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Living and Working

Published: 31 January 2020
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, after the transition period ends, there may be changes that will affect citizens living both here and in the UK.

However, due to the Common Travel Area (CTA), there are also a number of important areas, such as access to social welfare, where citizens can be assured there will be no change. The Common Travel Area allows Irish and British citizens to 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 Memorandum of Understanding on 8 May 2019, reaffirming their commitment to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances. Post-Brexit, 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.

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.

After the transition period, 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 journeys on the island of Ireland, British and Irish citizens do not require any travel documents when crossing the land border.

Non EEA nationals should be in possession of a valid travel document and, if required, an Irish entry visa or transit visa for the State.

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.

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.

Access to social housing

The CTA affords Irish citizens residing in the UK, and British citizens residing in Ireland, the right to access social housing including supported housing and homeless assistance, in each other’s state, on the same basis as citizens of that state.

Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020, both Irish citizens in the UK and British citizens in Ireland continue to enjoy these rights.


Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit each other's jurisdictions will continue to have the right to access healthcare there. 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.

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 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

UK, including Northern Ireland, licences continue to be valid when driving in Ireland during the transition period.

If you will be resident in Ireland after the transition period, and hold a British or Northern Ireland driving licence, you should apply to exchange this for an Irish issued licence before the end of the transition period. Contact the National Driver Licence Service for more information.

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 has advised that arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living there will not change after the UK leaves the EU. Therefore, visitors to the UK and Northern Ireland with driving licences from EU Member States, including Ireland, should enjoy the same arrangements as today.

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