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US Passport issue re flight from Chicago to London via Dublin

I am a US citizen who rented an apt in London for 180 days beginning August 1st. I flew from Chicago to London with a stopover in Dublin. I had to go thru passport control there and was told that since I was now in an EU country ( for 2 hours in the airport ) that my passport was only good for 90 days. They wouldn’t return or stamp my passport until I made flight reservations 90 days out. They did say I could come right back to London to complete the remaining 90 days. Question is - Can I just fly to Ireland for one day and get my passport stamped in London when I return? Or do I need to pick another country. I’m concerned about getting stuck for 14 days in quarantine in many EU countries and/or stuck in quarantine when I come back! Just finished my quarantine here in London. Any other ideas on getting this resolved????

Posted by
17881 posts

I want to be sure we all understand. Please confirm that the 90-day situation was laid out by Irish immigration officials in Dublin, not UK officials in Dublin (if there any--I've never been to Ireland) or London.

Posted by
4480 posts

Can I just fly to Ireland for one day and get my passport stamped in London when I return?

No. The U.K. and Ireland are part of a common travel area. Once you are admitted to the CTA, you can move freely between the UK and Ireland. Because you entered Ireland first, you were admitted under Ireland’s 90 day rule. If you had entered the U.K. from a country outside of the common travel area (e.g., France), you would have been admitted under UK rules.

You really need to check with the British Embassy or UK immigration officials. Below is some general info on the CTA.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/common-travel-area-guidance/common-travel-area-guidance

Posted by
1774 posts

The reason why you only get 90 days is that you entered the Common Travel Area (Ireland & UK) at Dublin, hence 90 days. If you’d entered the UK directly you may have got up to 6 months.

For the rest of your question, I think you’ll need to leave the Common Travel Area. If you fly to Ireland, then get straight back on a plane to the UK, there won’t be any passport control at the UK border. Go to France for the day and hope the UK lets you back in. As for quarantine in 90 days’ time who knows.

Anyway, I’m just a stranger on the internet.

Posted by
5528 posts

And I think, per the CDC website, the 14-day self-isolation requirement applies to anyone returning to the US from those places, regardless of your US citizenship or passport. returning travelers

Posted by
375 posts

Yes, unfortunately this is a known "issue" ("issue" in quotes because it's not really a problem, just a function of how the rules work) for "non-visa nationals" such as US citizens who arrive for short stays in the United Kingdom via (the Republic of) Ireland.

The only way to stay longer in the UK legally is to leave the Common Travel Area and re-apply for leave to enter. In your case, I would also try to do this via an exempt country so you are not subject to a self-isolation requirement upon returning to the UK.

Posted by
2640 posts

So the advice for the rest of us, if we're planning a >90 day stay in the UK, is to fly into an airport in the UK itself, is that right? Even if the flight costs a little more, it seems it would be well worth it. Or am I missing something?

Posted by
375 posts

So the advice for the rest of us, if we're planning a >90 day stay in the UK, is to fly into an airport in the UK itself, is that right?

If you plan to come to the UK for longer than 90 days fly directly there. Otherwise you’ll wind up like me

You do not have to fly directly to the UK from North America to avoid this 90-day problem as long as you do not fly via the Republic of Ireland.

In other words, you can do USA-Paris-London, USA-Reykjavik-London, USA-Amsterdam-London, USA-Toronto-London, etc. -- in all of these situations you will encounter UK immigration control upon landing in London and will (under normal circumstances) be granted the standard 180-day leave for US passport holders in the United Kingdom.

It's only if you do USA-Ireland-UK (e.g. JFK-Dublin-London or JFK-Shannon-London) that you run into this problem, because landing in the UK coming from Ireland, you do not have any encounter with British immigration.