Ireland/United Kingdom - Treaty Consolidates Existing Reciprocal Citizens’ Rights

At a Glance

Ireland and the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding consolidating reciprocal citizens’ rights in the Common Travel Area between the two countries into a single instrument. This memorandum enshrines the current policy that Irish and UK nationals do not require work and residence permits in each others’ countries. 

The situation

Ireland and the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, consolidating reciprocal citizens’ rights in the Common Travel Area (CTA) between the two countries into a single instrument.

A closer look

The CTA offers the following benefits to Irish nationals travelling to the United Kingdom and vice versa:

  • Travel rights. Although there are no passport requirements for Irish and British nationals travelling within the CTA, air and sea carriers require some form of identification and some carriers regard a passport as the only valid identification.
  • Residence rights. The CTA allows UK and Irish nationals to reside freely in either jurisdiction.
  • Work rights. Irish nationals can work freely in the United Kingdom and vice versa.
  • Access to benefits. Nationals of both countries have access to social security benefits and health services, and the right to vote in local and national parliamentary elections in each others’ countries.

Impact

This memorandum enshrines the current policy that Irish and UK nationals do not require work and residence permits in each others’ countries. 

Background

The above-mentioned CTA rights were previously accepted in both Ireland and the United Kingdom based on historical interpretations of a range of legislative instruments and bilateral agreements but were not officially memorialized.

Looking ahead

In light of the CTA, Ireland offers unique opportunities to employers seeking to minimize business disruptions related to Brexit.

Many EU countries have published contingency plans for UK nationals in case of a no-deal Brexit, with more expected soon. Fragomen will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

Please contact a Fragomen immigration professional for assistance in planning contingency arrangements in a single project. For more information, please visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

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