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Entering the UK via the Republic of Ireland

Entering the UK via the Republic of Ireland

The Common Travel Area

The Common Travel Area is made up of the UK and Republic of Ireland, plus two other territories which are not part of the UK: the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

There are different immigration rules for people who enter the UK from another part of the Common Travel Area.

Most importantly, you will not pass through immigration control, so there is no UK Border Force Officer to check and stamp your passport, or to deal with an application to enter as a Short Term Student.

If you are travelling to the UK via the Republic of Ireland, check whether you need immigration permission to travel to Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is an independent country with its own immigration rules, which are different to those of the UK. See for more information.

Those with UK entry clearance or visa

When you enter the UK, your passport will not be checked or stamped by a UK Border Force Officer. We advise that you keep evidence of your date of travel (for example your boarding card) in case you need to prove this later.

Non-visa nationals without UK entry clearance

You cannot apply to enter the UK as a Short-Term Student, because there will be no UK Border Force Office to process the application. Instead, you will have permission to stay in the UK for 90 days under the Common Travel Area rules. It is important that you keep a record of your travel to the UK, for example your ticket and/or boarding card) so that, if needed, you can show when your 90 days of immigration permission began. You can study if you are in the UK under the Common Travel Area rules.

I am a non-visa national, I do not have entry clearance or a visa, I entered the UK via the Republic of Ireland and I need to stay for more than 90 days. What can I do?

If you need to stay for more than 90 days, you will need to leave the Common Travel Area within 90 days of entering the UK and apply for new immigration permission when you re-enter the UK.

For example, you could take a day trip to France and apply for Short-Term Student immigration permission when you return to the UK from France.

Inadvertently entering the UK illegally

Because there is no immigration control between the Republic of Ireland and the UK, it is possible to enter the UK illegally (without immigration permission). You should not enter the UK from the Republic of Ireland if:

  • You are required to have a visa for the UK, and you do not have one
  • You entered the Republic of Ireland unlawfully from a place outside the Common Travel Area
  • You entered the Republic of Ireland from the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man and you did not have immigration permission for those places
  • You are subject to directions given by the Secretary of State that your exclusion is conducive to the public good or in the interests of national security.
  • You are subject to a deportation order
  • You have been refused permission to enter the UK (unless you have subsequently been given permission to enter or remain in the UK)

Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

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