Yesterday afternoon I arrived home on a flight from Edinburgh, and had to queue for 25 minutes at Passport Control in Dublin Airport. When I fly the other way, into the UK from Ireland, there’s no passport checks when I arrive. So why am I forced to go through Passport Control in Dublin?
Ireland and the UK have what is called a “common travel area” that is meant to allow people to travel freely between the two countries without having to show their passport – and includes everyone travelling between Ireland and Britain, and Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Unfortunately in 1997 the Irish government changed the law so that the rule about not requiring passengers to present a passport only applies to Irish and British citizens. People from other countries (including other EU nationals) are required to present their passport when arriving in Ireland.
And because a flight or ferry from the UK will probably include people who are not Irish or British, then everyone has to be checked when they arrive.
And although all passengers have to go through Passport Control, if you are Irish or British you don’t actually need to show your passport. Your only requirement is to satisfy the Immigration Officers (
who are members of the Garda Síochána) that you have travelled from within the common travel area (your boarding card should suffice) and that you are an Irish or British citizen.
Of course, the easiest way to prove you a Irish or British citizen is to show your passport! But according to the citizen’s information you just need to show any form of photographic ID to prove who you are, such as a driver’s licence, bus pass, or work ID. However none of these other forms of photographic ID show your nationality, so I don’t know how that’s supposed to work.