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Customs between Ireland and Scotland?

You guys I can't find a clear answer on this and I'm a little confused with how brexit maybe effects this? We are flying from Dublin to Edinburgh on September 1st. Will be have to go through customs again? We will be driving from Limerick that morning so I am looking for later flight options and if we're going to have to go through customs again we will definitely book a later flight. Thanks everyone!

Posted by
3017 posts

Brexit is still in the planning & negotiating stages, so if you mean September of this year, there should not be any Brexit-related changes in procedure.

I have flown between Scotland and Ireland 4 times in the past two years and I don't remember having to clear customs per se. There is a full-on security check, as in any airport nowadays, and passport control since you are changing countries. Dublin airport is large and busy, so it is wise to allow extra time to drop off your rental car etc. If you're on Ryanair (the Aer Lingus partner), be aware that you'll ride a shuttle bus to go across the tarmac from the terminal to the plane. You have to show your boarding pass to get on the bus, then again to board the plane.

If you're inquiring about whether you'd have to go through the equivalent of "USA Pre-Clearance" to depart Dublin for Edinburgh, no, you don't have to do that.

Posted by
2288 posts

Customs is for goods not people. There are no customs controls between member states of the European Union. Brexit has not happened and is irrelevant.

Both Ireland and the UK are within the Common Travel Area, which means there is free movement of people without border controls.

You will still need to go through security in Dublin.

Posted by
36 posts

Thanks for the clear information I appreciate it! Very helpful in this time.

Posted by
4932 posts

Ireland and the UK view the CTA somewhat differently, but in this case there will be no immigration formalities landing at Edinburgh. However, you will only be granted 3 months entry to Ireland and this won't be extended by using this as an entry into the UK, but from past details this is not relevant to you as your overall trip is shorter than this.

Posted by
8889 posts

Taylor, I suspect you are making the mistake that many do, of conflating customs and immigration, they are two totally different things.

  • Customs is for goods. You never go through customs, but your luggage does.
  • Immigration (aka passport control) is for people.
  • At airports these are two separate processes, and depending on which border you cross, you may go through one, the other or both.

But, customs never takes any time, you just walk through the green "nothing to declare" door. It is immigration that can take time.

(the above should be on everybody's "what first time travellers need to know list").

With respect to the UK Ireland situation:

  • The UK and Ireland are both in the EU, so there is no customs between the UK and Ireland
  • The UK and Ireland have a "common travel area", so no formal passport checks, but you will still need to show your passport as ID at airport check-in and at security.

The above is the current situation, Brexit hasn't happened yet. What happens after Brexit is still undecided, and the subject of much political argument.
If you want more background on the Irish border, see this excellent report:

Posted by
36 posts

Great info Chris. Definitely mixed the idea of customs and immigration. When we traveled between countries 2 years ago it seemed like a breeze. I guess I was unclear about Scotland and Ireland's relationship as far as being common travel! Thanks so much.

Posted by
631 posts

I'm a little confused with how brexit maybe effects this? - don't worry, everybody else is as as well, even the UK Government.

The only thing we can say with any certainty is the important date isn't until March 2019.

Travel between UK and the Republic of Ireland by air is not much different than internal flights within UK. The law doesn't actually require UK or Irish citizens to carry a passport on these flights. In practise Ryanair will only accept passports from us for the standard air travel security check but Aer Lingus will take senior citizens bus passes amongst a long list of things!!

Posted by
3017 posts

Have flown Ryanair 4 times, no problems. Our only concern the first time was that we didn't know about the shuttle bus transporting you across the tarmac between the terminal and the plane. It makes you nervous "where are they taking us???" but it is apparently because their terminal lounge/waiting area is a long distance from their "parking space" for the plane on the tarmac.

Posted by
12607 posts

It's amazing how our British friends here forget the common area is for British and Irish only.

When you fly from Ireland to the UK, upon arrival, there is no passport check in the UK. This includes U.S. and Canadian citizens.

However, for future reference, if you fly the opposite way, from the UK to Ireland, and are not a citizen of either Ireland or the UK, you will go through passport control. (I've taken flights both ways numerous times and this is what happens.)

This is done after your arrival, not before departure. (Except in Ireland when departing for the U.S.)

Airport security, however, is before all flights. It has very little to do with your destination.

Ryanair is not a "partner" of Aer Lingus. They are competitors.