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Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland

I've been searching everywhere trying to figure this out so maybe someone here can help.

Husband and I (fully vaccinated Americans) arrive in Dublin from the US on September 14th. We'll be touring around the Republic of Ireland for 12 days by car and then we'll drive across the border into Northern Ireland on September 26. We'll spend two nights in a hotel in Belfast and then drive back into the Republic of Ireland on September 28th and then fly back home from Dublin on the 30th.

The government info that I'm reading seem to say that if we haven't been out of the Common Travel Area (CTA), which includes United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands within the last 10 days we don't need to do any testing or anything. Since we'll already have been in the CTA for 12 days before we cross into NI, I think we'll be good to go, but opinions seem to vary on whether the CTA thing applies to people who aren't citizens of the CTA.

Anyone have any insight on this? I've read all the government info and I'm still not sure.

Posted by
1853 posts

As you appear to have discovered the arrangements of the CTA only apply to its member citizens. For example, Irish citizens living in the UK or British citizens living in Ireland can travel freely within the Common Travel Area (CTA).

Other nationalities travelling within the CTA remain subject to national immigration requirements. How might this affect US citizens? One example is if you enter the CTA at an Irish airport you get permission to stay for up to 90 days. At a UK airport, you can get permission to stay for up to 6 months. That can catch out visitors; getting a cheap flight across the Atlantic to Dublin thinking they can then stay in London for six months, but they’re stuck with a 90-day Irish visa. But I digress.

It’s an open border between the Republic and the North so you will simply drive across. Nothing to notice other than the change from kilometres to miles on the road signs. As long as you comply with Dublin’s entry requirements you have nothing to be concerned about when travelling with the CTA. Even though the CTA doesn't apply to foreign nationals you still get many of its benefits in practice.

Posted by
1 posts

Question to the poster who replied here that the length of stay in the CTA is determined by the country into which you fly, regardless of their respective length of stay guidelines? I'm planning to spend 3-5 months in Ireland / UK next summer / fall. Was under the impression that I could fly into Ireland, spend up to 90 days there, and then 'reset' the clock, so to speak by jaunts over to Scotland and England. Is that NOT the case?

Attending my daughter's med school graduation in Cork on May 27, but have obligations at home that prevent me from leaving until just a couple of days before then, so was hoping to fly fairly direct (Dublin / Cork) to get there quickly for the big event and then begin my sabbatical. Needing to fly into a UK airport first and then travel to Cork would present a bit of a time crunch. Guidance appreciated!


Posted by
1853 posts

Cat – when you enter Ireland you’ll get 90 days. There are no passport controls from the Republic of Ireland to the UK so jaunts to Scotland etc will not be recognised as entering the UK. (There may be passport checks from the UK for non-CTA citizens travelling from the UK to Ireland - not 100% sure on this).

If you want to stay for 3+ months you’ll need to enter the UK from a third country e.g. take a cheap flight to France, and from there enter the UK. Or enter the UK in the first instance rather than Ireland.

Trust this helps.

Posted by
552 posts

Kelly.Cat: If I remember correctly, when I (US citizen) flew from Dublin to Glasgow I did not go through passport control. However, when I flew from Glasgow to Dublin I did. When I had entered Ireland initially (from the US) and was asked how long I would be in Ireland and I explained I would be going to Scotland then returning to Ireland for one night before returning to the US the immigration official told me that I should make sure I explain that when I reentered Ireland.

I suggest you start a new thread for your question. It is sufficiently different from the title of this thread that those who may be able to answer your question more specifically may not respond to it.

Posted by
98 posts

no flying from the Republic of Ireland to Scotland back does not reset the clock, the Republic of Ireland is part of the common travel area made up of

*United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (England Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland)

*Ireland (aka theRepublic of Ireland

*Isle of Man

*Channel Islands

so travelling to Scotland and back wont reset the clock so to speak you will have to leave the Common Travel (say fly to Amsterdam or somewhere outside the CTA )