As a Turkish citizen, I have lived in Ireland for over a year now. My wife is planning to visit me before the end of the year. She will board a plane from Turkey, and I will pick her up from the airport.

After she sets foot in to Ireland, she will have to pass border security without me, but her English skills are lacking.

Is there any way for me to join her for this process with my passport? Can I ask the police to let me inside the zone, collect her bags, or/and accompany her during the border security process?

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    Depends on the airport - I know in Cairo our tour group met us at the gate and helped us through security. Your best bet is likely to call the Dublin airport and ask - they'll have some advice.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:33
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    If you can't get in, it might be helpful to write a letter, in English, and send it to her. The letter could explain what language(s) she speaks, and that her husband is waiting outside and could translate for her. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:40
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    I edited the tags. Please note that airport-security is for the security process that takes place before boarding, to keep people from bringing dangerous items on the plane. For the process that occurs after landing to decide if you and your goods may enter a country, please use customs-and-immigration. Also, I took a guess that the airport in question is Dublin (DUB); if not, please edit the tag. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:43
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    @Crazydre And I was probably a bit confusing two. What I meant was, each time you help somebody through immigration, how many lies are you telling? I count at least two: gaining entry to the secure area without a boarding pass, and telling the immigration officer that you're travelling with the people you're helping. Lies are not good support to an immigration case. Entering the securing area without a boarding pass may be specifically illegal. This is not a good idea. Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 8:52
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    Can confirm what @PatriciaShanahan suggested - we've done this several times already. In our letter we explained who the arriving person is, who we are and why we invite her. We gave all our details, reasons for living in Ireland and contacts. All in all, as many details as possible. And the arriving person just printed it out and presented at border control. As a result, officers never asked a single question and we never had a single problem in such situations
    – Andrei
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 9:30

5 Answers 5


I have had this type of situation a lot: a relative or friend wants to attend the landing interview to assist with translating and to otherwise help comfort the arriving passenger.

It's not going to happen at non-EU arrival ports in the Common Travel Area except when the Immigration Officer (or An Garda Síochána) invites the friend or relative to attend and that would be an extraordinary situation. It invites security issues like the transfer of contraband for example. Consider a flight from Turkey that has 250+ passengers and each of them wants a friend or relative to attend the landing interview. Now what? They are supposed to flood a secured area with those people? No chance. They especially do not like mixed gender interviews if the passenger is female and arriving from a South Asian locale because it drags in implications of what might be taking place.

Even in the case of removal they will not allow it. It gets even more complicated if arriving children need to be removed.

The authorities are supposed to have translators either present at the port or on call for telephone access. In the rare event they want to speak to you they will contact you by phone or seek you out in the passenger greeting gallery. I have advised relatives and friends to be sure the passenger carries a photo to help the officer spot the person rather than to use the public address.

Also remember that most non-English speaking, non-EU passengers have an entry clearance (or its counterpart, the Irish Visitor Visa) through which the 'heavy lifting' has been already been done.

Alternatively, the larger ports in the CTA have VIP services you can use, but the most common remedy is to have the passenger carry a letter. They will not pay much attention to it, but it may help ease your mind. Also you can join the flight at a leg outside the CTA.

Overall, trying to get in to the secured area violates a prime rule of travelling: avoid anything likely to set off an IO's radar. As always, it's vital to be in the arrivals gallery and have your mobile at the ready.

Adding: there's a special corner case for people who want to receive blessings from an arriving Swami or Marabout and insist on being allowed air side. Things can escalate into religious fervour very quickly when the plane has landed and the authorities will begin to worry. To help avoid potential riots, DUB, LHR, and LGW have a secured room set aside for blessings from swamis and other types of holy individuals, and blessings always take place after the landing interview anyway.

Note: this answer is scoped to living humans only. The arrival of horses, livestock, household pets, penguins (zoo specimens) etc is an utterly different can of worms. Especially getting air side to 'greet' one's horses.

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    "The arrival of horses, ... etc is an utterly different can of worms" - perhaps especially so if the "etc" is actually worms? ;-)
    – psmears
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 13:40

My in-laws don't speak English. Whenever they come to visit, we send them a letter to show to the Immigration Officers explaining:

  • who they are
  • that they don't speak English
  • why they're coming to UK
  • where they will stay
  • a bank statement showing we can provide for them while they stay here (they never asked to see this, but driving back from France once the officer asked if we had the means to provide for my mother-in-law)

Remember to be polite in the letter.

It's also a good idea to put your phone number in the letter so if they need to speak to you they know where to call.

Never had an issue.

  • @pnuts Sorry, I missed that.
    – algiogia
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 10:35

There is one easy, non-suspicious, canonical way to do this: fly to Turkey, fly back with her, and go through immigration/border security together.

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    Spending hundreds of dollars on airfare and 8+ hours on a plane to ultimately walk a few hundred feet with his wife doesn't sound "easy" to me.
    – Johnny
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 19:14
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    International border crossings are damn scary, especially for someone who does not have citizenship-privilege (e.g. US or EU) and who is not proficient in the language. It never ceases to amaze me how people will try to skimp on a few hundred (or at most a thousand or so) dollars as insurance and comfort/support for their spouse in cases like this. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 22:40
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    Even cheaper: get a non-direct flight via a nearby country and then just buy a ticket for the second leg.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 10:57
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    @BruceWayne: Yes, the non-direct-flight approach sounds better. Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 18:20
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    @TonyK: Not if you don't have to go through immigration for transit in that country/airport. But it may be hard to figure out whether that's the case. Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 19:35

As Gayot Fow mentioned, it's probably impossible for you to join your wife from landside in Ireland. However what you can do (this was suggested by Gayot as well) is make sure both of you are on the same plane. The easiest way to pull it off is:

  1. Have your wife buy a ticket from Turkey to Ireland via an intermediate airport X

  2. Buy yourself two tickets: one from Ireland to the intermediate X airport and one from X to Ireland (the same leg as the one your wife will be flying on)

  3. Once your wife lands in X, join her at the gate and fly together to Ireland

Possible options for X: Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam. Others can be found via flight search engines depending on your dates.

  • @TRiG oops, fixed
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 15:17
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    @pnuts I wanted to provide a more exact description on how to pull it off cheaply
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 15:17
  • @pnuts answer fixed
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 15:25

Assuming your wife has a suitable visa, I wouldn't worry too much about this. Whilst a visa is not a guarantee of entry, unless the visa holder presents as a security risk, the border guard is unlikely to overrule the decision represented by the visa. The best idea would be to contact the border service (this can be the tricky part!) and convey that your wife has little English so if they want to question her extensively they need to provide a translator. At this point they may suggest you attend to translate for her - do not suggest it up front though, this would appear suspicious.

If she doesn't have a visa, than overall it's going to be more tricky and you may have to think about flying in with her.

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