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My understanding is that if a non-UK, non-Irish, non-EU citizen who does not require a visa for the UK or the Republic or Ireland enters the UK via the Republic or Ireland then they are deemed to be admitted to the UK for the remaining duration of their admission to Ireland.

Before brexit, EU citizens had the right to reside indefinitely in the UK and Ireland. This is no longer the case for the UK but Ireland is still a member of the EU.

So what if-anything is the legal status of an EU citizen who enters the UK via Ireland?

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The status is known as deemed leave. Deemed leave is statutorily held and cannot be granted or refused; in fact even if admitting intent to overstay or work illegally, entry cannot be refused. However, several cohorts of people are disqualified from deemed leave, and must seek out a border officer (unless stopped in the first place) and be assessed in the ordinary way; such people are consequently prohibited from entering at the Irish land border (as the UK never checks there) unless obtaining a visa in advance (in Dublin or elsewhere)

See the comments about non-visa nationals in the section ‘Travel Ireland - UK’ in this answer What do non-EU/Schengen citizens need to do when travelling within the Common Travel Area (CTA)?

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    I would add that the period of deemed leave is six months even though visa-free travelers are admitted to Ireland for three months. I would also mention more prominently that this provision applies to all visa-free travelers, not only citizens of the EU.
    – phoog
    Nov 18, 2021 at 8:18
  • @phoog Not all visa-free travellers - edited the answer as well as my original one, as I've acquired better knowledge of the UK's CTA policy over the years
    – Crazydre
    Feb 9 at 23:24
  • @Crazydre Which visa-free travelers are excluded?
    – phoog
    Feb 10 at 9:04
  • @phoog For example those who've been refused entry at regular UK border control and not since been granted entry at one (or a visa). Also obvious cases like those with a deportation order. It's outlined in the linked document.
    – Crazydre
    Feb 10 at 12:38
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    @phoog Those disqualified for deemed leave who enter through the land border have a good chance ATM of getting away with it, with in-country spot checks not being overly common ATM. I regularly travel NI <-> GB and 3/3 times I was checked at Birkenhead (arriving on Stena from Belfast) by a special unit of the Merseyside police (one officer insisted I was a South African who illegally entered through the land border, openly accusing me of lying in saying where I'm from, and taking my ID card and driving licence to forsensics). Never faced any checks anywhere else though
    – Crazydre
    Feb 10 at 12:43

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