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Living and Working

Published: 4 November 2019
From: Department of the Taoiseach

There are large numbers of Irish citizens living and working in the UK, and British citizens living and working in Ireland, and this will continue to be the case post-Brexit.

While the Irish and UK Governments are working to minimise any disruption for these citizens, when the UK leaves the EU there may be changes that will affect citizens living both here and in the UK.

There are also a number of important areas, such as access to social welfare, where citizens can be assured there will be no change. Post-Brexit, including in the event of no deal, Irish and British citizens will continue to enjoy the right to travel, live, and work, between the UK and Ireland in the same manner as before.

EU citizens living in Ireland will experience no change.

Travelling and visas

There are no requirements for passport controls in operation for Irish and British citizens travelling between Ireland and the UK and there will be no change to this as a result of Brexit. However, as regular passengers would be aware, all air and sea carriers require some form of identification and some carriers regard a passport as the only valid identification.

Immigration authorities may also require you to have valid official photo-identification, which shows your nationality.

Therefore, please check that your passport is valid and in date. For more information on passports, please see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Immigration requirements, as appropriate, will continue to apply to non-EU and non-UK citizens. For further information, please see the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website.

Post-Brexit, there may be longer customs checks at airports and ports when travelling between Ireland and the UK. This will become clearer closer to the date of exit. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

For further information on travelling and related matters, please see travelling and visiting.

Social welfare rights and entitlements

Post-Brexit, if you are an Irish citizen living in the UK, or a British citizen living in Ireland, your social welfare rights will not change even in the case of no deal.

You will continue to be entitled to avail of social assistance schemes, including pensions and child benefit payments in either jurisdiction, depending on where you are living.

This also includes social insurance entitlements where British and Irish citizens living in Ireland maintain the right to benefit from social insurance contributions made when working in the UK and to access social insurance payments if living in the UK and vice versa.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has further information on social welfare entitlements and answers to your queries on Brexit.


Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit the other state will continue to have the right to access healthcare there. This will apply regardless of whether there is a deal or not. Further information on health post-Brexit is available in the section on daily life and from the Department of Health .


After Brexit, Irish students will continue to be able to study and train in the UK and vice versa, including in a no deal scenario.

For further information on education and studying, including the recognition of professional qualifications, please see the studying section on this website.


Irish citizens resident in the UK, and British citizens resident in Ireland, have the right to vote in local and national parliamentary elections. This will continue to be the case post-Brexit.

Under EU law, only citizens of EU Member States have the right to vote in, or stand for, European Parliament elections. This means that when the UK leaves the EU, British citizens residing in Ireland will no longer have a right to vote in European Parliament elections in Ireland.

For more information on voting, check out Citizens Information and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government .

Driving licences

If you are resident in Ireland and hold a UK driving licence: If you hold a UK driving licence and are resident in Ireland, you should apply to exchange your UK licence for an Irish licence. In a no deal scenario, post-Brexit UK licences will not be valid for those who are resident in Ireland. You should contact the National Drivers Licence Service for further detail. The NDLS has also published some useful FAQs on its website .

In the case of non-EU or ‘third’ countries, legislation exists under our Road Traffic Acts to allow for the recognition of foreign driving licences for exchange purposes. If there is a no deal Brexit, the UK will become a third country, and arrangements can then be made for the exchange of UK driving licences.

However, this arrangement can only be made after the UK has left the EU. It also requires secondary legislation, resulting in an intermediary period where licences will be not recognised until the legislation is passed and enacted. This is why it is imperative that those holding a UK driver licence, who do not wish to have any impact on their ability to legally drive here, should exchange their licence now.

Visiting Ireland on a UK licence: UK visitors to Ireland are not affected, there is no reason that you will not be able to drive in Ireland for holidays with your existing driving licence. You should not be required to carry an International Driving Permit with you in order to drive here, just ensure to carry your UK driving licence with you.

Driving in the UK on an Irish licence: The UK Government’s stated position is that, post Brexit, arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK would not change. Visitors to the UK, with driving licences from EU Member States, will enjoy the same arrangements as today.

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