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Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

South Mission Beach
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Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

We will arrive from Australia at Heathrow and the same morning fly out to Dublin on a different airline. In Dublin we hire a car and drive around Ireland, ending in Belfast. We have booked a return flight from Belfast City Airport back to Heathrow to continue our holiday in England.

I presume we will have to go through immigration and baggage collection when we arrive in Heathrow the first time and then check in with the other airline to Dublin. What happens when we get to Belfast Airport as we will not have gone through any border security between Ireland and Northern Ireland in our hire car. Are there immigration facilities at Belfast City Airport or do we go through immigration again when we get back to Heathrow, even though we will be on a domestic flight? Or do we ask for some re- entry documentation the first time we are at Heathrow?

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1. Re: Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

To be honest the biggest problem you are facing is returning the car in Belfast due to the fees this will incur. Dublin airport is less than 2 hours drive from Belfast so you might save a bit by flying back to heathrow from there.

Ireland and the uk are a common travel area so in theory it's citizens don't need a passport to travel between them, although some airlines require it. As such a flight from Dublin to London is considered as 'domestic' as a flight from Belfast to London.

Ireland and the UK do not have immigration passport checks when leaving the country in the same was Australia has, it is only on arrival. What will happen is you will show your passport upon arrival at London heathrow. You then check in for the flight to Dublin and upon arrival in Dublin you show it to Irish immigration. On arriving at both London and Dublin follow the signs for non EU passports. When you fly back to London from either Dublin or Belfast you show your passport again, unless your flight arrives at a domestic only terminal (I don't know if heathrow has this setup). You will only show passport to the airline when departing Belfast or dublin

Edited: 12 March 2014, 07:31
South Mission Beach
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2. Re: Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

Many thanks for your very prompt reply, Irish-Eyes. You have set my mind at rest. If I understand you correctly, after going through UK immigration on arrival at Heathrow, we are then considered to be traveling within the UK while anywhere in Ireland and there should be no problems re-entering England. I realize we are up for a hefty one-way car hire fee, but the departure from Belfast is now locked in. Thanks again.

Meg S

Limerick, Ireland
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3. Re: Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

##we are then considered to be traveling within the UK while anywhere in Ireland##

No, there is just a free travel agreement between the two countries. You will definitely be in two different countries and different motoring and other laws apply.

Western Ireland...
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for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden, Connemara
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4. Re: Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

The driver could drop the car back down to DUB then bus back to Belfast on the last evening depending on the charge.. remember to check price for car hire to/from DUB with to/from DUB/Belfast.. whilst the fee might be said as free or minimal the true cost is the difference between the two hire options.

South Mission Beach
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5. Re: Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

Thank you for taking the trouble to reply tp my post, Bean A. I do understand that we will be traveling through two different countries, and we look forward to sampling the highlights and characteristics of both. Perhaps I should have qualified my statement with "from an immigration point of view".

Meg S.

Western Ireland...
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6. Re: Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

The main difference is that all documentation (Passport Visa etc) for non EU travellers must be checked by the airline/ferry staff before security. Allow a little extra time for this.

Cavan
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for County Cavan
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7. Re: Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

Meg, not sure that you fully understand the problem here about returning your Dublin hire car back to Belfast. It would save you a lot of money to return it back to Dublin airport and then take a bus to Belfast.

Dublin, Ireland
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8. Re: Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

To be honest, I've never been about to get my head around the "common travel area" between Ireland and the UK, sometimes my passport is checked, sometimes it isn't... I don't get it! I always have it ready and allow extra time! Sorry I know that's no help but that's been my experience!

Oh ... and .... the rental car thing??? Really do check it out!

South Mission Beach
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9. Re: Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

Hello, everyone. About the hire car. The plan is to return the car as soon as we arrive in Belfast and then spend a couple of days checking out this city on foot, with a black cab ride and the Titanic pump station/Experience as priorities. We have been quoted AUD 177 (about 115 euros) one way charge. While this is a not inconsiderable sum, it seems to save a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and give us a bit more time together in Belfast. Is there still something I'm missing?

Western Ireland...
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10. Re: Immigration procedures between England and Ireland

Just a shame you didn't ask before booking flights out of Belfast rather than Dublin Heathrow.

I haven't seen the itinerary but be aware driving in Ireland is not driving in Australia.. if you are going in a loop round the coast you need 14 days clockwise Dublin to Belfast..

Edited: 12 March 2014, 23:28