North West Migrants Forum

Common Travel Area (CTA); Brief background and its origins

The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a special travel zone between the Republic of Ireland and the UK, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It dates back to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. Nationals of Common Travel Area (CTA) countries can travel freely within the CTA without being subject to passport controls.

The arrangements for non-CTA nationals are more complex, although there are minimal immigration checks for journeys started within the CTA. Non-CTA nationals must have the relevant immigration permission for the country they are seeking to enter.

Until the UK exits the EU, citizens of EEA member states have prevailing rights of entry and residence in the UK and Ireland under EU ‘free movement’ law.

Non- CTA nationals will need to have visas to travel across the border even if they live literally 5 minutes away, however the absence of a physical border and the lack of understanding of the concept of CTA outside of specialist immigration field poses a huge challenge to families, workers, employers of non-CTA nationals, Public service providers and more so to non-CTA nationals.

Delighted that the two councils in the North West have recognised the challenges faced by Non- CTA nationals living and working in the border region and have given us their full support calling for a change in policy.

We are also very pleased to have Donegal Intercultural Forum on board. This is just the first step, still along way to go but the Champaign is well underway