Farry welcomes Ireland exemption on electronic travel authorisation requirement

Revised guidance from the Home Office stating third country nationals living in Ireland will no longer need an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) if travelling to the UK should provide reassurance for those who cross the border on a regular basis, Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP has said.

Brexit Stephen Farry

The update from the UK Government sets out how third country residents in Ireland will not require the ETA if entering the UK direct from Ireland. The only exception is those requiring a visa. However, the North Down MP said a solution to the issue was still needed for tourists visiting Northern Ireland from Ireland.

“This is a welcome development and crucially, now facilitates the tens of thousands of people who cross to Northern Ireland on a regular, even daily, basis for work, shopping, to access education and leisure, to visit family and friends and many other reasons,” he said.

“The UK Government’s forthcoming ETA arises from the Nationality and Borders Act. It would have been an onerous and bureaucratic procedure, and disrupted the freedom of movement on the island we have become accustomed to. While no new border checks were intended, anyone without the ETA could have been held criminally liable without one if stopped by the authorities or if they encountered any other legal situation.

“I have been lobbying the Home Office for such an outcome for many months. I have also raised it with both the UK Prime Minister and the Taoiseach, and welcome both Governments had worked on this, including meetings at the highest level.

“We still need to study the detail on the connected regulations, but hopefully this revised guidance from the Home Office can reassure many people, especially those who cross the border on a regular basis.

“There is still an outstanding issue in relation to tourist movements on the island of Ireland. The majority of international visitors to Northern Ireland enter via Dublin. Indeed, the island of Ireland is marketed internationally as a single entity. Any additional bureaucracy could be an impediment or disincentive for tourists to come north.

"I will continue to work with the Northern Ireland Tourist Alliance to lobby the Home Office for a solution on this. An outcome here is crucial for our local sector.”