Note on the Common Travel Area

The High Court has recently stated that only UK nationals and Irish citizens may avail of the reduced border restrictions of the Common Travel Are. In practice this means that non-nationals travelling between Ireland and the UK, including the North of Ireland, may face difficulties returning to the South of Ireland

Often a person’s right to remain in Ireland is conditional upon that person remaining within the State. This may become an issue where a person unwittingly crosses the border to the North of Ireland. On return to the South the person may be required to re-apply for permission to land or be in the State.

The case involved a Bolivian couple who had travelled to the North of Ireland onwards to Scotland and then to London. They had been given permission to remain in Ireland for one month from their first arrival in Dublin

The Court noted that there appears to be a common misconception that foreign nationals could also benefit from the Common Travel Area, which, according to the court, not the case. The couple were stopped by the UK authorities in Scotland and sought to deport them, they asked the Irish authorities whether they were entitled to re-enter Ireland which the Irish authorities said they were not.

The Court noted that the couple had probably made an innocent mistake.

About the author: Pádraig Murray