules for the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements.

Emergencies

Dial the European emergency number 112 in Ireland for the police, ambulance or fire brigade, and 116 000 for reporting missing children; or dial the national emergency number on 999.

Find a list of Irish security and emergency services.

If you need guidance on child abduction, read the guidance on international parental child abduction, the EU guidance on child abduction and EU guidance on child abduction to another EU country.

If you are the victim of a crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis, contact the British Embassy Dublin.

Returning to the UK

Check the COVID-19 travel guidance for entering the UK.

Tell the Irish and UK authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

Read the Citizens Information guidance on leaving Ireland.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

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

Useful Information

Support for British nationals abroad: a guide sets out how to stay safe abroad, and explains how the FCDO can support you if you get into difficulty.

Published 14 May 2013
Last updated 22 December 2021 + show all updates
  1. Extension for non-EEA family members of UK nationals residing in Ireland before 30 June 2022 to apply for a residence document under the Withdrawal Agreement (https://www.irishimmigration.ie/extension-of-date-for-non-eea-family-members-of-uk-nationals-residing-in-ireland-before-the-end-of-the-transition-period-on-31-december-2020-to-apply-for-a-residence-document-under-the-withdrawal-agre/).

  2. Guide reviewed and updated with new information, including in the sections on driving and pets.

  3. Coronavirus section updated with a link to guidance on vaccines

  4. Updated as the transition period ends

  5. Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021

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

  7. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  19. 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.

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

  21. First published.