I am an Irish citizen, along with my whole family.

My in-laws are non-EU citizens. They travelled to the UK on a visit visa while they applied for an Irish visit visa in their home country. During their stay in the UK, their Irish visa was approved. After facilitation through the Department of Justice visa section, they got their visa at the Irish Embassy London.

Two days later, they came to Ireland via cheap budget flight, landing at Belfast airport because they wanted to see Belfast, as well. Then, we travelled via road in my Irish registered car to Dublin. They stayed two weeks and flew back to the UK via Ryan.

In this whole process their passports were never stamped. In fact, apart from their airline tickets, there is no evidence they had travelled to Ireland. They applied for another Irish visit visa. They wrote in their visa application that they did travel to Ireland, but the visa section is asking for proof of the stamp for that visit. How can we explain that there is no border control so no stamp was put in?

Was their entry illegal even though they had valid visas for both the UK and Ireland? Should we have done something differently?

  • I never knew you need two separate visas for Ireland and the UK. I believe the common travel zone makes them, in effect, the same thing. Jun 24, 2017 at 11:26
  • 3
    @DiegoSánchez the CTA affects mobility between CTA members, but the visa regimes between the UK and the ROI are very different. The OP has a great question!
    – Gayot Fow
    Jun 24, 2017 at 13:49
  • Due to the Common Travel Area between UK and Ireland, I only ever get stamps when entering Ireland by air when I've travelled - on the Ireland -> UK leg I've always exited as it it's a domestic flights with no passport control Jun 24, 2017 at 23:26
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    @gayotfow I stand corrected, thanks for the clarification. :-) Jun 25, 2017 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


Their entry was not illegal, being that the honour system practically applies within the CTA. It is only when entering Ireland by air that you'll always clear immigration, whereas at ports (for arrivals from within the CTA) and at the land border there are only spot checks (with the checks at the land border mainly taking place on public transport).

You need to explain to the visa section that you entered Ireland from Northern Ireland by car and were not checked at the border.

And for next time, it is possible and not a bad idea to go to the Garda national immigration bureau at 13/14 Burgh Quay in Dublin and get an entry stamp. In this case, declare the date of entry and bring any proof with you that you might have confirming it.

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