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Brexit - Common Travel Area (CTA)

Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), Irish and British citizens move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and entitlements. These include access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits and the right to vote in certain elections. The CTA pre-dates Irish and United Kingdom (UK) membership of the European Union (EU) and is not dependent on it. In May 2019, the Government of Ireland and the UK Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding, reaffirming their commitment to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances.

Access to social housing

The CTA affords Irish citizens residing in the UK, and British citizens residing in Ireland, the right to access social housing including supported housing and homeless assistance, in each other’s state, on the same basis as citizens of that state.

Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020, both Irish citizens in the UK and British citizens in Ireland continue to enjoy these rights.

Voting rights

Irish citizens resident in the UK, and British citizens resident in Ireland, continue to have the right to vote in local and national parliamentary elections.

Reciprocity of civic rights, including voting rights, have been enjoyed by Irish citizens resident in the UK, and British citizens resident in Ireland, since the inception of the CTA arrangements. These arrangements pre-date Ireland and the UK’s membership of the European Union.

The right to vote at local and national parliamentary elections remains subject to Irish and British citizens having reached the established voting age and having registered on the electoral roll in their respective jurisdictions.

Elections to the European Parliament – voting rights of British citizens living in Ireland

Under European Union law, only citizens of the European Union have the right to vote (and stand for election) in European Parliament elections. As the UK is no longer a member of the European Union, British citizens residing in Ireland no longer have a right to vote at, or stand as candidates in, elections to the European Parliament held in Ireland.