Immigrating to the UK from Ireland

Relocating to the United Kingdom will depend on your nationality. Irish citizens and UK Citizens benefit from very relaxed immigration rules due to agreements between the two countries that allow citizens of both countries to work, live and move freely.

If you have any questions regarding Immigrating to the UK, you can contact our expert immigration lawyers to discuss any concerns you may have, or for some help navigating the application process. You can call us on (+353) 061 518 025, or contact us online seven days a week via our live chat.

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    What Are The Requirements To Move To The UK From Ireland

    Only Irish citizens and British citizens benefit from the ‘Common Travel Area’ (CTA) arrangement. Irish and UK citizens have had this arrangement in place for a very long time thanks to the UK and Irish governments. This agreement permits both Irish and UK citizens to move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and can enjoy rights and privileges, such as:

    • The right to work in the UK
    • The right to study in the UK

    Irish nationals are permitted to vote in certain elections of the UK government, including local and national general elections. In the UK, however, Irish citizens may not be able to participate in European union elections.

    This means that Irish nationals are automatically allowed to have permanent immigration permission to remain in the UK, from the day that they move to the UK. They do not require a UK visa.

    If you are planning to study at a UK university, you should research if you are indeed eligible for UK student loans and verify what type of tuition fees you may face as this can vary depending on your circumstances.

    Irish citizens have no issues with traveling freely between the two countries and do not need to be subjected to passport or immigration scrutiny/control.

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      Entering The UK

      With Brexit now in place, the CTA arrangement has not changed and will remain in place. To have all of the bounties of the CTA arrangement, Irish citizens must enter the UK using their Irish passport at border control to get through immigration control.

      If you do not hold an Irish passport, you will need to apply for one before you emigrate to the UK. It is important to note that you cannot travel freely within the CTA if you’re subject to any of the below:

      • A deportation order
      • An exclusion decision
      • An international travel ban

      If you are not an Irish citizen, then you do not qualify to immigrate to the UK through the CTA.

      As such, you will be subject to standard UK immigration requirements. This is true if you are from anywhere in the world, including the European Union.

      Entering Under Settled Status

      If you are married to an Irish or British citizen, you could potentially apply to go to the UK through the Settled Status route. Yet, this is not as straightforward, as your partner must have already been living in the UK for a specified amount of time.

      Despite living permanently in Ireland, if you do not hold Irish citizenship and/or live in Ireland by way of an Employment Permit, Long Stay D Visa, Short Stay C Visa, or any additional type of Irish immigration visa, you have to apply to live in the UK.

      It is important to note that if you are a long-term resident in Ireland, but are not eligible for Irish Citizenship, emigrating to the UK could negatively impact and further make you ineligible for Irish citizenship.

      Points-Based System

      The UK has a specific new, points-based immigration system. This means that some applicants will need to “score” a very specific/certain amount of points to be considered for a visa to enter the UK.

      Through the points system, foreign nationals (with the exception of Irish citizens) who want to work in the UK have to meet a specific set of points.

      Every UK visa has a unique set of requirements and criteria that you will need to reach. For example, for the Skilled Worker visa specifically, applicants will garner points if they have the following:

      • A job offer by an approved sponsor
      • A salary of of at least £38,700 (from April 2024) or the ‘going rate’ for that profession, whichever is lower.
      • A job in an industry that has a shortage, as deemed by the Migration Advisory Committee of the UK. If the job is in this category it has other benefits too including lower application fees and reduced salary requirements.
      • Have a degree/qualification: If you hold a Ph.D., this will usually generate a lot of points
      • English language skills: This requires you to take an English Language test to demonstrate your understanding of the language.

      Options For Non-Irish Citizens To Obtain The Right To Live, Work, And Study In The UK

      Below are options for immigrating to the UK via three of the most popular or common routes:

      • Uniting with a UK Family Member(s) as a Non-Irish National
      • If you want to join your family members in the UK, you need to be family members of a settled person in the UK.
      • The settled person must hold either British Citizenship, Settled Status/Indefinite Leave to Remain, or have Refugee protection
      • If you are married to a settled person in the UK, you can apply to go to the UK with a UK Spouse Visa application
      • If you are engaged to a settled person in the UK and wish to marry in the UK, you can seek a Fiance Visa application
      • If you are in a relationship with a settled person in the UK, and this relationship is comparable to marriage, you can apply for an Unmarried Partner Visa.

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        Types of UK Visas


        There are a number of different UK visas to suit a range of purposes and applicants. These visas are listed in the following sections, grouped according to category.

        Visitor Visas

        Visitor visas are generally for short-term visits. They only allow for specific activities to be carried out in the UK and require the applicant to prove that they will leave the UK at the end of their stay.

        Visitor visas include the following:

        • Standard Visitor visa
        • Permitted Paid Engagement visa
        • Marriage Visitor visa
        • Transit visa

        Business Visas

        There are a range of business visas that allow foreign nationals to come to the UK and carry out various business or work activities. Thee include the following:

        • Innovator Founder visa
        • Global Business Mobility visas:
          • Senior or Specialist Worker visa
          • Graduate Trainee visa
          • UK Expansion Worker visa
          • Secondment Worker Visa
          • Service Supplier visa

        Study Visas

        Study visas are issued solely on the basis of allowing the holder to study in the UK. These include the following:

        • Student visa
        • Child Student visa
        • Short-term Study visa

        Work Visas

        There are a wide range of work visas covering various disciplines and areas of work. These include the following:

        • Skilled Worker visa
        • Health and Care Worker visa
        • British National (Overseas) visa
        • Graduate visa
        • Youth Mobility Scheme visa
        • Global Talent visa
        • High Potential Individual (HPI) visa
        • Seasonal Worker visa
        • Government Authorised Exchange visa
        • Creative Worker visa
        • Religious Worker visa
        • Charity Worker visa
        • International Agreement visa
        • International Sportsperson visa
        • Minister of Religion visa (T2)
        • Scale-up Worker visa

        Family Visas

        Family visas allow foreign nationals to settle in the UK with an eligible UK-based family member. These include the following:

        • Spouse or Partner visa
        • Parent visa
        • Child Dependent visa
        • Adult Dependent visa

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          Going To The UK To Work As A Non-Irish Citizen

          The standard route to do this is via the Skilled Worker Visa, which could grant you up to five years of Leave to Remain to work in the UK.

          The Skilled Worker Visa requires:

          • 70 points toward the point system of immigration
          • A valid job offer from a UK employer who holds a valid Sponsor Licence
          • Pass an English language skills test
          • Provide evidence of savings
          • Be earning an appropriate salary

          Note that there are other options that you could try as a non-Irish citizen wishing to move to the UK:

          • Intra-Company Transfer Visa
          • Temporary Worker Visa
          • Youth Mobility Visa
          • Sportsperson Visa
          • Minister of Religion Visa
          • Permitted Paid Engagement Visa

          Going To The UK To Study As A Non-Irish National

          Keen to obtain a new degree and study and learn new skills in the UK? The UK is known worldwide for its impressive and respected education system.

          To study, it is likely that a Student Visa is the top option for you to get into the school of your dreams. To apply you will need to have an offer to study on an educational course or educational system in the UK and have appropriate funds to pay for your course and additional living expenses.

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          How Total Law Can Help

          Moving to another country can often be an overwhelming experience. With many aspects to consider, including sourcing the correct visa, ensuring you have enough funds and finding accommodation. Hiring a trained immigration lawyer could take some of the stress away for you.

          Total Law’s team of highly trained immigration lawyers have the tools and expertise to see you through the immigration process of relocating to the UK from Ireland.

          You can call us on (+353) 061 518 025, or contact us online seven days a week via our live chat.

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            With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    Brexit has resulted in EEA citizens and non-EEA family members (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Northern Ireland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden) being newly subjected to all UK immigration rules, thus losing their Freedom of Movement rights. As such, these citizens need to abide by the new immigration laws laid out by the UK government.

                    This would only happen if the Irish citizen did not follow UK laws and/or it is in the “public interest” to have them deported like committing an egregious crime.

                    Generally speaking, no. As Ireland and the UK are different countries, owning a residence permit in one does not automatically entitle you to travel to the other. If you are resident in Ireland and wish to travel to the UK, you must be aware of the guidelines you are required to follow that will allow you to travel to the UK.

                    Irish citizens and other visa-exempt nationals are able to travel from Ireland to the UK without having to apply for a visa.