Common Travel Area

The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a long-standing arrangement between the UK, the Crown Dependencies (Jersey; Guernsey; Isle of Man) and Ireland. It has its origins in the 1920's and it is not reliant on membership of the European Union, as the CTA was created before either the UK or Ireland became EU members.

It means British or Irish citizens can travel freely within the CTA without seeking immigration permission from the authorities.

British citizens in Ireland and Irish citizens in the UK have associated rights and entitlements including access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits, as well as the right to vote in certain elections.

Protocol 20 to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU recognises the cooperation between members, confirming that the UK and Ireland can ‘continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories (the Common Travel Area)’. The Commission recently acknowledged that the CTA arrangements can continue, as confirmed in paragraph 54 of the Joint Report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom (2017).

The CTA arrangements also complement the provisions of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

After the UK leaves the EU, British citizens in Ireland or Irish citizens in the UK will therefore continue to have the reciprocal rights associated with the CTA. These rights include the right to work, study and vote, access to social welfare benefits and health services.

There will be no practical changes to the UK’s approach to immigration on journeys within the CTA: as now there would be no routine immigration controls on journeys from within the CTA to the UK. The legislation governing this approach will remain unchanged when the UK leaves the EU.

The UK government is firmly committed to maintaining the CTA arrangements after the UK leaves the EU.

You can find out more about the CTA and the rights of British and Irish citizens via the following link below:

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