Travelling between the UK and Ireland // What Travel Documents do I need?
You’re a living in the UK and heading to Ireland. There’s a moment of panic as you realise that your passport is out of date. Fear not! There are ways around it. And I’ve put everything into one handy post for you.
Firstly, Ireland and the UK are part of the common travel area, which allows the free movement of people between our nations. The one problem with this is that the island of Ireland is separated from the UK by the Irish Sea. Unless you’re a champion sea swimmer, I would not recommend trying to get there by your own steam. Enter the airlines and ferry companies.
So here’s the thing, if you were born in the UK or Ireland and are a UK or Irish Citizen you do not not a passport to travel from the UK to Ireland and vice versa. Just some sort of official ID is recommended. However, travel companies are independent entities and can operate their business how they see fit.
Ryanair are the only flight carrier to the Republic of Ireland that require a passport or passport card. They do not accept photo ID. You can even learn this when checking in for a flight. You are given two options for type of ID to be used: passport book and passport card.
According to their website the reason why is: All Ryanair passengers must travel with a valid passport. Since 80% of Ryanair passengers travel without checking-in a bag, the boarding gate is the first instance where Ryanair’s crew are afforded the opportunity to verify the identity of the passenger travelling and match the passenger to their passport, in the interests of security
Aer Lingus will allow official Photo ID. Here’s the list:
- Valid passport
- Driver’s licence with photo
- International student card
- National ID card/government issued photo ID cards
- Health insurance cards with photo/social security cards with photo
- Bus pass with photo
- Work ID with photo
Citizens of Ireland and the U.K. under the age of 16 don’t need a photo ID if travelling with their parent/guardian.
You can find everything on the Aer Lingus website.
This is taken from British Airways’ website:
If you are a citizen of the UK or Republic of Ireland who was born in that country you do not need a passport to travel between the two countries but you do require some form of photographic identification, such as a driving licence.
All other travellers require a valid passport to travel between the two countries.
Now here’s the thing. I spoke to someone this week who was told by a British Airways agent that a driving licence wasn’t sufficient. I decided to do a little investigating. So I went to Twitter. Here’s what happened.
— Nessy (@nessymon) December 12, 2016
So when I questioned this, they got someone to look into it.
@nessymon I’m sorry for the confusion, you can travel with your driving license instead of a passport. I think because it’s considered a 1/2
— British Airways (@British_Airways) December 12, 2016
@nessymon 2/2 European destination and not domestic, the common misconception is that you’d need a passport to go there. ^Linds
— British Airways (@British_Airways) December 12, 2016
So there it is. Sometimes, even agents for the airlines can get it wrong. They have the right to change their rules but if they do, they need it to be stated across all their channels of information, especially their website.
You can find everything on British Airways’ website.
Flybe will also allow you to travel between the two countries with photo ID. They state:
British and Irish citizens must have a form of photographic ID which proves their nationality/citizenship for immigration purposes e.g. a valid passport or fulll/provisional (sic) photographic driving licence.
British and Irish citizens under the age of 18 do not need a passport when travelling with a parent or guardian but it is highly recommended that they have one. Without a passport, the parent/guardian must be able to prove the relationship with the child, showing birth certificate, marriage certificate etc.
A child of any other nationality must hold a passport which is covered for the period of intended stay.
You can get directly to the document requirement page on their site here.
Cityjet are also happy with photo ID.
If you are citizen of the UK or Republic of Ireland and were born in that country you do not need a passport to travel between the two countries but you do require some form of valid photograph identification, such as:
Valid driving license with photograph, Irish passport card, valid government issued photo ID card.
All other travellers require a valid passport, visa where applicable, or national ID card to travel between the two countries.
Check out their website for more.
Irish Ferries, by ferry or sail and rail. On their site they state that: Irish Ferries recommend all passengers bring a passport with them. Irish and British citizens do not strictly require a passport to travel between the two countries – some form of identification is however required. Please note that all nationalities except Irish or British require passports. Non-EU nationals should check with the British or Irish embassy before travelling as they may also need a visa. Passengers who turn up at our ports without valid documentation may not be allowed to enter either Ireland or Britain.
Useful means of identification when travelling on these routes are:
- Driving Licence
- European identity Card
- Bank cards
- Photo ID (school or college)
- Utility Bills
- Birth Certificate
Note: travelling to France from Ireland has different requirements.
Flights to Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is part of the UK, so flights to there, even with Ryanair are UK domestic flights. You only need photo ID, not a passport.
So if you can’t get a flight to the Republic of Ireland, especially if you live in the northern part of the country, a trip to Belfast could well be your best and easiest option.
Easyjet really do go easy on you. They do need photographic ID but here’s the thing. An expired passport can be used up to five years after it’s expiry date.
From their website:
If you are flying within the UK you must be able to identify yourself with a form of photographic ID. Here’s a list to show you what forms will be accepted at check-in:
- A valid passport – an expired passport can be used up to a maximum of five years after expiry
- Valid photographic EU or Swiss national identity card
- Valid photographic driving licence, provisional or full
- Valid armed forces identity card
- Valid police warrant card/badge
- Valid airport employees security identity pass
- Valid photographic firearm certificate
- Valid Government-issued identity card
- SMART card
- Electoral identity card
- Pension Book (the only acceptable form of non-photographic identification)
Passengers must present one of the above forms of valid photographic identification on all UK domestic flights. No other forms of photographic identification are accepted. If you do not have one of the above means of identification, easyJet cannot accept you for travel.
Children and domestic travel
Children under the age of 16 do not need to show ID on domestic routes. The adult they are travelling with can vouch for the infant’s/child’s identification, providing the relevant photo ID is shown (by the adult). On International routes a passport will be required.
If you’re really stuck you could try get a passport renewed at the Irish or UK passport offices but in most cases, emergency passports are only issued if there’s a bereavement in the family.
The Irish Passport Office in the UK is based at
114a Cromwell Road
You need to go to the passport office itself. Your individual situation will determine whether they can help you within the timeframe you require. You can find out more details from the Department of Foreign Affairs website.
If you hold a UK passport, you can renew it at one of the offices around the UK. You can find out more here.
Visas to Ireland and the UK
If you’re not from the UK or Ireland and travelling between the two countries, it’s up to you to check you have the correct visas and documentation to enter the individual countries. That’s another blog post!
All information is correct as of December 17 2016. nessymon.com takes no responsibility for changes or incidents due to changes. Please always contact your travel provider for the most up to date information.
Image sources: Pixabay