Visiting the island of Ireland and Brexit
This year, travelling to the island of Ireland is as easy as ever, whether you're coming from Great Britain, the EU or around the world
For visitors from Great Britain, travelling to the island of Ireland will not change thanks to the Common Travel Area. This is an agreement which has been in place since 1923 that allows British and Irish citizens to travel between the two islands without a passport and without visa restrictions (some air and sea carriers may require passports as photo ID).
However, there are extra steps you will need to take to ensure your visit is enjoyable, smooth and hassle-free following the new changes that came into effect on 1 January 2021. These include arranging adequate travel insurance, driving documentation for hired or owned cars, pet travel and using your mobile phone while overseas.
Preparing for your visit
Visa and passport requirements
For visitors from Great Britain, the Common Travel Area will continue. This is an agreement which has been in place since 1923 that allows British and Irish citizens to travel between the two islands without a passport and without visa restrictions. However, some carriers may still require a passport as valid photo-ID so always check with your travel provider.
Visitors will continue to enjoy travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in either direction and delays are not anticipated. Cross border bus and rail transport services will continue to be available. However, please check any other requirements that may apply such as Green Card insurance requirements for cross border driving.
Check that you have appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover including for pre-existing medical conditions. If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) this will remain valid until it’s expiry date. This scheme will be replaced by new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). For more information please see: Gov.uk and GHIC for information.
Car insurance and driving documentation
Check you have the correct driving licensing and insurance documentation requirements to drive in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, especially if you plan to travel between both. Drivers with a valid UK Driving licence will not need an International Driving Permit. However, you will need to carry a Green Card (as proof of motor insurance) for all vehicles, such as if you are towing a caravan or trailer. This will also be required for any cross-border journeys.
If renting a car always check in advance for any additional requirements from the car rental company, especially if traveling between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland or if wishing to drop off/pick up your car rental in different locations.
Travelling with your pet
You can no longer use a pet passport issued in Great Britain to travel to Ireland or Northern Ireland. Visitors from Great Britain wishing to travel with a pet to Northern Ireland or to the Republic of Ireland from 1 January 2021 should refer to the new requirements for an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) and changes to which will apply to both. You’ll need at least month to arrange the relevant vaccinations and requirements with your vet in advance of travel - and don’t forget your pet will need a new AHC for each trip. Details can be found at: Gov.uk and Gov.ie
Please check with your mobile phone provider to find out what charges or roaming offers may apply and to ensure you are aware of any charges of using your phone while in Ireland.
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