The Common Travel Area
Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), Irish and British citizens move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and entitlements including access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits, and the right to vote in certain elections.
The Common Travel Area pre-dates Irish and UK membership of the EU and is not dependent on it. The Government of Ireland and the UK Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, reaffirming their commitment to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances. On the date of the signing, both Governments also issued a Joint Statement.
Neither Irish citizens in the UK, nor British citizens in Ireland, are required to take any action to protect their status and rights associated with the CTA. Irish citizens in the UK and British citizens in Ireland continue to enjoy these rights following the UK’s departure from the EU on 31 January 2020.
Through the Memorandum of Understanding, both Governments have committed to undertaking all the work necessary, including through legislative provision, to ensure that the agreed CTA rights and privileges are protected.
The CTA was recognised throughout the EU-UK negotiations and there is agreement in the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (which is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement) that Ireland and the UK may “continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories”.