[Updated 12 May 2022]
Covid 19: Please refer to gov.ie for up to date documents required for travel to Ireland during the pandemic.
You’re 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 There’s a moment of panic as you realise that your passport is out of date.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 require 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 other photo ID. You can even learn this when checking in for a flight. You are given two options for the type of ID to be used: passport book and passport card.
According to Ryanair’s website: Driving licenses are not acceptable for travel with Ryanair between the UK and Ireland. No exceptions will be made. The travel documents required for domestic flights differ from country to country.
For UK passport holders, this might be of interest:
Under Photo ID needed for travelling abroad, the first point states (2.1.1) you need a valid passport.
UK passport holders travelling into a Schengen member country (excluding Ireland) as of 1 January 2021 must make sure that their passport:
- is valid for at least three months from the date they will leave the Schengen member country, unless the person has a Schengen-issued residence permit or long-term visa.
- should be issued within the previous 10 years upon the date of arrival.
Here’s where you can find out about travel documentation on their website.
Aer Lingus will allow official Photo ID but they state: ‘To travel between Ireland and Britain with photo identification other than a passport, you must have been born in Ireland or the U.K. and also be a citizen of either country’.
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.
.@British_Airways can you confirm when this rule was changed and why it doesn’t state that on your website? Says the opposite. pic.twitter.com/bk9fftrhYE
— 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 has gone into administration. Seemingly the operators are trying to retain the flying licence so it can sell the business.
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 full/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.
Cityjet stopped their London City – Dublin route in October 2018, this was taken over by Aer Lingus. Please refer to any Aer Lingus guidelines.
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 the FAQs 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.
They have kindly added a section on this whole Brexit fiasco. It states:
If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements are protected, and our current advice continues to apply.
Useful means of identification when travelling on these routes include:
- Valid passport
- Photographic Driving License
- International Student Card
- Government issued photographic ID cards
- Health insurance/social security photographic ID cards
- Photographic bus/train pass
- Place of work photographic ID
- Birth certificates (for under 18’s with no photo ID)
Note: travelling to France from Ireland has different requirements.
Stena Line provide a number of ferry routes to / from Ireland and Britain.
I’M A BRITISH CITIZEN, DO I NEED A PASSPORT TO TRAVEL?
British or Irish citizens travelling on our Irish Sea routes do not need a passport to travel to Britain or Ireland but are advised to take a form of identity. A driving licence, citizenship card or utility bill will usually suffice. A birth certificate will provide adequate proof of identity for your child to travel on our sailings.
Again travelling to mainland Europe from Ireland or Great Britain 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:
Photographic ID is required on all domestic flights.
Children under the age of 16 do not need to show ID on domestic flights (excluding Italy). The adult they are travelling with can vouch for the infant’s/child’s identity.
Here’s a few examples of photographic ID that is accepted:
- 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
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.
Emergency Travel Documents are only issued to people to get home, for example, if you live in Ireland and you’ve had your passport stolen in London.
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.
You can now also renew child and adult passports online. They normally take about ten working days and then whatever length of time it takes for postage. Do remember, if you are renewing your passport or changing your name and you need to send documents to a Dublin address to be verified, the ten days starts from when they receive the required documentation. But realistically you shouldn’t be booking a flight without valid ID / passport anyway.
If you hold a UK passport, you can renew it at one of the offices around the UK. You can find out more here.
Seeing as the UK has now left the EU, they are no longer accepting EU national identity cards from mainland Europe for travel into the UK. However, thanks to the Common Travel Area, you can still use your Passport Card to travel to the UK from Ireland, if you’re an Irish citizen.
From the gov.uk website: Irish citizens can continue to use a passport card to travel to the UK.
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.
You may need a visa to travel to Ireland if you are a non-EU/EEA & non-Swiss national. You can check on inis.gov.ie . Just scroll for your country.
If you think you may need a visa to travel to the UK, you can check the British government website here.
All information is correct as of December 9 2019. 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