Passengers travelling between Great Britain and Ireland could soon face formal passport checks before being allowed to cross the Irish Sea.
The new proposals – laid out in the citizenship and immigration bill – will bring an end to free travel between Britain and the Republic of Ireland, which has existed since the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. These border controls will also apply to the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.
According to the Home Office, the new measures will strengthen Britain’s security, giving frontline staff at the UK Border Agency (UKBA) customs and immigration powers, making it easier to crack down on illegal immigration, and drugs and weapons smuggling.
Criminal watch lists
A new hi-tech e-Borders programme will follow the legislation allowing UKBA staff to check travellers against criminal watch lists on air and sea routes.
No compulsory passport checks will be imposed on the 224-mile border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, allowing free movement of people to the UK from the south. However, officials can conduct ‘intelligence-led operations to check those entering via the land border in Northern Ireland.’
If you want to know more about obtaining a travel visa read our report on visa requirements.
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