Common Travel Area rules


Sir, – The recent correspondence on the Common Travel Area (CTA) is a reminder that many people misunderstand the CTA rules.

The CTA entitles citizens of Ireland and/or the UK to travel between the two countries without a passport, but this exemption does not apply to citizens of any other country. Since people on a flight from the UK to Ireland could originate from anywhere in the world, it is still perfectly valid to check the documentation of all passengers on arrival. Irish legislation was strengthened in 1997 to address this specific issue.

The current arrangements at Dublin Airport are consistent with the CTA rules. Although all passengers must go through passport control, they can still be cleared without showing a passport if they can demonstrate that they meet the CTA criteria for doing so. It is true that passengers arriving from Ireland at most UK airports are not subject to any checks, but that is simply a consequence of the UK authorities failing to implement correctly the CTA rules.

The reality is that the current CTA serves little purpose, as it does not exempt anyone from being scrutinised while travelling between the two countries. – Yours, etc,


Marcus Beach,

Queensland, Australia.