UK: Changes to Common Travel Area (CTA) Arrangements

October 6, 2021

From 1 October 2021, nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals are subject to new identity documentation requirements when traveling to Great Britain from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) under Common Travel Area arrangements.

Common Travel Area (CTA)

The CTA is a historic arrangement between the UK, ROI and the Crown Dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man), permitting British and Irish citizens to move freely and live in all of those jurisdictions with the corresponding right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.

EEA Citizens Traveling to Great Britain from the Republic of Ireland

Irish nationals continue to enjoy the benefits of the above CTA arrangements, with the ongoing ability to enter Great Britain from the ROI free from routine immigration controls. However, they may be asked by UK Border Force to provide identity of their nationality by showing their Irish passport or other forms of acceptable proof of identity – the type of identity is not exhaustively defined, instead being handled on a case-by-case basis.

From 1 October 2021, all other EEA citizens and Swiss citizens entering GB from the ROI through the land border are not required to pass through immigration control. In theory, they are not required to show an identity document, however – as with Irish nationals – they can still be stopped by the UK Border Force and asked to produce an appropriate identity document.

EEA and Swiss nationals traveling to GB from the ROI should continue to carry with them either their passport (which should be valid for the whole of their stay) or their national identity card; these being the only acceptable forms of identity. However, from 1 October, an EEA or Swiss national identity card may only continue to be used (until at least 31 December 2025) if the holder:

  • has settled or pre-settled status under the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme, or the EU Settlement Schemes of Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man*
  • has an EU Settlement Scheme family permit, or the equivalent from Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man
  • has a Frontier Worker permit
  • is an S2 Healthcare Visitor
  • is a Swiss national and has a Service Provider from Switzerland visa

*The EEA or Swiss national may still use their national identity card if they have applied for settled or pre-settled status under the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme, or the EU Settlement Schemes of Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, received formal confirmation of a valid application, and are not applying as a joining family member.

The scope of this article is limited to recent changes impacting Irish and other EEA or Swiss nationals traveling to Great Britain from the ROI, however there are other long-standing aspects to the CTA arrangements which impact non-EEA nationals traveling to Great Britain from within the CTA.

Our Advice

If these changes or any other aspect of the CTA arrangements impact your business, your staff or yourself directly, contact your Newland Chase Client Services Manager for further guidance. Don’t have a Client Services Manager? Contact us.