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UK -> DUB -> US - Immigration Pathway?

UK -> DUB -> US - Immigration Pathway?

Old Oct 25, 2023, 7:12 am
  #1  
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UK -> DUB -> US - Immigration Pathway?

I took my first flight with EI from Bristol to Dublin to New York. Pleasantly surprised by the entire experience; BRS isn't too hectic at 08:25 when the DUB flight goes, so could actually get a coffee in the lounge, the pre-clearance at Dublin was straightforward and took about 40 minutes (including a security check), and the A330 over to JFK was absolutely fine - I could get some work done with power sockets and all that. (The food was a bit meh...).

One thing seemed really odd. Ireland and the UK are in the Common Travel Area. There's no requirement to hold a passport to travel between the two countries. We arrived into Dublin on a (very) remote apron position and were bussed up to T2. I followed the Flight Connections pathway through T2, and during that, I had to go through passport gates (the same variety used in the UK). My passport was scanned, photo taken, I passed through, into .. the international departures area? From there I went back down to the US Pre-clearance area, and through US immigration and back to gate 410.

So what were the passport gates en-route controlling? Did I... enter the CTA, having never left it? Did I... leave the CTA, which I didn't think was controlled? What would have happened if I hadn't have been carrying my passport, or is that an actually impossible scenario because you can't connect within the CTA at DUB? (Surely you could fly BRS-DUB-LBA of equivalent, and be entirely within the CTA?) Or did someone mess up and we were bussed into the wrong part of T2?

Curious to know.
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Old Oct 25, 2023, 7:14 am
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I always go through the egates when arriving in Dublin, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, from the UK.
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Old Oct 25, 2023, 7:36 am
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All passengers without exception transiting Dublin go through passport checks, that is Irish government policy, passengers arriving from UK/CA/US/EU who arrive into a T2 gate are exempted from security checks

UK and Irish citizens do not need to show a passport, any photo ID will do
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Old Oct 25, 2023, 7:44 am
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I see. So I could have gone to the staffed desk and shown a photo ID (my UK driving licence?) and not had to go through the barriers with a passport?

Are UK arrivals segregated from other International arrivals? It seemed like I was in a general "international arrivals" area (first time in T2 at DUB), so I assume I'll go the same route when I arrive back from the USA? At which point, couldn't I just show my UK driving licence, and enter the CTA on that? (Because there can't be passport checks on flights departing to the UK?).
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Old Oct 25, 2023, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
I see. So I could have gone to the staffed desk and shown a photo ID (my UK driving licence?) and not had to go through the barriers with a passport?

Are UK arrivals segregated from other International arrivals? It seemed like I was in a general "international arrivals" area (first time in T2 at DUB), so I assume I'll go the same route when I arrive back from the USA? At which point, couldn't I just show my UK driving licence, and enter the CTA on that? (Because there can't be passport checks on flights departing to the UK?).
You could indeed have presented yourself to a border officer with your ID, it's always quicker though to go through the egates with your passport. UK arrivals are not segregated from other international arrivals. There are no exit checks leaving Ireland, what you have encountered outbound are US checks only. EI will check your ID before boarding a UK bound flight as they do for all destinations. Unlike arriving in the UK you will always be asked to confirm your ID on arrival in Ireland, at the ferry ports as you drive off, a Garda officer will stop you and ask you your nationality, that is less formal and for those able to state Irish or British, you are simply waved on as long as they don't have a reason to ask for further verification which I guess if you were driving a French registered car and stated you were British, they might.
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Old Oct 25, 2023, 10:29 am
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How is that prevented in the reverse direction? If I land into T2 from EWR into the same (sterile) arrivals area as I was dropped into from the UK, then reach those same passport gates controlling access from the (sterile) arrivals area into the departures area, what's to stop me presenting my UK Driver's Licence? Then on boarding for the UK at T2, I show that agin, and on arrival at BRS, there are no checks?
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 2:06 am
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If you arrive from EWR to DUB for onward to BRS

You again will be passport checked in DUB, the Irish immigration system is linked to the UK system, so you can be refused in Dublin if you would not be admissible in the UK.

Your CTA rights apply only when travelling between Ireland/UK/Isle of Man/Channel Island so when passing through connections at DUB T2 unless you are coming to/from Donegal to UK (only possible IE-DUB-UK connection) you will need a passport, in that case production of the boarding card of in the inbound flight will exempt you from the passport requirement
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 6:19 am
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Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
How is that prevented in the reverse direction? If I land into T2 from EWR into the same (sterile) arrivals area as I was dropped into from the UK, then reach those same passport gates controlling access from the (sterile) arrivals area into the departures area, what's to stop me presenting my UK Driver's Licence? Then on boarding for the UK at T2, I show that agin, and on arrival at BRS, there are no checks?
This seems to pre-suppose that arrival from the UK should not have a passport check (or at least have a means to AVOID such a check), but arrival from the US *should* have a passport check.

It sounds like you're assuming it's the same as Schengen; they operate a strict external border (all passenger have their passport checked whenever crossing the external Schengen border - both arrival and departure - but are not subject to any other checks when crossing internal national borders within the Schengen zone). Schengen is limited in scope; it's only about the entry and exit to an area having a common immigration policy. Schengen has nothing to do with your right to work, to stay indefinitely, to claim welfare, etc - it's purely an immigration agreement where several countries have a common immigration policy and trust each other to enforce the external border of that common area, allowing the internal borders to be brought down.

The CTA is different; it's not at all about enforcing a common external immigration border - it's not even really about travel, visas, and facilitating border crossing at all - but it is far more about the rights and privileges of the citizens of Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey in each other's territories. It covers things like the right to abode, the right to work, and the right to claim social welfare. It does also, of course, mean that nationals of each of these countries is able to travel "freely" between these countries, but that does not equate to a requirement to build a separate "UK Domestic/CTA" channel fully bypassing immigration controls. The CTA provisions only apply to UK, Irish, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey nationals, but do not apply to nationals of any other countries travelling in and between these countries.

So, while the UK generally provides a separate "UK Domestic/CTA" channel, there will be people funnelled through this channel who actually need to see a border agent - arriving from a CTA country in no way waives a third national's requirement to observe the (different) immigration laws of the new country being enrered - and may, for example, need to have an entry stamp put in their passport upon arrival in the UK. The arrangement is physically laid out as if EVERYONE arriving from e.g. Ireland in e.g. the UK can completely avoid Border Force; but there are people who will require that they see a Border agent and will have to pick up the telephone to get seen.

Ireland did not go the same way, and instead funnels all arrivals through passport inspection, regardless of where they are coming from. And, regardless of where you are coming from, you can instead seek to speak to an official at the booth and wave your UK driving license - yes, even if you are arriving from the US and therefore obviously must also have a passport on your person.

In short: the CTA is not a means to expedite entry into one of the participating countries from one of the other participating countries ( la Schengen), nor was its intention about removing immigration controls entirely for certain flows of passengers from certain origins (even if, in places, it is operated in that manner). It has a much, much broader scope and function - giving the nationals of each country almost all of the same rights and privileges in each country.
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Last edited by irishguy28; Oct 26, 2023 at 6:27 am
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 6:56 am
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I'm finding it a very interesting scenario (similar in style to the situation that Eurostar found themselves in with departures from Brussels that carried "domestic" (intra-Schengen) passengers to Lille, who had to be physically partitioned on the train separately from travellers to the UK).

Looking at the airline requirements, there's no requirement to carry a *passport* for flights between the UK and Ireland. So I can legitimately turn up at the transfer point in DUB without a passport, just an acceptable photo ID as long as I have proof that I have just arrived on an ex-UK flight, and therefore entitled to use a photo ID. Otherwise there's no segregation between (sterile) arriving passengers (e.g. ex-UK, ex-US).

Past that point, I can either exit the Terminal into Ireland, or board a flight to the UK with just a Photo ID?

What would stop a malintent passenger getting an ex-UK boarding pass (easy enough to do on-line), and presenting that at the transfer check with a photo ID, even if they've just arrived from the USA? And then entering the UK (illegally presumably) without showing a passport?
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 8:11 am
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Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
What would stop a malintent passenger getting an ex-UK boarding pass (easy enough to do on-line), and presenting that at the transfer check with a photo ID, even if they've just arrived from the USA? And then entering the UK (illegally presumably) without showing a passport?

You don't need an ex-UK boarding pass to obtain your CTA rights in Ireland. You merely need to be able to reasonably satisfy any official that needs to verify that you qualify for the CTA privileges - whether that's the immigration officer at the airport, or the signing-on official at the labour exchange, or the employer who otherwise would require to see a work visa before hiring you, etc - that you are a British national. They do not care what boarding pass you hold, nor do CTA provisions apply to you only when arriving from a CTA country.

(I'm not saying that in all other instances a UK driving licence would suffice; but for the purposes of entering Ireland, unless the immigration official has reason to doubt the veracity of the document, a UK driving licence should be accepted as adequate proof of your ability to enter the country)

You seem to think that the CTA stuff applies only in the realm of travel, and is only supposed to "streamline" the immigration process. This is not so (although, as explained, the UK has largely abandoned any attempt at controlling arrivals from CTA countries). Neither do you requires proof of recent arrival from within the CTA to benefit from CTA privileges. That is not at all how the CTA operates.

Your CTA privileges are an inherent privilege that you have as a UK national. Whether and if you can also demonstrate that you arrived from the UK, (i.e. having a boarding pass from the UK) is completely irrelevant.

Last edited by irishguy28; Oct 26, 2023 at 8:18 am
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 8:20 am
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Surely the only definitive proof of my nationality is my passport? A photo ID doesn't give any indication of nationality.

If it functions as you describe, it seems to provide a loophole where you can enter the UK from the USA via Dublin without being asked to show your passport, merely some form of photo ID with a plausible claim that you're a British national? I didn't think you could enter the UK (excepting from Ireland) without being challenged by a Border Agency officer to provide your passport?
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
Looking at the airline requirements, there's no requirement to carry a *passport* for flights between the UK and Ireland.
That's not 100% true.

Ryanair requires a passport or national ID card for travel between the UK and Ireland. Given that the UK doesn't have national ID cards, that means you always need to bring a passport if you're flying on Ryanair.

Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
So I can legitimately turn up at the transfer point in DUB without a passport, just an acceptable photo ID as long as I have proof that I have just arrived on an ex-UK flight, and therefore entitled to use a photo ID.
If you are actually on a connecting itinerary, and your destination is not in Ireland or the CTA, then you would be required to be able to show a passport. Any other non-CTA country will not admit you on the basis of a mere photo ID, so the airline would be obliged to refuse carriage to you. Whether and if you could make it as far as Dublin before being refused is open to debate, but you certainly would not get on a DUB-JFK (for example) flight by just showing the airline a driving license.
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
Surely the only definitive proof of my nationality is my passport? A photo ID doesn't give any indication of nationality.
Exactly. So I would advise you to always carry your passport, and to just use your passport for arriving into Ireland.

I imagine that the numbers demanding to be admitted using a driving license or other such ID is tiny, anyway; it's going to be more hassle than just using a passport.

Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
If it functions as you describe, it seems to provide a loophole where you can enter the UK from the USA via Dublin without being asked to show your passport, merely some form of photo ID with a plausible claim that you're a British national? I didn't think you could enter the UK (excepting from Ireland) without being challenged by a Border Agency officer to provide your passport?
Given all the talk about controlling borders, the UK is actually very lax as regards checking arrivals.

But you are correct - anyone flying into the UK from Ireland can walk right through and avoid meeting any UK Border Force agents. (That said, if a person of interest shows up on the manifest of an arriving plane I'm sure they'll intervene).
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 8:55 am
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This has been really very interesting, thanks for the info. I'm always curious about "corner cases" which seem to be not fully covered by otherwise fairly stringent rules.

(I agree, there are a number of points in a journey where documentation is checked, and you surely wouldn't be able to board an aircraft in the USA without evidence of being able to enter your final destination country).
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 9:04 am
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Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
(I agree, there are a number of points in a journey where documentation is checked, and you surely wouldn't be able to board an aircraft in the USA without evidence of being able to enter your final destination country).
You wouldn't get to the US in the first place. As a UK passport holder, you would require proof of holding either an ESTA or an actual US visa prior to being allowed to check in; these are tied to your passport; the airline will always demand to see your passport.

On a BRS-DUB-JFK itinerary, I really doubt that you could sweet-talk the check-in agent at BRS to allow you to travel to DUB before showing your passport there, but if you ever feel like trying, do report back!!
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