“The Common Travel Area is only for the benefit of Irish citizens and British nationals”

We never did have that reasoned debate about Schengen…  The Irish Times reports that a Dublin High Court judge has pointed out that

Foreign tourists who leave the Republic for a day trip to Northern Ireland, without a passport or visa to enter the UK could, under Irish immigration laws, be refused permission to re-enter the Republic, a judge warned yesterday.

The case involves a Bolivian couple, but in the absence of Schengen, it would seem to apply to all non-British or non-Irish citizens.  From the Irish Times report

Mr Justice Hogan said foreign nationals often took day trips to Northern Ireland. Many left their travel documents in the Republic, wrongly believing they did not need them because the Common Travel Area between the Republic and the UK was for the benefit of all.

“The Common Travel Area is only for the benefit of Irish citizens and British nationals,” Mr Justice Hogan said in a ruling on an application by a Bolivian couple, Roberth Moreno Choma (25) and Daniella Fernandez Pacheco (22), who travelled to Northern Ireland and Scotland on their way to a three- day break in London.

Mr Justice Hogan said it was probably fair to say they had made an innocent mistake.

When they first arrived in Dublin, immigration authorities granted them permission to stay in the State for a month.

The UK authorities stopped them coming off the ferry at Cairnryan last weekend and they face deportation back to Bolivia. Noticing their passports had been stamped by the Irish authorities up to January 16th, the UK authorities asked if they would be allowed back into the Republic, but they were refused entry.

It’s a bit confusing, given that the report starts by refering to “foreign nationals” travelling without documentation.  Whereas the actual case involves a couple from without the European Economic Area with documentation, but no UK visas. 

The following countries are in the European Economic Area – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. 

Citizens of those countries do not require visas to visit, live in, and work in the UK – but do require documentation to enter, ie passport or national identity card.

Unless they travel through the “Lille loophole”…

And here’s a related development on the Common Travel Area.