Suppose that one has a less-than-pristine U.K. immigration record, and wishes to visit Ireland. Sure one may fairly naturally be banned from the U.K. for this, but can one’s ability or rights to visit Ireland in themselves be restricted? And if so, what are the terms and legal basis of this?

  • 1
    What does "less than savory" mean? A failed claim for leave to remain and so liable for removal, or something else?
    – Rick
    Mar 30, 2022 at 22:34
  • No criminal record just bad immigration record of breaching immigration rules etc. Mar 30, 2022 at 22:53
  • can one’s ability or rights to visit Ireland in themselves be restricted? in general you do not have a right to enter a country that you are not a citizen of.
    – SJuan76
    Mar 31, 2022 at 16:26
  • Okay then ability. Apr 1, 2022 at 5:56

3 Answers 3



You may be refused entry into Ireland (among other reasons) if:

  • "You have been convicted of an offence which carries a penalty of a year’s imprisonment or more" Some UK immigration offences meet this threshold. Note that you only need to be convicted of the offence, you do not need to have been sentenced to imprisonment of 1 year or more.

  • "Your entry or presence in Ireland could pose a threat to national security or be contrary to public policy" "Public policy" gives the immigration official broad latitude to decide that a person who has violated immigration law elsewhere may be excluded from Ireland.

  • Worth noting, however, that immigration officials in Ireland and immigration officials in the U.K. would not routinely share this data (at least post-Brexit), and that second prong is discretionary.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 31, 2022 at 6:15
  • 1
    @ohwilleke I wouldn't be so sure that Irish and UK immigration don't still routinely share data - as the 2018 white paper puts it: "we will continue our work with the Crown Dependencies and Ireland to ensure the CTA’s external border is secure against known threats". Whether that includes the OP is anyone's guess, but since entry into the CTA is effectively de facto entry to the UK it bears consideration Mar 31, 2022 at 9:24
  • The far more relevant grounds for refusal of entry seems to be a suspected or presumed intention to enter the U.K. which is not listed in this answer but in the official information. However, the real question then becomes what algorithm or flowchart is officially used to determine whether such an intention can be presumed against a subject’s denial or not and under what circumstances it can because in the U.K. such policy guidance as given to border agents and released publicly would lay out fairly deterministically the adjudication criteria or algorithm. Mar 31, 2022 at 11:57
  • What is the equivalent relevant reference material in Ireland? Mar 31, 2022 at 11:57
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    @ohwilleke Your comment is greatly appreciated but I’m wondering if something like this for example would change your assessment? ein.org.uk/news/… Mar 31, 2022 at 11:59

If there was intent to travel to the UK the the prior "less-than-pristine" record would obviously have an impact on entry to Ireland:

You intend to travel to Great Britain or Northern Ireland and you do not have a right to enter there

But it may have further reaching effects than that - Section 20 of the Irish International Protection Act 2015 has the following (my bold):

  1. (1) An immigration officer or a member of the Garda Síochána may arrest an applicant without warrant if that officer or member suspects, with reasonable cause, that the applicant—

(a) poses a threat to public security or public order in the State,

(b) has committed a serious non-political crime outside the State,

(c) has not made reasonable efforts to establish his or her identity,

(d) intends to leave the State and without lawful authority enter another state,

(e) has acted or intends to act in a manner that would undermine—

(i) the system for granting persons international protection in the State, or

(ii) any arrangement relating to the Common Travel Area,


(f) without reasonable excuse—

(i) has destroyed his or her identity or travel document, or

(ii) is or has been in possession of a forged, altered or substituted identity document,

and an applicant so arrested may be taken to and detained in a prescribed place (in this section referred to as a “place of detention”).

This wording - is pretty vague, presumably to give substantial latitude in just what might constitute "undermining" the CTA, but the use of the past tense "has acted" clearly suggests that historical actions may be taken into account.

I don't know for example whether previous use of the CTA to illegally enter the UK would count but it would probably be wise to seek legal advice on that before running the risk.

  • The question then is how absence of such intent can be proven or under what circumstances it is presumed or established. Mar 31, 2022 at 12:21

Any country can ask you if you breached immigration laws anywhere. They just assume that if you breached for example UK law, you are likely to breach their law as well. You would definitely have problems entering the USA (unless you are a US citizen).

With Ireland, there is the additional problem that anyone who enters Ireland can easily enter the UK without being challenged anywhere (unlike say Belgium, just as an example, where you have to stop at some border control to enter the UK).

And there is the problem that with Ireland, they are much stronger connected to the UK than other EU countries.

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