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Publication

Travelling and Visiting

Last updated: 17 April 2019
Published: 27 February 2019
From: Department of the Taoiseach

There is a very high volume of travel between Ireland and the UK, from tourists and people visiting friends and family to people commuting for work. Post-Brexit, this will be largely unaffected. However, as the UK will be leaving the EU and the Single Market, there may be some considerations around passports, driving licences, and visas for third country nationals. Please see information on travelling between Ireland and the UK post-Brexit below.

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.

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.

Avoiding the return of a hard border on this island is a Government priority in all circumstances. The best way to achieve that is in the negotiated EU-UK withdrawal agreement. Without that agreement, avoiding a hard border will be more challenging and will require detailed discussions between Ireland and the EU and, ultimately, with the UK. In that scenario the outcome, including practical arrangements for businesses, especially those in the border area and those trading across the border, will be made public as soon as possible.

The EU Commission has also produced a useful factsheet in relation to travelling to and from the UK post-Brexit in a no deal scenario.

Flying

Flights to and from the UK

All direct flights between Ireland and the UK will still be able to operate post-Brexit. We do not expect any extra delays to flights as a result of Brexit. If you have booked a flight directly to or from the UK, you do not need to take any action.

Your passenger rights

The EU currently has rules in place which protect passengers in the case of delays or cancellations to their flights. These rights will continue after Brexit, but if you are flying with a non-EU airline, you will only be covered on flights from the EU to the UK, not on flights from the UK to an EU airport.

Transiting via the UK

If you are travelling via the UK to an onward destination, either within the EU or to a third country, we do not envisage any additional security checks.

Ferries

Travelling to and from the UK

All direct ferry services to and from Ireland to the UK will still be able to operate post-Brexit. If you have booked a ferry to or from the UK, you do not need to take any action and can travel as before. You should also read the information, above, in relation to passport checks.

If your journey starts or finishes in an EU port you will continue to benefit from EU passenger rights.

Cross border public transport services

The Government is working to minimise any disruption to cross-border bus and rail transport services. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

Driving

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, immediately 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. Ireland is pursuing this option, however it may take a little time to complete as it involves the signing of a formal agreement with the UK and the introduction of secondary legislation here in Ireland.

In a no deal scenario and without such an agreement, this would mean that if you are resident in Ireland and have not exchanged your UK driving licence before the UK leaves the EU, you will need to apply for an Irish licence. Currently this involves completing a theory test, a course of driver training and passing a driving test.

Visiting Ireland on a UK licence: You will be able to drive on a driving licence from the UK for up to one year provided the driving licence is current and valid.

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.

International driving permits

Drivers from the UK visiting Ireland will not be required to carry an International Driving Permit in order to drive here.

Insurance cover

The vast majority of Irish motor insurance policies cover driving in the UK, as they refer to the UK specifically. A small number of policies may refer to travelling ‘in the EU’ rather than explicitly referring to the UK.

If you are in doubt, you should contact your insurance company to confirm that you have UK cover.

Proof of insurance (Green Cards)

At present, all motor vehicles from any EU country, including the UK, may travel within the EU without carrying special documentation to prove they have insurance in the country they are visiting. This will change when the UK leaves the EU.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) and the Association of British Insurers have advised those planning on driving Irish-registered vehicles in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, post-Brexit to get a Green Card from their insurance company.

Green Cards are internationally recognised insurance documents, which act as proof of motor insurance when travelling internationally. Drivers travelling from Northern Ireland or Great Britain to Ireland will also be required to carry a Green Card.

MIBI, the body responsible for the Green Card system in Ireland, has circulated approximately 1 million Green Cards to insurers and brokers. All insurers are now issuing Green Cards on request from their customers, with some insurers automatically issuing Green Cards to those living in border Counties. A number of insurers are issuing Green Cards to all policyholders.

If you intend to drive in Northern Ireland or Great Britain after Brexit and have not already received a Green Card, you should contact your insurance company to obtain one before you travel.

Mobile phones & roaming

In the event of no deal, mobile operators would no longer be legally required to offer roaming at no additional charge to customers travelling to the UK when they exit the EU. That is a commercial decision for mobile operators.

However, a no deal Brexit does not mean that mobile operators will necessarily apply new charges and the three main mobile providers here have indicated that there will be no changes to the current roaming arrangements for their customers. Either way, all operators must make customers well aware of any roaming charges they could incur, if and when, they use mobile devices in the UK. If you have any concerns, you should contact your provider directly.

ComReg, the independent telecoms regulator, will continue to ensure that all providers meet relevant obligations in areas such as roaming alerts. ComReg also has information for customers in relation to roaming on their website, including tips on how to avoid inadvertent roaming.

Travelling with pets

After the UK leaves the EU, rules for pet travel between Ireland and the UK will change.

You should contact your vet as soon as possible before your travel date to start making the necessary arrangements in good time.

The UK Government has indicated that pet travel rules for entry into the UK may not change for some time after Brexit, but you must check with the UK authorities for the latest information.

This notice only concerns pet dogs, cats and ferrets travelling between Ireland and Great Britain.

The EU Commission's factsheet on travelling between the EU and the UK post-Brexit in a no deal scenario also provides detail on this topic.

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