All the affordable flights that I could find seem to have a layover in Dublin. It seems like I'll have to go through border control/immigration in Dublin, and though I'm not settling in Ireland I have heard this may cause issues. I don't exactly know what issues those are, though (even if any). People on the Internet can be rather vague.

StackExchange is a place of incredibly knowledgeable people that's become a touchstone when looking for information, so I thought it couldn't hurt to ask here. There are so many headaches involved in immigration that the last thing either me or my partner wants is for me to be turned away at Ireland because I needed to take a direct flight to the UK.

So... Any advice (especially based on recent experience) would be immeasurably valuable.

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    The main issue would be that while some UK visas do allow you to enter Ireland, you would have to enter the UK first instead of going directly to Ireland. But that's mostly relevant if you need a visa in the first place, what's your citizenship? – Relaxed Oct 8 '15 at 19:00
  • Since you'll be moving to Ireland for good, I wonder if Expats.SE might be a better home? (Not sure though) – Gagravarr Oct 8 '15 at 19:03
  • I think I confused everyone. By a layover in Ireland, I mean that my plane flies from Chicago, switches in Ireland, then I get on a plane from Ireland bound to the UK. I am actually immigrating to the UK mainland, it's just that I have to layover (stop over/at) Ireland first. I worry this will cause me issues. The visa used will be an application to 'join family living in the UK,' along with my passport. – unorthodoxplatypus Oct 8 '15 at 19:19
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    @unorthodoxplatypus That's clear but because of the CTA, the immigration arrangements between the UK and Ireland are somewhat unusual. – Relaxed Oct 8 '15 at 19:49
  • Before headache can you give me mire details in your trip and visa – Him Oct 9 '15 at 0:59

The problems you have heard about on the net have to do with people who came to the UK via the ROI and then in the future they want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (spouses and workers can apply for ILR after 5 years). Because they entered through the Common Travel Area, they do not have a UK stamp in their passport and hence have no way to substantiate their start date in the UK for residency purposes. This leaves them in a state of limbo, which creates anxiety and thus you see internet lore about transiting through the ROI making problems.

Tourists have the same problem, but it's slightly different. Instead of 6 months leave to enter, they only get 90 days leave to enter. This has the effect of making them overstayers after they have been in the UK for more than 90 days. This is because they mistakenly think that when they enter the UK, their ROI visa "automatically converts" to a UK one (a false assumption). And in other cases, visitors who enter the UK through the ROI become illegal entrants (especially if they have a criminal history in the US/Canada or have been previously refused a visit visa).

You didn't say what type of visa you have so I have covered both cases, the tourist case being topical for this group. If you have questions about a spouse or work visa, please use the Expats site.


Per commentary, if you arrive from the ROI and try to get a British IO to stamp your passport, he/she will adamantly refuse. Also, in an earlier, more relaxed era people used boarding passes to substantiate their UK start date. It doesn't seem to work well in this era so people find that channel hopping is a better strategy (i.e., go to Calais and return).

  • Just to clarify: You don't have to go through a regular entry check and will not get an entry stamp as a matter of course when coming from the Republic of Ireland but can you seek an immigration officer by yourself after you land in the UK and ask for a stamp? – Relaxed Oct 8 '15 at 20:25
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    @Relaxed Arriving in Heathrow on BA from Ireland, the default is to send you to the baggage hall, bypassing immigration but still doing customs. You need to, confusingly, follow the "flight connections" route to reach the UK border if you're one of the few special cases who need to. At some other airports, eg LCY, getting to the UK border is even trickier off an Irish arrival flight... – Gagravarr Oct 8 '15 at 20:39
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    @Relaxed, no. Unthinkable. There is no chance an IO will issue leave to enter from landside. It's a sackable offense. No how no way. That's why people have the problem :) The most popular strategy people use is to channel hop. – Gayot Fow Oct 8 '15 at 22:32
  • @Relaxed, they won't do it in Schengen either. – Gayot Fow Oct 8 '15 at 22:44
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    @GayotFow Yes, indeed, that makes sense, but that's all the more useful to spell it out explicitly. – Relaxed Oct 8 '15 at 23:45

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