Irish in Britain? Reasons You Should have a Passport Card!

Picture of 2 Irish passports on a map

Reasons You Should have an Irish Passport Card!

I’ve been living in England for over eight years now and I’m proud to have my Irish passport. Since the Brexit kicked in a year ago, it has become more and more apparent to me that if you’re Irish in Great Britain, you really should possess an Irish Passport Card. Let me go through my reasons.

Firstly, before I start into this piece, this is my experience. will not be held responsible for any omissions or errors on this page. Always consult with the relevant authorities.

Settled Status

EU citizens who were living in Great Britain prior to Brexit had to apply for settled status. Under the Common Area Agreement, the status of Irish citizens living and working in Britain did not and would not change. That meant that although you could apply for settled status if you wanted to, Irish citizens did not need to apply for settled status as their rights were not affected. You can read all about the Common Travel Area on the UK government website here.

The rights of Irish and British citizens living in each other’s country were updated in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement which came into place on December 30 2020.

People who have been successful in obtaining settled status can get a share code from the British government to prove their immigration status. Irish people who haven’t applied for settled status, don’t have share codes.

Although Irish citizens did not need to apply for settled status, we are now being asked to verify our Irishness and citizenship all the time. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t worry, it will. Here are a few examples of where and when.

Irish Passport Book and Card Image from:


The Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority are, let’s face it, a pain to deal with. In Summer 2021, news reports said there were backlogs of up to 12 weeks with getting drivers’ licences. Why is this an issue? If you were born outside Great Britain or don’t have a GB passport, you need to prove that you are entitled to reside in GB. People who have settled status can submit their share code. Irish people need to submit their Irish passports.

Applying for Jobs

A similar situation occurs when applying for jobs. If you don’t have a British passport or a share code to prove your immigration status and your right to work in Great Britain, you will need to submit/show your Irish passport.

Getting your pension and benefits

There have also been reports that in order to claim your pension or benefits that you need a share code to prove your immigration status. Irish people will not have a share code if they didn’t apply for settled status. You will need to submit your Irish passport.

General Life Admin

There are lots of other reasons why you may need to prove that you’re Irish. Opening a bank account, renting or buying a property. They will all need proof.

Get Yourself an Irish Passport Card

Irish Passport Card – Image taken from Twitter:

Getting a passport card is easy. You can apply online on the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs website. You must hold an Irish passport book to get a passport card. Passport cards are valid for five years, or to the expiry on your current passport and cost 35 euro plus postage.

You can use an Irish passport card to travel anywhere in the EU or into Great Britain. You can check that on the British government website here.

It’s the same size as a driving licence or bank card so it’s easy to always have the passport card in your wallet.

That’s not solving the problem of having to show I’m Irish

So what, I hear you ask? That’s not solving the problem of having to show I’m Irish! If any British government agency, employer or bank need your passport, you have to show it to them. That means sending off your passport book.

This is where your passport card becomes valuable.

Remember where I said you can travel around the EU on it? Living away from home, I for one, always feel like I need to have my proper ID and documents up to date. If you need to send your passport away, why would you limit yourself by NOT having a passport card?

If the delays at the DVLA etc continue, you could be without your passport book for potentially months. And, if you’ve sent the passport book to the DVLA that means you are either applying for or renewing your driving licence, so you won’t have that form of ID card.

Getting a passport card makes perfect sense to me.

Check out this article ‘Travelling between the UK and Ireland // What Travel Documents do I need?