For example in Dublin airport, does the UKBA check that you have a valid UK visa? And vice versa?

If not, doesn't that mean travelers can use that as a loophole? Let's say someone has trouble getting a UK visa because they overstayed or whatever.. Can't they get a visa for Ireland and then walk over the border to Northern Ireland which is the UK?

In order to prevent these loopholes you would have to have both border agencies active in both countries, wouldn't you?

1 Answer 1


Flying from the UK to Ireland, you'll be checked (and stamped, if applicable) by the Irish on arrival. Flying from Ireland to the UK, you won't have any border checks, and it will be on check-in staff to make sure you're allowed into the UK.

By sea, there may be spot checks by the country of exit or entry. For example, when I took the bus from London to Dublin, I got off at Holyhead at night for a check by UK Immigration Enforcement (not Border Force). However, in Dublin, there was no check.

I'm told that, as a pedestrian at the Irish ferries terminal in Dublin, you will be checked and, where applicable, stamped, though I cannot personally confirm this.

By land, checks are very sporadic, so indeed, this can be used as a loophole. However, TIMATIC, the database used by airlines, states that passengers who have been refused entry to the UK (ie with a refusal stamp) could be refused entry to Ireland, and I know one case of denied boarding due to this alone.

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    @CaptainCodeman It was similar to a proper border check (with a customs check following), but without stamps (since no UK exit stamp exists); everyone had to queue up in the hall. And well, for British/Irish citizens, a driving licence is sufficient for the whole trip. They did take any foreign documents into a room for scanning (I used a Swedish ID card)
    – Crazydre
    Nov 10, 2018 at 21:36
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    @CaptainCodeman Anyway I'm not saying all bus trips are the same, just how it was for me.
    – Crazydre
    Nov 10, 2018 at 21:37
  • I always find that strange, they say you only need a drivers licence if you are a UK/Irish citizen, but foreigners on student/work visas can get a drivers licence. So how can they know you are a citizen? Do they put your name in the computer? Nov 10, 2018 at 22:59
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    @CaptainCodeman It is indeed a flawed system, with race/accent profiling being common. Indeed, if not stereotypically British/Irish, one should bring a birth certificate as well (if not a passport) as that and the driving licence combined prove identity and nationality.
    – Crazydre
    Nov 11, 2018 at 0:04
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    @CaptainCodeman it's similar to the system in the US where citizens cannot be required to carry prof of citizenship, yet US immigration officers can investigate the immigration status of people whom they suspect not to be US citizens.
    – phoog
    Nov 13, 2018 at 0:36

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